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

Green Man Poetry & Verse


COTGM member Sean Breadin (Sedayne) sent me a link to a real time improvisation of  the wonderful Gower Wassail performed by himself and Rachel McCarron and recorded just the other day. The link is and I have reproduced the lyrics below. Members will be aware of Bruce Eatons piece on Wassailing which was reproduced in the November e-newsletter and can be found further back in this blog. It seemed a perfect excuse to pass it on and to take the oppurtunity to raise a glass and wish all members of The Company of the Green Man a fantastic Yuletide……..Wassail!!

Gower Wassail (Traditional / Phil Tanner)

A-wassail, a-wassail, throughout all this town.
Our cup it is white and our ale it is brown.
Our wassail is made of the good ale and cake,.
Some nutmeg and ginger, the best we could get.

Al di dal – al di dal di dal
Al di dal di dal – al di dal di dee
Al de deral – al de derry
Sing too rel I do

Our wassail is made of an elderberry bough.
Although my good neighbour, we’ll drink unto thou..
Besides all on earth, we’ll have apples in store,
Pray let us come in for it’s cold by the door.

We know by the moon that we are not too soon,.
And we know by the sky that we are not too high,.
We know by the star that we are not too far,.
And we know by the ground that we are within sound.

Now master and mistress if you are within
Pray send out your maid with her lily-white skin
For to open the door without more delay
Our time it is precious and we cannot stay

Here’s a health to our Colley and her croo’ed horn
May God send her Master a good crop of corn
Of barley and wheat and all sorts of grain
May God send her Mistress a long life to reign

Now master and mistress – thanks to you we’ll give
And for our jolly wassail as long as we live
And if we should live til another new year
Perhaps we may call and see who do live here

The Green Man’s Song

At this year’s Fylde Festival COTGM member Sedayne is performing with the Earthbound Souls a show called Demdyke! which explores various aspects of Lancastrian folklore in a sequence of songs penned by local artist & songwriter Ron Baxter and set by the musicians of the Earthbound Souls (Sedayne, Rachel McCarron & Ross Campbell). One of  songs is called The Green man’s Song:

Their God died, nailed to a tree
Why in His temple should I be?
Yet there my image you will see
Carved in wood or stone.
Though He arose, as doth the Spring,
New life unto this world to bring
He’s not me, and I’m not Him
For Him I do not know.

I dwell with the greenwood trees
And when they rustle in the breeze
‘Tis then that folk think they see me,
And perhaps they do.
Through Summer sun, through Winter cold
I’m there with oak, and ash, and thorn.
I’ll never die, ’cause never born,
Forever I’ve been here.

Yet in May some still are found
As the pipe, and tabor sounds
Bedecked in leaves they dance around
Doing homage unto me.
But of their homage I’ve no need
Of their worship I take no heed
Let them believe, what they believe,
It matters not to me.

For I am…..just what I am
Though that you’ll never understand
Jack in the Green, or the Green Man
You may call me what you will.
Though He arose, as doth the Spring,
New life unto this world to bring
He’s not me, and I’m not Him
For Him I do not know.

You can have a listen at:

Jack in the Green

Jack in the Green (from a song written by Martin Graebe in the early 1970's)
Now winter is over I'm happy to say
And we're all met again in our ribbons so gay
And we're all met again on the first day of spring
To go about dancing with Jack in the green
Jack in the green, Jack in the green
To go about dancing with Jack in the green
Now Jack in the green is a very strange man
Though he dies every autumn, he's born every spring
And every year on his birthday, we will dance through the streets
And in return Jack, he will ripen our wheat (as above)
With his mantle he'll cover the trees that are bare
And our gardens he'll trim with his jacket so fair
And our fields he will sow with the hairs on his head
And our grain it will ripen till old Jack is dead
Now the sun is half up and betokens the hour
That the children arrive with their garlands of flowers
So now let the music and dancing begin
And touch the young heart of young Jack in the Green


The Green Man in song

Australian COTGM Member John Thompson has kindly allowed us to use his song  The Green Man. John is a member of the band Cloudstreet

Nicole Murray and John Thompson sing and play Anglo-Celtic traditonal and original music with magnificent harmonies and loads of laughter, all backed on guitar, flute and concertina.. They breathe new life into the Australian tradition – come and fly with cloudstreet

You can find their website here:

and download an MP3 version of this song free here:

You can also donate to the Red Cross Bushfire appeal via their site 

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.


The Green Man comes and he dances all day
The Green Man comes and he is gone away
Turn and he turns in a year and a day
Green Man laughs and he loves to play.

Green Man.

Green Man?s his name, some call him Iron John,
Herne the Hunter, or Herne the Hunter?s son.
Dances the seasons as they spiral on
Call him, call him. He is each and every one.

Green Man.

He is hiding in each and every single tree
He is inside them and in you and in me
He lives he dies, but he will forever be
Grinning his grin, the grin of eternity.

Green Man. Green Man.

This Poem (actually a song) was sent in by COTGM member Mark Newell from London. You can view his book of poetry “Symbolic” at

The Green Man

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)


A Riddle

I am born on May Morning by sticks, bells, and ribbons
I am the sap in the dark root
I am the dancer with his six fools
I am the tump behind the old church
I am the lost soul under the misericord
I am the oak against the stars
I am the face that peers through the leaves
I am the fear in a childs mind
I am the demon on the roof-boss
I am killed in October and laid on church altars
I am the guiser on the bright bonfire
I am the old grain sown with the seed
I am the flame in the pumpkins grin
I am the spirit in the kern-baby’s bosom

To add your favourite Green Man poem or verse (or even your own composition) either coment via the tag below or e-mail us at:

The Green Man in Poetry and Verse

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,
f 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.