All Things Green Man & The Traditional Jack-in-the-Green

Author Archive

Events 2020 – Jack in the Green – Oxford – May 1st

Oxford Jack-in-the-Green (Revived 1951)


The Oxford Jack-in-the-Green appears every year in Oxford on May Morning. Oxford University Morris Men introduced Jack-in-the-Green to their May Morning festivities in 1951. At that time they were unaware that a Jack-in-the-Green was a common sight in and around Oxford in the 19th century. Oxford City Morris Men along with Oxford University Morris Men (Town and Gown) now share responsibility organising the Morris dancing in Oxford on May Morning led by Jack in the Green.

The Oxford Jack is usually first seen with the crowds near Magdalen Tower just before 6am and leads an informal procession up ‘The High’ to Radcliffe Square, where the first dance of the day: “Bonny Green” from Bucknell, starts at about 6.25am. Jack then moves  through New College Lane and Broad Street, concluding with a massed ‘Bonny Green Garters’ outside St. John’s College in St. Giles around 8.30am. After breakfast the Oxford University Morris Men and Oxford City Morris Men usually take Jack to a display for the children of St. Ebbe’s school when May Morning falls on a weekday.

Oxford University Morris Men

Oxford City Morris Men

Over the coming months I will be featuring details of each of the current revived Jacks in the Green that currently parade each year. 

If anyone has any corrections or further information about any of the Jacks that I feature I would love to hear from you. I would also really appreciate any photographs of any of the Jacks from any of the years they have paraded to add to our Image Archive.


The Company of the Green Man e-newsletter 18

 

The Company of the Green Man’s eighteenth e-newsletter has just been published and is available for members to download completely free via the members area tab at the top of this page. If you are a member you should receive an e-mail via MailChimp with details of how to access the  e-newsletter. If not please don’t hesitate to contact me using the “contact us” tab above.

If you would like to join The Company of the Green Man (it’s free) just use the “join us” tab at the top of this page or click HERE


RITUALS & DECLARATIONS ISSUE 1

Rituals and Declarations Zine issue 1 Winter 2019/2020

Limited-run (4 issues only) small-press magazine about the Weird. First issue Jan 2020, remaining 3 issues publishing quarterly after that

 

Contents

* Navigating the Hill of Dreams: the Significance of Folk Horror in an Age of Ecological Breakdown – by L B Limbrey

* Bodies of Water – Fiction by Sylvia Warren

* Acid Renaissance: Albion’s True Standard Advanced – Art by Paul Watson

* Cunning County by Emily Banting – Fiction by David Southwell, with art by Maria Strutz

* Bienvenue à Villefranche: Black Spot Season One – Review by David Southwell

* Cathexis – by Tim Dedopulos

* Cthulhu Madness – by Phil Hine, with art by Maria Strutz

* The Demon’s Mistress or the Demon’s Self: The Snake and the Monstrous Feminine – by Maria J Pérez Cuervo

* O Sunny Hour! Towards the Centenary of the Vine Press – by Justin Hopper

 

https://ritualsdeclarations.bigcartel.com/


Events 2020 – Jack in the Green – Deptford (Fowler’s Troop) – May 1st

Fowlers Troop 2019 Jack in the Green

Deptford (Fowlers Troop) Jack-in-the-Green (Revived 1984)


In 1984 Mo Johnson and Andy Lamb built a Jack-in-the-Green in the back garden of the ‘Dog and Bell’ pub in Deptford. Mo was inspired by a photograph taken by contemporary historian Thankful Sturdee of the original Fowlers troop with their Jack in the Green c.1900. The revived Jack was paraded with Blackheath Morris (a side morphed from the Blackheath Foot’n’Death Men who used to dance at events featuring bands like Hawkwind and the Pink Fairies).

The current Fowlers Troop Jack goes out on the streets of South East London or the City of London each May Day accompanied by the current Fowler’s Troop a wonderful collection of costumed figures. The Deptford Jack often used to meet up with the now rarely sighted City of London Jack in the Green on May Day. When May Day fell on the Bank Holiday Monday both the Deptford and City of London Jacks often went to Hastings to join with the Hastings Jack in the Green in the celebrations. This last occurred in 2012. The Jack stands at around 11 feet tall when lifted. Graham Newson who took on the mantle as keeper and main carrier of the Jack in the early 90’s customised the interior of the Jack to include storage space for essentials including cigarettes, beer tankard a repair kit, a change of clothes and on occasions a set of morris sticks. After 30 years the original frame for the Deptford Jack in the Green (which was funded by Kevin Coyle the late landlord of The Dog and Bell pub) was past its best and so, in 2015, a new metal frame was created specially and paid for from a fund left by the late Doug Adams who was the lead musician of Fowler’s Troop. The Jack was christened at the start of the 2015 May Day procession. The Jack is usually dressed on April 30th at the Dog & Bell pub.

Fowler’s Troop and the Deptford Jack in the Green

Over the coming months I will be featuring details of each of the current revived Jacks in the Green that currently parade each year. 

If anyone has any corrections or further information about any of the Jacks that I feature I would love to hear from you. I would also really appreciate any photographs of any of the Jacks from any of the years they have paraded to add to our Image Archive.


Events 2020 – Jack in the Green – Hammersmith – 1st May

Hammersmith Jack-in-the-Green (Started 2009)

In 2009 Members of Hammersmith Morris created the Hammersmith Jack. This Jack is unique amongst the modern revivals in that it is largely covered with artificial foliage and is therefore relatively lightweight and portable. Each leaf is made from a variety of materials, all of it re-used and recycled. The leaves were created by many different people including local schools and community organisations that Jack has visited as part of its May Day perambulations over the years. As well as leaves made of paper, fabric and plastic, the Jack has other items attached that have some significance to either Hammersmith, the team, or the person who attached it. These can be almost anything, as long as they are small and easily attached to the bamboo and net frame and include jig competition medals, badges, train tickets, melodeon bellows and an iPod! A crown of fresh flowers and foliage is used to top the Jack each year on May 1st.

The Jack is paraded through Hammersmith on May 1st, regardless of which day of the week this falls, and wherever else the Jack visits on this day. This included 2016 when The Hammersmith Jack travelled west by train to appear at dawn in Sherborne, Dorset on May 1st. Jack was back home parading through Hammersmith by lunchtime. When May 1st is a normal weekday then Jack and the team will visit schools and care homes in the local area, as well as local pubs. The Hammersmith Jack in the Green is very much a free spirited urban Jack, having no attendants other than the Morris Dancers and musicians and mostly being left to his own devices. As such the Jack can at times be spotted parading the streets of Hammersmith completely on its own, creating a special kind of gentle mayhem unique to The Hammersmith Jack.

People have reported an earlier incarnations but this is uncorroborated by current team members. On May Day in 1984 the Earls of Essex Morris, with Mick Skrzypiec in their Jack, met at dawn on Wanstead Flats to see the sun rise.  After breakfast they travelled by commuter train into Liverpool Street and started the first City of London Jack-in-the-Green procession. They were joined at the Magog’s pub in Milk Street by the Deptford (Fowler’s Troop) Jack and one other Jack which a member of Fowler’s Troop recalls as being carried by Mike Mullen. Mike danced with Hammersmith Morris but this Jack appears to have been an individual effort by him rather than the work of the team.

The World Famous Hammersmith Morris Men or Smiffs were formed in 1959. Kitted out in blue and gold they continue to entertain audiences around the country with their lively and engaging style.

Hammersmith Morris

 

 

Over the coming months I will be featuring details of each of the current revived Jacks in the Green that currently parade each year. 

If anyone has any corrections or further information about any of the Jacks that I feature I would love to hear from you. I would also really appreciate any photographs of any of the Jacks from any of the years they have paraded to add to our Image Archive.


Events 2020 – Garland – Islington Milk Maid’s Garland – May 1st

Islington Milk Maid’s Garland (Revived 1981)
New Esperance Morris have paraded the Islington Milkmaid’s Garland through Islington every May Day since 1981 when it was first revived with the help of Dave Lobb’s research and inspiration. The Milkmaids Garlands date back to the 17th Century and were the precursor to The Traditional Jack in the Green.

