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4 Toymaker v5.png

Taller Men


Come down here you taller men

Be a part of our tiny dreams

And we'll share our stale bread

And a few dried peas with you.


Come drink with us you taller men

Take to heart a mug of our common brew

While we pick at the stitches

On our home-made clothing.


Come and share our many woes

Or we'll strip you of your coats

And strangle you with the tails of them, you taller men.

Come down from your tall legs taller men

But don't bury us in love.

Come down, come down and join us.


How do your suits fit taller men?

Maybe if you had fed me more

Of your flesh my skin would

Have fitted better on your backs?


How is your social life taller men?

Do you like to laugh a quick wit

By the deskside as you shuffle

Golden cuff-links hand to hand?


Can't you understand us you taller men?

You were made to look after us here,

Not to size us up for your Sunday meals

Not to blow your smoke in our faces

Not to pull our bodies off your racks

Not to smash our faces on the sidewalk

Not to unfold our flesh from your hearts

Not to wear your belt near your chins

Not to stretch our tongues when we speak


So tall men, are you too high strung

To breathe the fog we do?

Because I really knew, the way you were

To me to you,

You knew, the way you were to me

You me it seemed,

You were finding just another way to put

This poor man's dreams on ice.


Come down here you taller men

Be a part of our tiny dreams

And we'll share our stale bread

And a few dried peas with you.


We have nothing else to offer here.

How can you refuse?

Just come down here you taller men.

We'll try to make room for you.


He Comes, Long-Legged (instrumental)


The Whispering Pines

   I  The Pines (instrumental)

   II Sole Putto (intrumental)

   III Cottage (intrumental)

   IV The Occasional Whine


   V Cottage (outro)

   Remember the winters

   When we used to hide

   In the cottage together ...

The Ice Castle

   I The Castle (instrumental)

   II Fear

   ... I fear you, you fear me, we fear each other, long enough for me to fuck your mind, fuck your mind and fuck your life, long enough for you to learn that you should never be angry at me, long anough for you to learn that you should not trust me again. I fear you, you fear me...

   IV The Clouds Are Dry

   V 'I Knew He Was Crazy Then'

The Shattering Sun (instrumental)

The Thief


Shadows play upon the curtain,

Scheming hunters dream within,

In search of futures planted

In the bitterness of sin.


Coloured beads do pass hands

In the circles on the sand.

Some spill and float upon the tide

While others never land.


A lonely echo drips its sounds

Upon a prisoner's brow.

While answering the question

Kings are with us put on trial.


A foreign moon does shed it's light

Upon a passing flower,

Leaving but a tracery

Of happiness devoured.


A raven whispers to a pilgrim

Of it's many lives,

But the forest drives it's branches

Through the silence it desires.


A fellow child of moonlight smiling

Slips into a pool,

Drowning to the laughter

Of the pixies on the spool.


Untwining threads of braided black

The pixies dance their grace,

To satisfy the virgin's loves

And set her in her place.


A patch of growing snow seeds

Start to lean towards the east,

Where giants rock the mountains

And begin their messy feast.


The earth it chuckles under hill

While juggling with the weather,

Which grows and sprouts a thousand gods

Who redesign the heavens.


A chorus of six midwives

Breaks apart the tearlit sky,

Until the ground parts open

And a baby cries inside.


Upon the threshold of their passage

Carriages arrive,

Gives homage to the mother

Who had granted thirteen lives.


But over the horizen black

The lightning scares the babes

Who are held tighter by their sitters,

Though their money craved.


A careless thief who's pocket's picked

Does stroll along his way,

Until the darkness in his mind

Is caught amid the day...


Snowbound (Outre)



And here we sit again, with all our fear

hidden in our heartache (but still felt near).

We’ve clenched our fingers, stiff with cold,

and braved the blizzard, reached our homes.


But who saw (when the sun went down)

The shadow moving through the town?

Perhaps a man, perhaps much more

(its silhouette upon the door).

Does it think, if so of what?

What darkness brings it to this spot?


And who knew when they moved inside

their cottages and lit their fires,

that endless winter was to stay,

or knew what ruled the twilight day?


And what of those still lost in snow,

or those that wait inside, alone,

left to huddle in their terror?

(Wolves are waiting, free of tether.)


Let us visit these poor folk,

Or, if you're one, dream of hope.


The Toymaker


Waist deep in snow the Toymaker

Tucks his rolls of fat tighter

Into his belt as he lugs his load

Further across the wasteland.


Hides the prickling in his cheeks,

Belittles rival pressures of

Dues and pace and planning how

He can be tasked for overtime.


Grabs hold of ice rails peering

Through the sleet and climbs higher

Up into his carriage where a ride

Will take him higher to his hat.


The Toymaker.


Jumps and jogs his memory where he

Keeps in libraries shut and locked

A nightmare list of incidents

That pass his toy stock to byes.


Careens through the imagination

Of someone who is not thinking

Until he collides with a mirror

Whose shards shall never be found.


Sees, and sighs at, the woodrot that

Has betook a headless soldier,

Preaching of the steel that has

Taken such diseases from the world.


The Toymaker.


