GBMD - The Mummers' Dance

When in the springtime of the year
When the trees are crowned with leaves
When the ash and oak, and the birch and yew
Are dressed in ribbons fair

When owls call the breathless moon
In the blue veil of the night
The shadows of the trees appear
Amidst the lantern light

We've been rambling all the night
And some time of this day
Now returning back again
We bring a garland gay

Who will go down to those shady groves
And summon the shadows there
And tie a ribbon on those sheltering arms
In the springtime of the year

The songs of birds seem to fill the wood
That when the fiddler plays
All their voices can be heard
Long past their woodland days

And so they linked their hands and danced
Round in circles and in rows
And so the journey of the night descends
When all the shades are gone

"A garland gay we bring you here
And at your door we stand
It is a sprout well budded out
The work of Our Lord's hand"

Loreena McKennit - 1997

This is my favourite song by Loreena McKennit and it seems appropriate for May Day. This link takes you to the place on her website where you can hear this haunting song, though I defy you not to mishear the chorus lyrics We bring a garland gay as We weave a garden gate!


  1. Lovely. It sums up perfectly this time of year.

  2. Thanks VP - so apt for a beautiful May morning. I must seek out some Loreena Mckennit music
    forthwith !

  3. A beautiful poem, VP! Thank you for sharing it. I'd like to "tie a ribbon" on spring and hold it here awhile longer!

    If I lived in the UK, a great way to celebrate the month of May would be to attend some of the events you mentioned in your YAWA post. I'd really like to know how someone "charms" worms:)

  4. That's my favorite Lorena McKennit song too VP, and I'm sure I've misinterpreted the lyrics. Thanks for posting the 'real' chorus! (hard to believe that song is 12 years old.)

  5. I love Loreena McKennit's haunting music, VP, but I don't think I've heard this one---which album is it on? I must find/buy it! (And, er, I love the original version of "The Wicker Man" as well, I'll confess. I have both the movie and the book... )

  6. VP - You and Carolyn Gail are full of music on this springtime of the year. Just beautiful. I love Loreena too. My own posting is haiku brief.

  7. Wonderful - I've heard this on and off over the years, but Lorena McKennit sings it better than anyone else I've heard.

  8. I don't know Lorena McKennit's music at all. I am so behind the music times! Thanks for the link it has a hauntingly familiar sound...gail

  9. LOL! I passed the link to the music on to the Bedsock who has now added it to his next Amazon order.

    I agree Ben, the original 'Wicker Man' was an extraordinarily disturbing and powerful film.

  10. I adore LMcK and this is a perfect song for May 1. :-) It's not my favourite of her songs, but I love the images it produces.

  11. Hi everyone - glad to see so many Loreena McKennit fans here or those like Arabella and Anna who are ready to be converted!

    As for the Wicker Man - such a camp movie, but then that seems to make the ending so much more horrific. A great movie.

  12. This was lovely - thanks for sharing it.
    I watched the Greensleeves Morris Group from Wimbledon yesterday, so feel I've 'done' Mayday properly this year!

  13. Great selection for GBMD, VP. Lorena McKennit has such a beautiful voice.

    Like Pat at Commonweeder said we are full of music on this springtime.

  14. Scattered Gardener - you did better than we did, but we'll have loads of them to choose from at the end of the Month!

    Carolyn - hope you had a good birthday!


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