The Islington Milk Maid’s Garland is about five feet tall, and needs two people to carry it. New Esperance also take the Islington Milk Maid’s Garland to Hastings for the Traditional Jack in the Green Bank Holiday each year.

New Esperance Morris (known as Esps to their friends) have been continuing the tradition of women’s Morris dancing in London since the 1970s. They draw on a rich heritage, specifically that of Mary Neal, who set up the first women’s Morris, Esperance Club in 1896 and later became involved with the suffrage movement. New Esperance dance Cotswold Dances in the traditions of Bledington, Fieldtown, Ilmington, and their own Esperance tradition.

New Esperance Morris

Over the coming months I will be featuring details of each of the current revived Jacks in the Green that currently parade each year. 

If anyone has any corrections or further information about any of the Jacks that I feature I would love to hear from you. I would also really appreciate any photographs of any of the Jacks from any of the years they have paraded to add to our Image Archive.


Events 2020 – Jack in the Green – Dead Horse Morris – Friday 1st May

Whitstable (Dead Horse Morris) Jack-in-the-Green


Dead Horse Morris have a Jack-in-the-Green clad entirely in Ivy who takes part in the Dawn Rising celebrations on Whitstable Beach on May 1st each year. He then takes part in the Whitstable May celebrations. The Jack is built of ivy leaves tied together in bunches and then fixed to a light-weight frame. In it’s final form it also boasts a crown.

Dead Horse Morris are a Morris side from Whitstable in Kent made up of the Dead Horse Morris Men and the Broomdashers ladies team. They dance a regional style of the traditional English Morris Dance, although they lean more towards the “Border” style and “Molly Dancing” than the better known bells-and-hankies Cotswold dances.

Dead Horse Morris was formed in 1986 they dance in heavy hob-nailed boots, use short blackthorn sticks and their kit is based on the ordinary working clothes of a local fisherman or dredger of the late 19th Century.

Dead Horse Morris

 

Over the coming months I will be featuring details of each of the current revived Jacks in the Green that currently parade each year. 

If anyone has any corrections or further information about any of the Jacks that I feature I would love to hear from you. I would also really appreciate any photographs of any of the Jacks from any of the years they have paraded to add to our Image Archive.


Events 2020 – Jack in the Green – Brentham – Saturday 9th May

Brentham Jack-in-the-Green (Since 1919)
Brentham has a big celebration every May which includes a Jack in the Green described as a walking talking bush who sometimes parades barefoot and is often formed of exotic foliage. Brentham’s May Day tradition became established in 1919 after the end of the First World War and expanded considerably for 1921 when the first Jack-in-the-Green appeared.  May Day wasn’t celebrated in Brentham between 1927 and 1930 but from 1931 except for the war years, Brentham May Day has had an uninterrupted run.

In 1981 the procession very nearly did not take place. “With just one day to go to the celebrations, the organisers received a letter from Scotland Yard instructing them to observe a 28-day ban on marches in London. Ironically, it seems that “May Day procession” had suggested extreme leftwing intentions to Scotland Yard. With extraordinary speed the May Day organisers arranged a High Court hearing, where the judge was shown photographs of past May Day processions. He concluded that the children “did not look like a very subversive lot”, and he gave permission for the procession to go ahead. In the meantime the police had exempted the procession from the ban, though, curiously, on “religious” grounds. May Day that year will be remembered as the first and only time in the history of the Brentham tradition that prayers were said at the beginning and the end of the proceedings.

Brentham May Day

Over the coming months I will be featuring details of each of the current revived Jacks in the Green that currently parade each year. 

If anyone has any corrections or further information about any of the Jacks that I feature I would love to hear from you. I would also really appreciate any photographs of any of the Jacks from any of the years they have paraded to add to our Image Archive.


Events 2020 – Jack in the Green – Bovey Tracey – 1st May

Bovey Tracey/Grimspound Morris Jack-in-the-Green

The Bovey Tracey Jack-in-the-Green goes out with Grimspound Morris. He can be seen greeting the Mayday dawn up on Haytor and then afterwards puts in an appearance in Bovey Tracey.

Grimspound Morris was formed in 1994 from a group of ex-Cotswold style dancers and a few friends, some of whom were also Rapper Sword dancers. They dance with vigour and in an uncompromising “border” style. Many of their dances are now their own, using figures and movements from that style to create something that is unique to them.

Grimspound Morris

Over the coming months I will be featuring details of each of the current revived Jacks in the Green that currently parade each year. 

If anyone has any corrections or further information about any of the Jacks that I feature I would love to hear from you. I would also really appreciate any photographs of any of the Jacks from any of the years they have paraded to add to our Image Archive.


Events 2020 – Jack in the Green – Boss Morris – 1st May

Boss Morris Jack-in-the-Green (started 2017)

Boss Morris Jack in the Green is actually a Jacky in the Green. She was created in April 2017 and first appeared on Painswick Beacon at dawn on May Dawn 2017 at an annual hop hosted by Gloucestershire Morris Men with Boss Morris, Stroud Ladies Morris & Miserden Morris attending. She is entirely formed from recycled materials. The Boss Morris Jacky is not slain at the end of the day but instead the Spirit of Summer in the form of petals can be seen emanating from her. Jacky lives at an eco-housing community while she is sleeping throughout the rest of the year.

Boss Morris is an all female Morris Dancing side that sprang up out of the five valleys of Stroud, Gloucestershire in 2015. The twelve-strong group of dancers now regularly hops and performs across the UK with their unique take on the traditional English Folk dance. Boss Morris is an eclectic group of professional performers, dancers, musicians, artists and a horde of magical beasts who create tailored performances for vibrant and exciting events. Boss is well known by folk and artistic communities alike, with audiences and fans from far and wide. Cotswold Morris is the side’s main dance form but they take inspiration from many types of dance, old and new.  Boss’s style pulls on ancient customs and traditional dances but gives them a modern twist with their striking attire, dazzling the crowds.

Alongside building strong roots in their local community and the wider folk scene, Boss also work extensively with prominent artists and musicians; touring and performing with bands, featuring in music videos and performing at music festivals.

Boss Morris

Over the coming months I will be featuring details of each of the current revived Jacks in the Green that currently parade each year. 

If anyone has any corrections or further information about any of the Jacks that I feature I would love to hear from you. I would also really appreciate any photographs of any of the Jacks from any of the years they have paraded to add to our Image Archive.


Events 2020 – Jack in the Green – Winchcombe – 1st May

Winchcombe Jack-in-the-Green (Revived 2009)
The Winchcombe (Gloucestershire) Jack was revived on August 31st 2009 as part of “Marking the Year.” A Jack was recorded as visiting a local school by Emma Dent of Sudeley Castle in the 1890’s. The Jack was then resurrected for May Day 2010 and a local May bank holiday village fete and is now awoken  every year at dawn on May Day by Happenstance Border Morris and appears at various events in the following  days. The Winchombe Jack sometimes met up with the Cheltenham Jack-in-the-Green during the years it was active.

Happenstance is a mixed Border Morris side dancing to live music. They are based in Winchcombe, Gloucestershire nestling in the shadow of Cleeve Hill

Happenstance Morris

 

Over the coming months I will be featuring details of each of the current revived Jacks in the Green that currently parade each year. 

If anyone has any corrections or further information about any of the Jacks that I feature I would love to hear from you. I would also really appreciate any photographs of any of the Jacks from any of the years they have paraded to add to our Image Archive.


Annual Events 2020

 

Listed HERE are all known annual events for 2020 that feature The traditional Jack-in-the-Green or The Green Man throughout the UK. This list will be regularly updated.

I would be extremely grateful if anyone who attends any of these events would send us pictures, videos or written accounts for the archive. If anyone knows of any events that are not listed here or if there are any corrections/amendments required please don’t hesitate to contact me.

If you are new to these pages and are wondering just what on earth a Jack in the Green is then your whistle stop tour of the history of the Traditional Jack in the Green can be found right HERE.


Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival 2020

If any of our members or blog follows are heading off to Whittlesea next weekend to see the wonderful Straw Bear Festival please do send us some photos of the event for the blog and archives. More information about the event and timings can be found at www.strawbear.org.uk

The festival of the Straw Bear or “Strawbower” is an old custom known only to a small area of Fenland on the borders of Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire. On Plough Tuesday, the day after the first Monday after Twelfth Night, a man or a boy would be covered from head to foot in straw and led from house to house where he would dance in exchange for gifts of money, food or beer. The festival was of a stature that farmers would often reserve their best straw making the bear.

The custom died out in about 1909, probably because the local police regarded it as begging, but it was resurrected by the Whittlesea Society in 1980.

The festival has now expanded to cover the whole weekend when the Bear appears not on Plough Tuesday but the second weekend in January. On the Saturday of the festival, the Bear progresses around the streets with its attendant “keeper” and musicians, followed by traditional dance sides (mostly visitors), including morris men and women, molly dancers, rappers and longsword dancers, clog dancers, who perform at points along the route


Wassail & Grimspound Morris 4th January


Twelfth Night Celebrations Sunday 5th January 2020

Twelth Night

Happy New Year to all of our members and blog followers.

If you need to escape the post Christmas and New Year blues I would highly recommend the Twelfth Night celebrations on Bankside outside Shakespeare’s Globe starting at 2pm on Sunday 5th January 2020.

Twelfth Night is an annual seasonal celebration held in the Bankside area of London. It is a celebration of the New Year, mixing ancient seasonal customs with contemporary festivity. It is free, accessible to all and happens whatever the weather.

To herald the celebration, the extraordinary Holly Man the Winter guise of the Green Man (and an honorary member of The Company of the Green Man) decked in fantastic green garb and evergreen foliage is piped over the River Thames, with the devil Beelzebub.

With the crowd by Shakespeare’s Globe, led by the Bankside Mummers and the London Beadle, the Holly Man will ‘bring in the green’ and toast or ‘wassail’ the people, the River Thames and the Globe (an old tradition encouraging good growth).

Mummers will then process to the Bankside Jetty, and perform the traditional ‘freestyle’ St. George Folk Combat Play, featuring the Turkey Sniper, Clever Legs, the Old ‘Oss and many others, dressed in spectacular costumes. The play is full of wild verse and boisterous action, a time-honoured part of the season recorded since the Crusades.

Cakes distributed at the end of the play have a bean and a pea hidden in two of them. Those from the crowd who find them are hailed King and Queen for the day and crowned with ceremony.

They then lead the people through the streets to the historic George Inn Southwark, for a fine warming-up with the Fowlers Troop, Storytelling, the Kissing Wishing Tree, Dancing and Mulled Wine.

If you go please do take some pictures and send them to me for the blog and if possible perhaps send me a short piece on your experience for the next e-newsletter

You can find more details via the Lions Part website below:

Twelfth Night Celebrations


Yuletide Greetings

Salisbury Cathedral Copyright © The Company of the Green Man

It’s that time of the year when the Santa hatted green man from Salisbury Cathedral puts in his annual appearance on our blog!

Wishing all members and followers of The Company of the Green Man a Very Merry Yule. My thanks to everyone for all the contributions and support during 2019.

The next newsletter is being lovingly crafted and will hopefully be with you some time over the festive period.


Featured Artist – Iris Compiet – Faeries of the Faultlines

I stumbled across Iris Compiet’s wonderful art a while back and was instantly mesmerised by her work and wanted to share it with our members and website visitors.

In Iris’s own words:

“I’m a traditional artist and Illustrator from the Netherlands. At the age of seven I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I grew up… paint and draw fantastical beings. I enjoy working on projects ranging from picture books to gallery art, concept art and even sculpting.

Storytelling is an essential part of my artwork, and as an artist I strive to lure in the spectator, to make them feel a connection to the work and open a gateway to their imagination to ignite it even further. I created a world called Faeries of the Faultlines. A glimpse into that world can be seen in a book with the same title. Drawing inspiration from European folklore, mythology, fairytales, ghost stories and anything from tombstones, Victorian photography to popular movies and music.

