Tell Tale Songs: A Forest Trail in Autumn

We held each other’s gaze As daylight began to haze Maybe an hour had passed As the light turned to grey The wind became restless then I came to myself again ‘God protect you’ she said And turned away A Forest Trail in Autumn by Jac Rundell The image here is an interpretation of the song by Jac Rundell. For a free set of the five pieces of art created for these songs, on 15cm x 10cm card, put your postal address below. Transcript (click to reveal) Forest trails are part of my psyche. I was brought up on the edge of Craigie Woods on the banks of the river Ayr, and spent my childhood and adolescence in the company of the constantly changing but constant trees, particularly remembering the smells of squelchy autumns or crunchy autumns. This song, however, appeared in my mind on another forest walk along the banks of the Forth in my current home of South Queensferry. What took my imagination was the idea of a chance encounter, left unexplained, that changes – even destroys – a man’s life. I wondered where it had come from. It was only later I remembered William Butler Yeat’s Song of Wandering Aengus. Here the encounter seems less about chance than about fate, but in one moment Aengus’s life changes, and we hear it from him as an old man, his whole history determined by one supernatural intervention. A Forest Trail in Autumn (WAV, 33MB) A Forest Trail in Autumn (mp3, 5.6MB) A Forest Trail in Autumn (stream) Forest Trail originally appeared on my album The Wolf Who Snared The Moon. The Wolf Who Snared The Moon

A Forest Trail in Autumn lyrics

It was in autumn time The wind was a dusty line Shifting the broken leaves Under my feet I walked a forest trail The afternoon sky grew pale A woman with grey-black hair I chanced to meet She had a stranger’s eye Started to pass me by I reached out and stopped her short My hand on her arm The wind whispered through the wood I knew she understood Better than me I’d do her no harm We held each other’s gaze As daylight began to haze Maybe an hour had passed As the light turned to grey The wind became restless then I came to myself again ‘God protect you’ she said And turned away All through the winter freeze Into the late spring breeze I searched that forest trail For a glimpse of her face All through the summer’s light I hid in my room till night I could not sleep I could not eat I went back to that place Under a tree I sat Close to that very spot Where I once reached out my hand I still don’t know why Under the broken moon Winter is coming soon Under these falling leaves I come and I cry.

The Song of Wandering Aengus – Norman Lamont

This is the poem by William Butler Yeats that inspired A Forest Trail. I went out to the hazel wood, Because a fire was in my head, And cut and peeled a hazel wand, And hooked a berry to a thread; And when white moths were on the wing, And moth-like stars were flickering out, I dropped the berry in a stream And caught a little silver trout. When I had laid it on the floor I went to blow the fire a-flame, But something rustled on the floor, And some one called me by my name: It had become a glimmering girl With apple blossom in her hair Who called me by my name and ran And faded through the brightening air. Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun. I first heard the song in Donovan’s version, on his album HMS Donovan. There have been many musical settings of this poem. I even have another unrecorded one. Worth checking out are versions by Christy Moore and The Waterboys (sadly this one has an inexcusably long advert at the start). This is my setting of the song, from my album All The Time In Heaven.