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Willow Tree

Lyric #3061 by bassMonkey

Tags: Folk, tragedy, some Irish themes, Spooky Trees
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posted on #1
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Joined: 02.12.20
Half a league or so from the mill house,
Grows a tree from an ancient dream,
It's twisted roots claw at the earth,
Long fingers trail in the stream.

And on some days in the Springtime,
There's a circle of pale blue flowers,
They say it grows where dark ones dance,
To celebrate the witching hours.

But the young ones go there often,
Where they hope that they won't be seen,
Down there where nature finds a way,
I'm sure that you know what I mean.

As a stream will find it's river,
And a river will feed it's sea,
There ain't nothin' good ever happened down there,
At the foot of the willow tree.

The miller's wife Saoirse lay there,
With Finnegan the wheelwright's son,
A secret they both swore they'd keep,
That was known by everyone.

When the miller came upon them,
Naked as the day they were born,
He howled with pain as he slew them both,
On a warm September morn'.

Then he cried "No English hangman,
Will ever have the pleasure of me!"
And they found him swinging in the Autumn beeze,
From a branch of the willow tree.

As a stream will find it's river,
And a river will feed it's sea,
There ain't nothin' good ever happened down there,
At the foot of the willow tree.
Edited by bassMonkey on Settembre 15 2022 12:07
posted on #2
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Joined: 02.12.20

There is quite a lot of folk mythology related to Willow Trees.
icysedgwick.com lists a number including locking up secrets
in them, planting them at Easter to ward off storms and it being
bad luck to burn the wood.

There is also:

* Their having souls that spoke through music (Ireland)
* Their having souls you killed when felling them (Bohemia)
* It's bad luck to buy a house with one in the Garden (Italy)
* Touching and smelling them to avoid losing your sweetheart (Greece)
* The devil living in them (Poland)
* They can walk at night and follow travellers (England)

I have had complaints about the triple negative "Ain't nothin' no good"
that I used. It parses to all the things that happen there being
good of course. Hardly consistent with two murders and a suicide.

I just liked the rhthym of it and when I noticed the meaning I did
kind of go "Mwa-ha-ha-ha...". But I really shouldn't, so I have changed
it to "There ain't nothin' good". Though now that removes all the
implied hanky panky into the "bad" column. Which is a shame IMHO.

Oh, and "Saoirse" is pronnounced (approximately) “Sur-sha.”
Edited by bassMonkey on Settembre 15 2022 12:56
posted on #3
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Joined: 14.02.18
There's a nice fairy tale by H.C. Andersen which is called "Under the willow tree". On a webpage dedicated to his stories, you can have it displayed in two languages at once, side by side, as here for instance in English and in German:


Kind of a sad one, but enjoy it (I still find it very beautiful)
posted on #4
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In many regions of germany it is also customary to place willow branches in a vase over easter and decorate them.

It's all in the eye of the observer... I can imagine that many of the myths about willow trees have their roots in the tree's appearance that may remind a bit of a "hairy" creature, especially if the branches move in the wind.
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