Let me tell you about Faeries, let me take you away on a journey, an adventure…

The Faultlines is an ancient name given to those places where the veil between This world and the Other is thinnest. It is the place where faeries dwell, creatures creep and magic oozes through the cracks. Recently the Faultlines have been stirring, opening up to all who wish to see and to all who dare to venture… “

Iris published the book Faeries of the Faultlines after getting it successfully funded through Kickstarter. It was so popular that it is now sold out. A new edition of the book will be released in September 2020. The secrets of the faultlines and beyond sketchbook is still available in Iris’s shop as are print sets, sticker sets, postcards and more – including the fantastic Greenman pin badge above – one of my new favourite Green Men! A perfect Yuletide gift for any green man hunter!

You can see more of Iris’s incredible art and visit her online shop at: www.eyeris.eu

Please note that Iris’s shop will be closed from 13th December until 13th January.


Sighting – Sherborne Abbey

Intrepid Green Man Hunter Derek Penrose visited Sherborne Abbey in Dorset and noticed on a postcard in the Abbey shop that they had a number of Misericord carvings including one that contained a “Foliate Mask.” He spoke to the really helpful staff in the abbey who allowed him to go and photograph the misericords which were not normally accessible to the public.

This Green Man is listed in our Gazetteer


Rock Troll

Logogif

HAND MADE CRAFTS FORGED FROM FOLKLORE AND FIRE

www.rocktroll.co.uk


Green Man in the Garden – By Charles Causley

GREEN MAN IN THE GARDEN

By Charles Causley

 

Green man in the garden

Staring from the tree,

Why do you look so long and hard

Through the pane at me?

 

Your eyes are dark as holly,

Of sycamore your horns,

Your bones are made of elder-branch,

Your teeth are made of thorns.

 

Your hat is made of ivy-leaf,

Of bark your dancing shoes,

And evergreen and green and green

Your jacket and shirt and trews.

 

“Leave your house and leave your land

And throw away the key,

And never look behind,” he creaked,

“And come and live with me.”

 

I bolted up the window,

I bolted up the door,

I drew the blind that I should find

The green man never more.

 

But when I softly turned the stair

As I went up to bed,

I saw the green man standing there.

“Sleep well, my friend,” he said.

 

My thanks to Steven Sherratt for reminding me of this wonderful poem that I last posted nearly ten years ago. As the seasons turn and winter fast approaches I think it is the perfect time to remind ourselves of Charles Causley’s wonderful verse.


Removal of the 4th May Bank Holiday 2020 – Your help is needed!

This is an important message for all of our members and blog followers. You may not be aware that the government has announced that they intend to move the next early May bank holiday from Monday 4th May to Friday 8th May in order to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE day. Whilst we should of course commemorate the victory of democracy over fascism this is an event worthy of a one off additional holiday to honour those involved rather than just moving the traditional bank holiday Monday.

Removing the Monday holiday will affect many traditional events some of which have been carried on since time immemorial across this country. Such events rely upon the availability of participants and audiences, many of whom will be unavailable if the Monday is a working day. For many individuals, businesses and groups planning for the May bank holiday has been  underway for quite some time. Some involve engaging with groups from other countries, who will have their own holiday on 4th May as it happens to be international workers’ day.

May Day was celebrated by working people across Britain and elsewhere long before modern political parties; in fact it is the ancient feast of Beltane. Dancing in the May and celebrating spring predate the Roman Empire.

Across Britain there is a rich collection of events related to the beginning of May; Morris dancing of course on May morning and also Jack in the Green processions, hobby horse processions and others. There is also a standing programme of folk events and festivals around that time. These events provide important income for cafes, pubs, shops, hotels, camping sites at the very beginning of their season after a long lay off for some. They deserve to be allowed to continue without disruption.

John Major’s Conservative Government tried to remove the early May Bank Holiday in 1993. A group made up of representatives of all the active Jacks protested at Parliament. The Rochester Jack danced in Downing Street and the Hastings Bogies (Jack’s mischevious attendants) were allowed access to Parliament in full Bogie costume. It worked and the government of the day backed down.

Please help us send a message to the current government by signing the petition calling for the preservation of the 4th May bank holiday and the adoption of 8th May as a separate one off holiday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE day. You can access the petition HERE or by clicking on the petitions banner below.

