September 24, 2017

What the hell is going on?

WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?
Bellows the man in the football crowd.
His team is losing. The referee  (who's just 
Fouled our striker on the way to not awarding
Him a stone-dead penalty) doesn't 
Know what he is doing.The officials 
Have lost control. And everyone is
Shouting an increasingly one-eyed
Version of incomprehensible events.

He speaks for all of us. 

September 16, 2017

The Ballad of Hereward The Wake by Waywood - World Premiere

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Published below for the first time the full text of our new ballad "Hereward The Wake."


SPOKEN INTRO…
Twilight in the greenwood, is Hereward  awake?
Grey and ghostly shadows are gliding through the brake,
Shadows of the dappled deer, dreaming of the morn,
Dreaming of a hooded man that winds a shadowy horn.

HARP MUSIC STARTS

In the Lincoln greenwood,
In the Bruneswald,
Yellow-haired, sky-eyed,
Great-hearted and bold,

For the soul of England;
For your own spirit's sake,
Lift your heart and voice up
For Hereward the Wake!

A wild swan, a curlew,
A fen-son, a tiger;
His high blood-tide exiled
By Edward the Confessor.

Performs magic deeds
In Cornwall and Ireland;
Fights fearless and feared
For Flanders, his wife-land.

Family home 'Normaned'
With his brother's severed head;
Returns, puts the murderers'
14 heads there instead.

In the Lincoln greenwood,
In the Bruneswald,
Yellow-haired, sky-eyed,
Great-hearted and bold,

For the soul of England;
For your own spirit's sake,
Lift your heart and voice up
For Hereward the Wake!

As free as the waters
That flow through the fen,
As the wide heaven-skies
In the eyes of good men,

To the Saxon Abbot
Of Ely he speeds;
Lords, with King Sweyn of Denmark,
Its marsh, mere and reeds.

Raids Peterborough Abbey,
Frees God's Saxon gold
From the thief-Norman grip
Of the tyrant monk Turold.

In the Lincoln greenwood,
In the Bruneswald,
Yellow-haired, sky-eyed,
Great-hearted and bold,

For the soul of England;
For your own spirit's sake,
Lift your heart and voice up
For Hereward the Wake!

From the Normans learns war,
From Flems love, bonds with Danes
But when King Sweyn makes peace,
Stays true to the thanes.

With Saxon Earl Morca
Defends Ely Isle
Fights war-craft and witch-fire
With fire, bow and guile.

The Norman machine
Cannot conquer that fastness;
Greed's causeway sinks
In full armour and harness.

In the Lincoln greenwood,
In the Bruneswald,
Yellow-haired, sky-eyed,
Great-hearted and bold,

For the soul of England;
For your own spirit's sake,
Lift your heart and voice up
For Hereward the Wake!

His wood-spirit leaves-drops
The Conqueror's hush-biz
Then is gone like a breeze
Through the secret rushes.

Though our monks will give up,
Afraid for their lands,
Their arms and his paths,
He will slip through their hands.

As free as the waters
That flow through the fens,
As the wide heaven-skies
In the eyes of good men.

In the Lincoln greenwood,
In the Bruneswald,
Yellow-haired, sky-eyed,
Great-hearted and bold,

For the soul of England;
For your own spirit's sake,
Lift your heart and voice up

For Hereward the Wake!

© Gareth Calway 2017

This celebration of Hereward is folk duo Waywood's latest. The world premiere as performed by the poet with harpist Vanessa Wood-Davies' latest melody was performed  at Hereward's birth-place of Bourne, Lincolnshire on Thursday 7 September, the 950th anniversary of the great Saxon's homecoming.  It tells the famous (and truer than you might think) story of how Hereward - delinquent son of Leofric Lord of Bourne and (some say) Lady Godiva - came to lead the English resistance to William the Conqueror from the woods and the fens, with star turns in the years 1067-72 for Bourne, Peterborough and Ely. The timeless style of Waywood's performance art -  ballad verse and harp as the days of the mead hall - is a perfect fit for this hero tale. Waywood will also be performing homages to Robin Hood and Wicken Fen. And that's only our bit - there's a Bayeux tapestry to see, Hereward scholarship for a popular audience, storytelling, film and much else besides.


Waywood harpist Vanessa Wood-Davie spreparing for action in  Hunstanton last June, 

September 07, 2017

The Ballad of Johnny Hopper (the Nerveless Nazikiller)


(born May 1912 King's Lynn, Norfolk; moved Normandy 1924; survived 8 months Gestapo HQ 1942  and 3 years Mauthausen and Dachau 1943-45; East Anglian mushroom farmer, 1945-1991.)

See August issue of BBC History magazine for the full story



Johnny Hopper of Lynn and Normandy,
Forest fugitive, bandit, sinner,
Hit Hitler's Paris in the spring
Took his wife Paulette out to dinner.

"Give me my usual table, boy,
With my back against the wall,
And your two-faced entrance in my sights
And a hand on my trusty pistol.

His 'Resistance' contact  came on time,
A Gestapo and soldiers in tow;
He blew them away as he hit the ground,
Copped a wound, and a crueller blow.

With a fate worse than death closing in,
He shot dead his wounded wife,
"I've relived that fatal moment
Every day of my life."  

'Never give up and never complain'
His old priest in Normandy said.
The only lesson that ever got through
His lone-wolf bullet head

A long horse-face as pale as Death,
The hood life, stripped to the bone;
A wolf with 5000 francs on his head,
As lupine-lean and as lone.

He shot the quisling sheriff of Caen:
He shot the deputy as well
And an SS - "a Nazi piece of goods" -
Beat Dachau, but not his own hell.

With a fate worse than death closing in,
He shot dead his wounded wife,
"I've relived that fatal moment
Every day of my life."