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When the Green Man Walks the Forest

[ Roud - ; Mudcat 155591 ; Graeme Miles]

Martyn Wyndham-Read sang When the Green Man Walks the Forest on his 2001 Fellside CD of songs of Graeme Miles, Where Ravens Feed. Graeme Miles commented in the liner notes:

The myth of the Green Man occurs universally. He appears in many guises from country to country but usually he is represented as an image of spring and the renewer of life. Here it is seen as an off-stage figure waiting in the wings of winter for his cue to emerge.
The song was originally written in the mid 1960s but revised in 1972.


Martyn Wyndham-Read sings When the Green Man Walks the Forest

January’s all but over; February comes soon.
The pale sun late rises as cold as the moon,
And the thrushes and the finches make scarcely a tune.

Chorus (after each verse):
Oh, when will this winter be over? When will this winter be done?
When the Green Man walks the forest, then we’ll know spring’s begun.
When the Green Man comes a-walking, then we’ll know; then we’ll know.

The ditches and the gullies lie deep under snow.
On the bushes and hedges not one leaf on show,
And the bulrushes rattle in the stream’s swollen flow.

The foxes and the kestrels all through the grey day,
Scan the white barren landscape in search of their prey,
And if foxes and kestrels could speak they would say:

High on the fellside crouched by the stone wall
The shepherd is a-sheltering away from the squall.
He curses the weather and loudly he calls: