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

Green Man Poetry & Verse

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.


Snow Dance – Sian Jamison

 

The Awakening
By Sian Jamison

The Awakening
He slumbers still
In wintry pall,
But as the earth warms
He hears the call.

Wake up, wake up
The time has come,
Shake off your chains
And break the mould
That holds you still.

Push through the turf
And let your tendrils unfold,
Come forth!
Grow!
Reach out
Through snow,
And let the source,
The force
Flow,
And energy
And exuberance show.

With gathering force
Which can’t be stopped,
Snow- dropped the glades
Wherein you rise,
And ferns
Show face
As spring quickens
And time begins to pace
And race.

On it comes
Breaking through the frozen ground
With spikes of green,
And blades which thrust and swipe
And quiver,
Emerge and surge
With lust and vigour.

He rises fast
In glorious green
Unveiled once more
He can be seen
On mossy bank and gilded shore,
On granite boulder, on the moor.

In woodland clearing,
Hedgerow rich,
In furrow, burrow, ream and ditch.
He spreads his news
He is alive!
The Green Man comes
New life will thrive!

The above is reproduced with kind permission from Sian Jamison’s wonderful poetry book “The Green Man.”

More poems from the book will feature in our newsletter and on our blog throughout the coming seasons.

You can find out more about Sian and her work as well as purchase The Green Man CD, songbook and poetry book at sj-music.co.uk


The Green Man is Sleeping – Sian Jamison

 

The Green Man is Sleeping

 

 

The Green Man is sleeping, there’s nobody there,

The Green Man is sleeping, the trees are all bare,

The birds in the branches have all flown away,

The Green Man is sleeping, it’s cold and it’s grey.

 

The wind it is howling, like a dog without a bone,

It snarls and it gnaws the whole day long,

It snaps the limbs off suffering trees,

And pants and foams on the brining seas.

 

The Green Man he hears the noise all around,

But the clamour evades him, he’s under the ground,

He waits inert for winter to pass,

For the sun to come out and warm up the grass.

 

It’s freezing, it’s freezing, ice hangs from the roof,

But the earth binds him closer, obscuring the truth,

It’s freezing, it’s freezing, the coffin is sealed,

And we must all wait… for what will be revealed.

 

 

The above is reproduced with kind permission from Sian Jamison’s wonderful poetry book “The Green Man.”

More poems from the book will feature in our newsletter and on our blog throughout the coming seasons.

You can find out more about Sian and her work as well as purchase The Green Man CD, songbook and poetry book at sj-music.co.uk


The Ceremony of May Show

Image

All doors open at 7pm and the shows start at 7:30pm


The Wheel of the Year


The Green Man Looks On

St Chads, Stafford © Jennie Miller

Many thanks to Eric Payne (see previous blog entry) for allowing us to reproduce his wonderful song “The Green man Looks on” and to Vanessa Piggott  for alerting us to Erics work. For more about Eric go to www.ericpaynefolksongs.co.uk thanks also to Jennie Miller for another wonderful picture.

‘The Green Man Looks on’

Dowse the lantern, new dawn is at hand,
The team is a-waiting to plough the good land.
Three abreast, they shall stumble and nod,
Heaving the share through the heavy clay sod.

The Green Man looks on,
And he smiles from the copse as the cycle of death and re-birth never stops,
The wheel of the year,
Turns again and the mythical man watches on.

Hour after hour the neat furrows climb,
Like the strings of a harp in a regular line;
Till needful of rest, all labour must wait,
The horses have nosebags, the ploughman his bait.

The Green Man looks on,
And he smiles from the copse as the cycle of death and re-birth never stops,
The wheel of the year,
Turns again and the mythical man watches on.

Yet steadily on until late afternoon,
The chains chack relentlessly into the gloom,
Till reins through the cringle, less urgent confirm,
The voice of the Ploughman to take the last turn.

The Green Man looks on,
And he smiles from the copse as the cycle of death and re-birth never stops,
The wheel of the year,
Turns again and the mythical man watches on.

Then away with the harnesses, off with the plough,
For sweet scented hay bids the steaming team now.
From their stable the low lantern light,
Passes out through the door with the Ploughman’s “Goodnight”.

The Green Man looks on,
And he smiles from the copse as the cycle of death and re-birth never stops,
The wheel of the year,
Turns again and the mythical man watches on.

…………………………………………………………………………

Copyright: © Eric Payne. January 2010


The Green Man by Lauren Raine

I have included this poem before in the early days of this blog, but it is so beautiful and apt for the begining of the year and our blog is so regularly discovered by people entering it in search engines, that I feel it is time to publish it again. You can find Lauren’s website full of wonderful masks (like the one above) at: http://www.rainewalker.com/catalog3.htm.