Lets his moustache hug his lips

So a warmth of sorts is his

And triggers off a duty that was

Never in his pockets for long.


Changes his breeches for a barrel

In which his heart will never die,

And makes the giftwrap brighter still

So someone will expect something more.


Busily steers towards his truimph

But lands a load of violence on

His ankles and his straining hams,

And trots much faster for the pain.


The Toymaker.


Hands so slyly silver dimes

Into the bows of his ribbons,

Never robbing, never cheating

Those who favour the best of friends.


Cheekily pants into his sack

To give the gifts a flavour that

Will breathe a manner of life unto

The few that will possess them soon.


He'll fall into his hollow bag

And disappear inside until

He is presented to the boy

Who longs a present of his own.


The Gift


Sweet dreams, my children.

May your silent memories

Bring to you, in sleep at least,

A part of what you've done.


Sweet dreams, my children,

And while you are asleep

Don't forget what body you're in

And wake up with the wrong one.


Your nightmare breaks sudden as sweat across your face,

And your skin feels like ice underfoot,

But while your eyes are closed,

You're going to learn what you’re all about,

Or at least some of what there is to learn.


Sweet dreams, my children?

Did you hear what I told you?

Who'se the one who holds you down?

Behind another's face might lay your own.


Sweet dreams, my children?

Remember that the window

You look through with widened eyes

Is only a smaller part of what you can't see.


Maybe you've learnt more than you should

But it won't make a difference when you're dead,

'Cos you know that what you've done means nothing

When it comes to what you are now and

What you were when you started life,

No, who you are means nothing, and how far

You've gone doesn't even matter.


Always dream, my children.

So you can at least see a wider scope

Of who you always felt yourself to be,

If you were as whole as you believed.


Don't forget to sleep, don't forget to sleep.

Never forget to sleep, never forget to sleep...




As evening comes the light takes it's leave of the day,

And the maze of halls in the cottage shed secrets

As torches and candles ignite and the syrupy smell of

Incense burns my eyes.

Red silk pillows and sheets line the halls and a table with

Tiny cups rests against the wall, which is painted

In the softest of easy colours.

And I stride through the mansion with coffee eyes looking

For somewhere to go, but I notice there are mirrors

From floor to arched roof, and I'm forcing myself

To ruffle my looks as I pass each one by.

Where should I go?


Where is the bedroom?

I've been looking for it

But all I see are pillows and a girl.

Maybe I am already halfway there

And do not need it anyhow.

Am I tired or something far more interesting?


Where will I go, there are plates on the floor,

Laden with honey and the heavy weight of gold

So I won't steal them, or carry them away.

The moon and trees shadows seep in through

Glass painted windows with colours crisp and sad,

And people are cheering and clapping in the most

Gracious of gestures and goodwill, all so sweet!

So I wonder as I wander, bare feet on polished wood,

How long the butler will be before ringing the bell

So I can consider eating some bread with the honey

So graciously given.


Where is the bedroom?

I've been looking for it

But all I see are pillows and a girl.

Maybe I am already halfway there

And do not need it anyhow.

Am I tired or something far more interesting?


At the end of the hallway is a curtain of tapestry

Sewn with gold threads by the edges to conceal

The fray ends.

And I look past the curtains to a window like mirrors,

And through the thick glass, soft rain plays with a child

Who was dearly enjoying the faint touch of dew on his face,

And the child is thinking of being buried alive at sea

With his friends, under a rock, in a mossy cave,

Where treasures of gold rings, gems and crystal things

Sit like lanterns in small cracks in the rock,

Glittering feverishly in the blue half-light, and how

They all would blow bubbles all day, poking the coral

And probing the rocks for pale shells and fun,

Not knowing or forgetting the strange creature which

Took them from the garden they were playing in

Who knows how many days before.

In time the small child will hope to discover his gills,

But he cannot believe he has never had any in his life.

So who wants to leave?


Where is the bedroom?

I've been looking for it

But all I see are pillows and a girl.

Maybe I am already halfway there

And do not need it anyhow.

Am I tired or something far more interesting?


Tiptoeing foolishly, too sick to smile,

As I carelessly slip one tired foot on a pillow,

And I'm scared at how soft it seems just right now,

Because I may fall asleep before I have found

The thing I am looking for.

What should I do?


A varnished oak door's at the end of the hall,

And though I'm expecting rich ferns to be potted

Carefully and prettily at either wide side,

It is simple and bare, with a cold glass cut handle

Which shimmers so starkly, with so many colours

It seems I could wait and listen to it glow all day.

But I recall it is night, and my eyes are sifting

Through the papery layers of sleep, so

Maybe I should have sat longer at the table with snuffbox

And coffee beans spilled in a circle, and then maybe I

Would be able to look in on the bedroom which must be

Behind the door, and are those bubbles that are seeping

From under the door and bathing my feet in illusion?

Give me my pipe and a plant to smoke through the glass,

And give me a new pair of eyes.


Where is the bedroom?

I've been looking for it

But all I see are pillows and a girl.

Maybe I am already halfway there

And do not need it anyhow.

Am I tired or something far more interesting?