Morris teams, individuals and others involved in May traditions will be gathering on College Green Westminster at 11am on 23rd July to protest, dance, meet with MP’s and request that the early May bank holiday is preserved.

MP’s are already taking notice, Helen Whately MP, deputy leader of the Conservative Party, has agreed to meet Gordon Newton, founder of the Rochester Sweeps Festival and reviver of The Bluebell Hill Jack in the Green in the lobby of Parliament on 23rd July. Keith Leech MBE reviver of The Hastings Traditional Jack in the Green will be there and has confirmed that Amber Rudd will come outside the House to meet the group at noon.

You can also write to your MP. You can use THIS LINK to find out your MPs details.

Your support would be very much appreciated, May the 4th be with you!


Green Man – by Tina Negus

TN

 

Green Man.

By Tina Negus

He speaks, and the sound fills the void
with living green, life which sustains all life,
sunlight and leaf: our food.
He tastes the air, savours his speech,
his tongue flicking across the foliage from his gaping mouth.
He recites our stories,
licking myths and legends into existence.
He sings our tunes for us, our wordless songs.

He looks down on his creation from above,
sees all things dependant on his utterance,
regards us with impassivity or amusement: his creatures.
He weeps with us, and his tears nourish our being.
Within his sight, we live our little lives,
relying on his artistry.

He hears our cries, our laughter, listens to his own words,
and to our inadequate imitations of his creativity.
His ears receive our music, our rhythms and rhymes,
make whole our melodies and harmonies.
He tolerates our limitations,
circling, with us, our May-time pole.

He scents the honeysuckle in the woods,
perfumes the rose and the down-land thyme;
spreads the spring-time hedgerows with pungent sweetness.
He breathes, and his breath gives birth,
his respiration flourishes and bears fruit;
our feeble inspiration is derived from him.

He touches the stems arising from his face,
points to his mouth and tongue, and we touch him,
where we can reach, stroke the leaves, and the chiselled edges
of his nose and brows, finger the fronds and vines,
removing blackened spiders’ webs,decades of neglect.

Our hands linger on his beard and hair.
we ponder his origins, his meaning,
wonder at the unnamed sculptors,
question their intentions.

 

My thanks to Tina for allowing me to reproduce her wonderful poem and the incredible picture above. Tina wrote:

“ I thought you might like this Green Man! As far as I know it is my discovery and I think it ranks as one of the most beautiful. There are other Green Men in the church which are well-known, but this one is in hiding. If anyone wants to find him, I can reveal his whereabouts.”

I know where he is! – but if anyone else wants to know they’ll have to drop me a line!


Crocheted Green Man

CH1

Serial Green Man sleuth John Roper let me know about this wonderful Green Man quilted wall hanging that he spotted at the Open art exhibition at Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery at the end of 2019. I managed to get in touch with it’s creator Charlotte Holm who kindly sent me these wonderful pictures of her work in progress as well as the finished green man. Charlotte wrote “A friend taught me to crochet a couple of years ago so I decided to try and make a green man out of crocheted leaves. The green man is a subject I keep returning to and I have made quite a few textile ones over the last few years. I arranged the leaves so that they created a face, the hardest part was crocheting a nose! The design is totally original and handsewn- after crocheting, the wall hanging is then quilted on to material.”

Charlotte is a textile artist, “Although I got my degree in illustration, I have taught myself how to sew as I liked the texture and look of quilted fabric. I am interested in ancient things- fossils, archaeology, stone circles and chambered tombs… also pagan themes which all reflect in my work.”

You can see more of Charlottes wonderful art on her Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/Charlotte-Holm-Textile-Artist-164761153534896/

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The Green Man in Stone

Rob Stephens, artist extraordinaire, new grandad and creator of our fabulous logo dropped me a line to tell me that his stone carver brother Shaun has got the green man bug. Rob sent me these pictures of his incredible workmanship. The paler coloured one is a piece of stone that came out of the restoration work at York Minster. There must be a cathedral out there somewhere who would like their very own new Green Man?

RS3