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Draggle Glade

Pauper’s Funeral


I’m waiting at the window where your ghost will come
Like a thief, to trespass in its flight.
As I watch the rain outside fall
Everything around me has a name now.
I’m not tired of waiting:
There are still things left to name.

A fallow image of your face shifts before me.
I wait until it’s washed away,
I look to where you fell and drowned,
Where you turned so wet and limp and dead.

Maybe I hadn’t noticed
Your smile the first time,
But when I saw you crying
I knew you were my home.

I see a shadow play along the tree line,
And I let it draw me closer there.
I follow like a child with a coin
And a promise that you will be safe.

But in the clearing that I find there,
I see only your empty grave.
They have you naked on their tables.
Their scalpels will rename you.

If I’d the money you’d be locked in stone,
But now you lay there, dreadful in your pieces.
All the flowers lose their names
As I label each one for her.



I Am a Courtly Rook


I move you like you need me to, 
But when I see your look
I see the role of the rook
Is to lose for me.



The Girl with the Lantern


I chance to see her sitting there upon the hill:
I drop my pail and walk towards her hair (the hue of a spotted moth).
In her hand is a tiny lantern (the oil slick upon her fingers):
The flame is brighter than it should be and in its smoke 

Figures flutter, trapped in its spell. I move closer still. 
She hears me and she turns her gaze and a polite smile.
She pats the ground and I sit beside her, thinking not to speak to soon
For her face tells me she knows much more than she usually likes to show.

(I was helpless when I opened my eyes
To my mother’s blood and sighs,
And I knew that there was nothing I loved
That was not part of her kind.)

She sits and she listens as I speak of the things I’ve seen and done
And then she takes me by the hand and tells me precisely who I am, 
And since then that's who I've been, and I have grown to do such things -
But all I feel is the clouds and the sea and the sun that throw their power at me.

For when I left her I looked behind and the laugh was still inside her smile.
So I stopped and waited in the trees until she squatted for relief
And I ran out and I pushed her as hard as my hate could make me,
And she cried as she fell down the hill (I heard her broken crown).
I climbed after and nurtured the fire that the lamp had spat in her reddened wake.
I thought of milk poured on hungry earth: she’s ash now but I fear much worse.

I was happy until she opened her mind
And my gut turned like a trod worm.
Now I brush her ash from my face
With a black hand onto wet dirt.

I was fearless until she looked in my eyes
And a worm spoke in my mind,
And I knew that there was nothing I feared
That was not part of her kind.



One Day

(Lyrics by Christina Rossetti)

"I will tell you when they met:
In the limpid days of Spring;
Elder boughs were budding yet,
Oaken boughs looked wintry still,
But primrose and veined violet
In the mossful turf were set,
While meeting birds made haste to sing
And build with right good will.

When shall they meet? I cannot tell,
Indeed, when they shall meet again,
Except some day in Paradise:
For this they wait, one waits in pain.
Beyond the sea of death love lies
For ever, yesterday, to-day;
Angels shall ask them, 'Is it well?'
And they shall answer, 'Yea.'"

Is there something? Is there something?

Is it good enough?  

Is there something? Is there something

In your face?



Corpse Candle


Hello sunshine, rising up,
Hello winter, falling back,
Hello springtime, giving us,
Hello autumn, taking away.




Voices radiate their colours at her,
Disturbing her busy mind.
Like the soil beneath them,
They think she’s of their kind.

Look around, 
It’s all the same.
Disturb no footprint.
The grass is growing.

She’s trampled all the flowers,
Just to feel some interest
In the life around her.

Look around,
It’s all the same.
Disturb no footprint.
The grass is growing.

She could not touch the sunlight,
Could not feel herself.
She’s cold around the edges,
Sad behind the corner,
Silent behind her life.

Look around,
It’s all the same.
Disturb no footprint.
The grass is growing . . .



Orpheus Unbound


I have seen you many times, 
But still your passage in my mind
Is like a beast of glamour.
Like a kingdom fell with shadow
Asleep behind a wall of thorns,
Nothing's changed or lost its colours.
Would I lose something on the way?

I feel you look more fair and calm
Than the things that caught my eye
When in life I wondered
If I'd know you more or less
When your strength had washed away
And left the bones of what I've chased,
And I groped in your glass coffin
To find some flesh for you.
Would I lose something on the way?

Flowers at dusk are like you no longer.
Now you say you only sleep 
Behind that wall to sow and swell
Our promise underground.

Looking up towards the sky 
I see black petals fall around 
To whisper that you're dead 
But I turn away to face you.

If you’re ready and the mood takes you . . .
Enter the underworld until it has passed . . .
Only the beast and the blonde will remain . . .





Renaud and his lady ride away.
All night they rode till break of day.
The joy of love soon turns to pain.
Ride away . . .