“Remember me, try to remember.
I am that laughing man with eyes like leaves.
When you think that winter will never end,
I will come.
You will feel my breath,
a vine caressing your foot.
I am the blue eye of a crocus,
opening in the snow,
a trickle of water, a calling bird,
a shaft of light among the trees.
You will hear me singing
among the green groves of memory,
and the shining leaves of tomorrow.
I’ll come with daisies in my hands –
we’ll dance among the sycamores
once more.”
–  Lauren Raine, The Green Man


The Green Man (A Carol)

I recently discovered Clive Andersons wonderful poem “The Green Man” has been put to music by Lynn Noel and is now sung as a Yuletide Carol by the Paperbag Mummers of Waltham Massachusetts. It seems a perfect way for the poem to evolve and hopefully wind its way into future generations.

A Merry Yuletide and Happy Christmas to all members of The Company of the Green Man

THE GREEN MAN

William Anderson arr. L. Noel 1990

Like antlers, like veins of the brain the birches
Mark patterns of mind on the red winter sky;
I am thought of all plants, says the Green Man
I am thought of all plants, says he. (REFRAIN)

The hungry birds harry the last berries of rowan
But white is her bark in the darkness of rain
I rise with the sap…

The ashes are clashing their boughs like sword-dancers
Their black buds do trace a wild face in the clouds
I come with the wind….

The alders are rattling as though ready for battle
Guarding the grove where she waits for her lover
I burn with desire….

In and out of the yellowing wands of the willow
The pollen-bright bees are plundering the catkins
I am honey of love….

The hedges of quick are thick with May blossom
As the dancers advance on the leaf-covered King
It’s off with my head….

Green Man becomes grown man in flames of the oak
As its crown forms his mask and its leafage his features
I speak through the oak….

The holly is flowering as hayfields are rolling
Their gleaming long grasses like waves of the sea
I shine with the sun….

The hazels are rocking the cups of their nuts
As the harvesters shout when the last sheaf is cut
I swim with the salmon…

The globes of the grapes are robing with bloom
Like the hazes of autumn, like the Milky Way’s stardust
I am crushed for your drink….

The aspen drops silver of leaves on earth’s salver
And the poplars shed gold on the young ivy heads
I have paid for your pleasure….

The reed beds are flanking in silence the islands
Where meditates Wisdom as she waits and waits
I have kept her secret….

The bark of the elder makes whistles for children
To call to the deer as they rove over the snow
I am born in the dark….


The Apple Tree Man

A Carol arranged by Lynn Noel (From a traditional Somerset tale)

In Somerset there lived two sons of a farmer who passed away
The elder son was vain and mean, the younger merry and gay
The elder son was left the farm, to his brother naught gave he
Save a tiny plot with a feeble ox, a donkey and apple tree.

(chorus) Old apple tree, we’ll wassail thee and hoping thou wilt bear
The Lord doth know where we shall be to be merry another year
To blow well and to bear well and so merry let us be
Let everyone drink up a cup, here’s health to the old apple tree.

Good husbandman was the younger son, he tended the ox and ass
He patched their stable walls and roof and he led them to sweet grass
And he poured the cider round about and a wassail song sang he
To the spirit guard of the orchard wood, the Man of the Apple Tree.

(insert chorus after every first, second or third verse as audience & time permit)

On Christmas Eve the rent from him his brother did demand
And at midnight the elder should summon him to where treasure lay on the land
To the farmer spoke the Apple Tree Man in a voice so rich and rare
“Go dig beneath the apple tree, the treasure awaits you there.”

The younger son went to the tree and he dug as he was told
And there beneath the roots he found a wooden chest heavy with gold.
Hide it away, it now is yours,” said the voice from out the tree
“And your brother call to the stable door as he bids you, merrily.”

The elder son came silently, to the stable door did creep
And the ox and ass, as was foretold, of the treasure they did speak.
“He thinks to learn, the greedy fool, where the treasure lies from me,”
Said the ox and then the ass replied, “Twas taken long since from the tree.”

The Apple Tree Man spoke not a word as he stood in the orchard good
But shook with mirth and an apple rolled to his feet where the farmer stood.
So the greedy son he went without while the wise one prospered free
And each Christmastide for all his days he wassailed the Apple Tree. (chorus)

Merry Yuletide to all members of  The Company of the Green Man

WASSAIL!


Cloudstreet

Cloudstreet is the Australian duo of Nicole Murray and John Thompson.  They play Australian, English and Irish traditional music, with original songs and tunes written in a traditional style thrown in.  Their music focusses strongly on the human voice, with tight two-part harmony being their trademark.

Cloudstreet have recorded The Green Man and made it available as a free download via the free stuff page on their website at:

http://www.cloudstreet.org/

 

The Green Man

The Green Man’s a traveller, a reveller, unraveller
Of dreams and of fancies, from first to the last.
Older than all men, living in all things
Son, father and sage,
Long live the Green Man!

 
First light of first morning saw the Green Man there waiting
He saw the creation and joined in the dance
All creatures grew ’round him, he grew with them singing
The first song of all, sing of the Green Man

 
Quietly watching and waiting and learning
The storms are his fury, the lightning his laugh
The first leaf of spring, his beauty and glory
His stillness his power, in the trees is his path.

 
There are fewer trees now, but the man is not sleeping
‘Though our ruin brings sorrow to time’s oldest heart
In our souls we may find him and remember his wisdom
And rekindle the flame; once again make a start.

 

© John Thompson