Where is a mat to wipe my wet feet -

I'm not sure if I've managed so far

To convince the butler to let me come through

The high oak doors to recover from rain?

So perhaps I am dreaming of being inside

And of being part of a bed in a room?


So where is the bedroom?

Have I been sleeping in it

With nothing to see but pillows and a girl.

Maybe I am lying there

And do not want it anyhow.

Am I tired or something far, far more interesting?


The Sleeping Trial


Sleeping in corners and snatching at waking moments

Returning to the dream where you’re a figure that grunts and howls,

And when anyone asks you for their power back

You stare them in the eyes and say it’s more your size.


You’re so careful what you do, where you lay down,

How you grow up, careful when you get up,

What you're eating if it's tasting good,

But the day won’t stay.


My teeth fill my mouth like worn chess pieces

But my anger is a game I rule alone.

So dream on, dream on, you life-like figures

In costume on off-years of a sleeping trial,

‘Cos you know there’s another, yes you know there’s another

But you’ll never never ever let them take you.


You’re so careful what you do, where you lay down,

How you grow up, careful when you get up,

What you're eating if it's tasting good.

But the day won’t stay.


So it was not what you expected to find:

It just squatted in the windowsill, naked and spoon-eyed,

When you next see a shadow and see it walk inside,

When the shadow passes you will not find it beside.


Mitschenkoana (instrumental)

Album Notes

Alongside The Horde, this album was probably the most difficult to pin down to a specific list of songs. Its set list varied wildly to include songs now on Penny CrossingsThe Horde and The Untrained Eye, as well as some planned, semi-improvised acoustic and electric pieces, spoken poetry, and ambient soundscapes. In its longest form it would have taken the form of a double album, and at one point I explicitly assigned the melodic songs to one album and the more experimental soundscapes to the other. However, when I finally collated all my other albums into their present format I finally was able to return to a version which was essentially a cold echo of the Garden, with the extended soundscape subsumed to two composite songs and a planned overarching story abandoned for a loose framing metaphor.

While a couple of songs on the album were written in Perth before 1992, the majority where written while I was in England alongside those on Lakeside with the songs from each clearly distinguished from the beginning as part of a cycle of seasons. The only creative conflation was with a genre of more melancholy and loosely philosophical songs that ended up on The Untrained Eye, notably Transient Pages and The Mist, or others I deigned too weak to even end up on an album of juvenilia.

The Toymaker was written in Norfolk, although in its present form actually is synthesised from three different songs: one close to the present form, another written around the same time as music put to a separate prose poem with the same name, and a separate fragment initially written for a later album that become the middle eight.

The Gift was written in either 1990 or 1991, as I remember playing it in a high school drama class, although the final version was truncated.

Phantalier also was written in Norfolk, as music put to a prose poem, with a chorus subsequently added, although within a few months of the original material.

The Sleeping Trial was also, I think, written in Norfolk, although it's possible I wrote it while still in Perth. When writing it I actually had an old Mickey Mouse and Pluto animation in my head, essentially a nightmare where Pluto goes to hell, although it also overlapped with motifs of trolls, bridges and times where I used to crawl out the window at night to go to the park and lie on the grass to stare at the void in existential despair.

Mischtschenkoana was written probably around 2006, and a late addition, but written with the album in mind. I had never been able to afford a proper synthesiser, so it wasn't until I had ProTools, a Korg, and some plugins that I was finally able to play around with the kind of sounds I had always wanted for the album.

The Pines as well as The Ice Castle and their subordinate elements were almost all written in England or soon after from fragments. Taller Men and Cottage were definitely written in England, as were The Winter Circus and The Shattering Sun, but some of the electric fragments that ended up in either The Pines or the  Ice Castle may have been written in 1993. However Toys and Fear  are probably the earliest songs on the entire album, being written around 1990 or 1991 in Perth. 

He Comes Long-Legged is the next most recent song after Mischtschenkoana - I would guess it was written sometime around 2006 or so. At some points the song was going to be on The Horde, but it was originally intended to evoke the entity that was moving between the winter cottages in the original narrative premise.

The Thief, a piece for which I have a particular fondness, was always written for this album, although was truncated for the album as it was too long for its deliberately repetitious arrangement. 

The framing piece Snowbound and its reprise were written the same time as the fragments for The Ice Castle, but only placed as the framing melody later in the year.

Of the songs that were planned for the album but didn't make the final cut, Snowman and Cloudyman didn't really align with the framing narrative as much as I had initially thought, and were better suited to the more child-like flavour of Penny Crossings. Of the songs that migrated to The Trained Eye, I liked The King's Cornet  (but there were already too many slow songs on the album as well as The Penny Queen, which was going to be its secondary slot); I also liked The Guest (though its first two thirds were melodically weak, but I liked the ending harmonies), and Clowns of the Court (which melody wise remains apt, but it was too lyrically trite). However I'm indifferent to other songs such as Where's the Snow Gone and other fragments, especially as I think the streamlined version of the album better captures the feeling I was going for.

Glen Spoors, November 2021

Korelai Music is a brand of Lost Isle Media
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