All music and lyrics © Glen Spoors 2006 except opening notes on I Am Your Well (Cain Turney), some lyrics in Goblin Market (Christina Rossetti), lyrics for Stopping By a Wood (Robert Frost), and lyrics for One Day (Christina Rossetti)

I Am Your Well


Sunlight crawling through your hair,
Moves like water down your cheeks,
Into my mouth.
I am your well.

I made you grope to show me
All the places you could find
In your blindness.

I am your well.

In startling moonlight bathing
You did ask me why I wade
Into this river of my own creation.
Following ever softly, were you
Asking me to climb
Into your well?

You tore apart your bread doll,
Soaked yourself up gently, watched me
Through the scars upon your eyes.
Your bruises glistened, wet,
You cried: “Oh is that you, oh is that you
Who follows me,
Within this well?”

Circling like no bird you come
To feed on what remains of me,
And I forget to scream.
I am your well.

Remembering all those places
That we lost in my confusion,
I led you here to sigh:
“I have this mind.”



Goblin Market

(including Lyrics by Christina Rossetti)


One morning we awake to see
Our faces cast in pasty goblin grey and green. 
We can’t remember names, or dates or places, 
Or nation-states or even races, 
But the worst of it’s not been
And all my thoughts wait to be known.

And some chase will o’ wisps into the swamp,
And when they’re hungry hunt, when angry stomp
They settle down in goblin towns, with the lights 
of fireflies,
To fight those who curdle milk and spoil food,
But the worst of it’s not been
And all my thoughts soon will to be known.

“Like the watchtower of a town 
Which an earthquake shatters down
Like a lightning stricken mast
Like a wind-uprooted tree, 
Spun about
Like a foam-topped waterspout
Cast down headlong in the sea.”*
But the worst of it’s not been.

You take my hand I’ll take your knife. 
Nothing’s as easy as taking a life . . .



Maiden You Killed Me


You’re a sad girl with an ivory face
(But never wore a white dress of silk and lace),
Bare feet splashing, like a mute midwife.
I’ve invented more than half of what I know about your life.
Maiden you killed me.

The autumn leaf inside the book has all dried out
(You can crunch it into powder to allay your doubt).
You never bathed in milk or masked your scent with wine,
But you proved the grape of subtlety was just an empty vine.
Maiden you killed me.

You must be a flower in disguise.
You must be a flower in disguise
If I’m singing that I can’t die
And maiden you killed me?

The animals are children and they scream and run
(An axe is dangled loosely as the farmer comes).
The table is a slaughterhouse and this is love:
A smile is just a baring of the teeth against a bluff.
Maiden you killed me.

You were just as young as me, we both were small
(But there was nothing equal or a common thought).
The tower is a prison, and your hair is rope,
And I am swinging from the tree upon the darkest slope.
Maiden you killed me.

You must be a flower in disguise.
You must be a flower in disguise.
If I’m singing that I can’t die,
And maiden you killed me.



Stopping by a Wood

(Lyrics by Robert Frost)


"Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep
I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."



And You Weep


She never had the slightest interest in where you were going to,
Never wondered if you were to her as she was once to you.
That’s not to say . . . 

She could never turn away the people that you were indebted do,
Could never imitate the thoughts that you were slowly working to.
That’s just to say . . . 

There is nothing left to bring.
Weep at your broken ring.

She never recognised the joy when it was all but taking you,
Could never rape a lock or lift a word that left a stain on you.
That’s just to say. . . . 

She never had the slightest anger when she disapproved of you,
Just an empty face and distance that forever followed you.
That’s just to say . . . 

There is nothing left to bring.
Weep at your broken ring.





Take me through your homestead,
To wander in your loneliness in a pair of seven league boots.
Take me to your library
And share with me the knowledge
Of a world I've never seen.
And I'll be here til the end.

Tell me there’s no spider, 
In the kitchen or on the stove,
Spinning fibres on the pots and pans alone.
Show me all your recipes,
I’ll spin your burning roast
And stir the soup that's brewing in the iron pots.
And I'll be here til the end.

I’ll raise you back to health, my love,
I’ll keep the blankets warm over your feet.
I’ll hold you when the fever comes, and
Let you sweat your sickness on my sheets.

I’ll move through your belongings
And cover what your face says not to keep.
I’ll wash you when you’re hands are weak,
And carry out your bucket while you sleep.

I’ll lift you from your serfdom to be 
Wedded in a gown of royal fleece.
I'll let your father herd his sheep
Or settle back to live here without lease.

I’ll buy a plot one weekend,
And wander in my loneliness
In a pair of seven league boots.
I’ll tremble at your funeral,
I’ll wear your favourite colour.
Its not mine anymore.
And I'll be here til the end.





Album Notes

Most of the songs on this album were written between 1989-1991 and are amongst the earliest tunes I wrote for the acoustic guitar, alongside those from Penny Crossings, Lakeside, Toymaker and Opaline. I later altered some of the lyrics to better capture the mood I was trying to evoke at the time of composition, but not so much that the songs lost their original feel.


The word “draggle” means to make wet, limp and dirty by dragging behind, so the “glade” of the title harks back to the pastoral settings and mawkish protagonists of tragic medieval romances. Given my early tendency towards vague symbolism as a way of mystifying my inner life, the following notes largely indicate the ideas or sources I had in mind but did not make explicit (or did not have the skill to evoke) when I wrote the songs.


I Am Your Well. This song evoked, on the one hand, the literal image of a rural well serving as an entombing oubliette (French for “forgetting”, used to refer to holes in which prisoners were left to die) for some unfortunate woman. Allegorically one might speak of a woman subject to another’s idealisation or someone imprisoned in the memories of a loved one who was dead or did not return their love. Or, more generally, one might identify a metaphor of one who bears the suffering of another.


Goblin Market was initially written for an incomplete concept album “Goblin Green” in which everyone in the world woke up as a goblin and the world fell into tribal primitivism based in swamps. I later adapted the song it for this album. The lines from Christina Rossetti’s poem of the same title, and the repeated cycle at the end, were late additions.


Stopping by a Wood is a simple repeating guitar melody and vocal harmony to the lyrics of Robert Frost’s evocative poem.


Maiden You Killed Me. I altered the lyrics of this song by softening the romantic imagery to emphasise the intended tragic tone, in which a spurned lover is left feeling that the world is a realm of fatal decay.


And You Weep. This song was written after the others on the album, but the style and lyrics was in closest accord with this album’s style, so I included it here.


Pauper’s Funeral. In the 19th century the corpses of criminals and the poor were often stolen for medical autopsies. A “pauper’s funeral” was a grave without a covering stone that could therefore be easily robbed, and since one’s soul was thought to be disturbed by such desecration, to have a pauper’s grave was a much dreaded fate. The narrator of the song promised his lover that if she died she would be safely buried in the woods, but her grave is discovered and her corpse taken.


One Day is music to two stanzas of a poem by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), a daughter of a Dante scholar, and contributor to the Pre-Raphaelite magazine “The Germ”, perhaps most well known for her poem “Goblin Market.”


Gendarme refers to a French chevalier, an aristocratic knight-of-arms. At various times I intended to include more medieval-flavoured instrumentals on this album, but reserved them for Dwellings and The Horde.


Homestead. Though it was never clear in the lyrics, the idea in this song was that the man allows the woman to die in his care rather than regain health as he becomes more obsessed with his fantasy of tragic love. The man’s care for her sick lover in a secluded cottage therefore has a darker side of an imposed need for intimacy.


I Am A Courtly Rook. I wrote this fragment in my first year or so of guitar playing.


The Girl With the Lantern was initially about a witch who is burned at the stake, but I rewrote the lyrics to change the symbolism.


Corpse Candle was initially the opening for a song that was eventually called “The Moon Takes You” and was dropped from the set list. A Corpse Candle is another name for Ignus Fatuus, the Latin for ‘fools fire,’ more commonly known as Will o’ the Wisps, Fox Fires, Friar’s Lanterns, and Jack O’ Lanterns. The main ideas was that, just as Will o’ the Wisps were lights in swamps and heaths that people thought were spirits or pixies that lead passers-by to their death, so too did one follow the allure of the seasons until one’s death.


Fey. Folk tales are replete with fay (fairy) children left on the doorstep of humans who raise them as one of their own (Madouc in Jack Vance’s Lyonesse trilogy is perhaps my most favourite modern version). In most such stories the child’s heritage is eventually revealed and their hybrid nature places them between the human and fairy worlds. The maudlin heroine of this song merely dreams that she is a changeling who may one day return to her fay parents. Fey merely puns a state near death with notions of the faery to connote a fatal otherworldly escapism.


Orpheus Unbound. This song conflates the myth of Orpheus and the tale of Snow White. The colours of “flowers at dusk” are obviously harder to distinguish than those in the day, and a metaphor for qualities or sentiments that pass unrecognised. I also had the image of a certain flower that only opened at midnight, when the gates to the underworld opened for mortals. The narrator dreams of going through the gates as the flower opens to find his bride’s body and revive her. However, while Snow White was brought back to life by a kiss, his lover returns undead.


Renaud. I can’t recall if I wrote the lyrics to this or came across them and added the music. Either way, one reference is Renaud de Beaujeu, who wrote the French romance Le Bel Inconnu (The Fair Unknown), part of the Gawain and the Green Knight cycle. Gawain’s son, Guinglain, is raised without knowing his identity, but when Esmeree petitions Arthur’s court for help Guinglain offers his services. On the Golden Island he falls in love with the fay La Pucelle but resists her long enough to help Esmeree, whom he returns to marry. Retrospectively I think of the song as referring to an author’s imagined dalliance with a fictional creation to frame the album. I later came across a Renaud de Montauban, a fictional knight who fought in the Crusades under Charlemagne and rode a horse that could change its size.


Glen Spoors, February 2006

Korelai Music is a brand of Lost Isle Media
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