The Wanderlings Volume Two

by Leslie Hudson

/
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
04:08
6.
7.
8.
05:30
9.
10.
11.
03:59
12.
13.

about

The Wanderlings are sonic paintings of the feminine in folklore and myth: goddess, witch and shapeshifter, villain, outcast and slave, spirit-wives and selkies, stepmothers and survivors. A true portrait of every gritty, glorious creature we are in story.

Upon completion this project will include 52 songs (one for each week) recorded in four volumes (one for each season). Volume Two is largely inspired by European and North American writings and traditions, the bulk of its 13 songs written as the leaves tumbled from the trees and twisted on the wind.

Special thanks to Karl Stahl for above-and-beyond artistic prowess; Charlie Jacklin for mixing advice and mastering the tracks; the Filk community for continuing to encourage me by listening; friends and fellow musicians for supporting me from project to project even through long absences; Jane Yolen for Favorite Folktales from around the World; The Grimm Brothers, Hans Christian Andersen, Neil Gaiman, Tanith Lee, Gearóid Ó Crualaoich & the children of Dingle (1933), Thomas Kinsella & the Irish bards, the authors of Biblical stories, the villains & foils, and all those who give voice to the lost and forgotten, the magical and mysterious, the silent and vilified.

credits

released January 27, 2016

All songs written, performed and produced by Leslie Hudson at Scarlet Oak Studios, Burlington ON

Mastered by Charlie Jacklin at Kerr Village Productions, Oakville ON

Album design by Karl Stahl & Leslie Hudson

Insert cover photo (Connemara National Park, Co Galway, Ireland) and back cover photo (Webster’s Falls, Dundas ON) by Karl Stahl;

Inner insert photo (The Raven “Loon” at Burren Birds of Prey Centre, Co Clare, Ireland) by Leslie Hudson

tags

license

all rights reserved

about

Leslie Hudson Burlington, Ontario

Leslie Hudson is an independent musician, based in the Toronto area of Ontario, Canada.

A unique blend of styles and influences, she can beat the piano into submission or lull it to sleep, depending on her mood.

Armed with a powerhouse voice and more than 25 years of songwriting, she performs solo and with her various bands.

Visit lesliehudson.com for music, bookings and more info.
... more

contact / help

Contact Leslie Hudson

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code

Track Name: Sisters & Sinners
Jezebel met Esther in a bar and over drinks
They traded stories ‘bout the kings they used to love
Until their vision blurred and all men looked the same
When it was dark

Lydia met Delilah after work, ran up a tab
Perfecting business plans they shared to rule the world
And laughed about the way they liked to close a sale
Through the night

Salomé’s waiting tables, platter in hand
While Deborah smokes the courthouse from her mind
Naomi keeps her daughter close ‘little longer than planned
And Leah’s still a lover to the blind
We are all sisters and sinners, trying to unwind
We are all sisters and sinners, girls, by our own design

Mary M met her mother in the back and wore a veil
To hide her face from anyone who knew her name
And she’s still jet-lagged so she’s drinking Cabernet
To remember

And it’s last call so ladies, drink up
This isn’t happy hour, honey
We’re at the crossroads of heaven and hell
And I don’t want your soul
But I’ll take your money ‘cause

Salomé’s waiting tables, platter in hand
While Deborah smokes the courthouse from her mind
Naomi keeps her daughter close ‘little longer than planned
And Leah’s still a lover to the blind
We are all sisters and sinners, trying to unwind
We are all sisters and sinners, girls, by our own design

3 AM: Eve and Lilith pool their tips and share a cab
They spend the night together, they’re comparing notes
Of married men that they’ve lost track of on the road
Saying

We are all sisters and sinners, trying to unwind
We are all sisters and sinners, girls, sparks of the divine
We are all sisters and sinners, girls, making up our minds
We are all sisters and sinners by our own design
Track Name: These Shapes Three
The Morrigan, in woman’s form
Came looking for Cuchulainn
To offer him her favour
As a lover and a guardian
“Be off with you, I do not need
Your comp’ny or distraction
It isn’t for a woman’s sake
I fight as Ulster’s champion!”

“Be careful what you say to me
For I am no mere maiden
And you will suffer greatly
When you’re most in need of saving
I’ll come against you thrice, I will
Around your feet entangling
To trip and trample, bite and tear
Your entrails all a-dangling”

Eel in the water
And she-wolf I’ll be
And hornless red heifer
These shapes three
For I am the Morrigan
And you’re just a man
Whose body will feed
My corvid clan

“I’ll be in the water when
You’re fighting at the ford”
Cuchulainn said, “I’ll crack your ribs
And I won’t need my sword”
“Then I’ll become a wolf and
I will drive the beasts against you”
He said, “I’ll sling a stone and blind
Your eye, until I bless you”

“Then I will be a blood-red cow
To bring the herd stampeding
Your enemy will fall upon you
Broken there and bleeding”
“I’ll throw a stone to break your leg”
The bold Cuchulainn claimed
“Until my blessing you receive
You’ll be a woman maimed”

Eel in the water
And she-wolf I’ll be
And hornless red heifer
These shapes three
For I am the Morrigan
And you’re just a man
Whose body will feed
My corvid clan
Yes, your body will feed
My corvid clan

All they promised came to pass
The champion was spent
He found a woman milking who was
Squint-eyed, lame and bent
“Woman, give me milk!” he cried
Without a word she did
“Good health to you” – a wound was healed
As smiling face she hid

Another drink, another blessing
Then again, a third
Whole at last the woman rose
And then Cuchulainn heard:
“You said you’d never heal me”
As the Morrigan turned ‘round
“If I’d known it was you,” he said
“I’d not have made a sound!”

Eel in the water
And she-wolf I’ll be
And hornless red heifer
These shapes three
For I am the Morrigan
And you’re just a man
Whose body will feed
My corvid clan
Yes, your body will feed
My corvid clan
For I am a raven
And you’re just a man
Track Name: Carving Knife
We were written like a villain into story
Notoriety, little glory
We the victims of an evil allegory
Impropriety, never sorry

As the servant who would be a queen
The unrequited lover
The barren bride abandoned
Or the secondary mother

We are damned because it’s our fault
That you never stop to think
The way we do when we see weakness
And she stops to take a drink

I am bitter (I am bitter)
I am bitterness as cold as ice
I am jealous (I am jealous)
I am jealousy as old as night
I want better
I want better than your charming life
I am other (I am other)
I am otherwise a carving knife

We were written to be foils and to be foiling
Ever burning, ever boiling
We the reason for your necessary toiling
Needful learning and recoiling

As the succubus who drains and draws
The faery who entices
The witch who weaves in darkness
Or the demoness of crisis

We are terrifying spectres
There beneath the milky sheen
Of our flawless imperfection
You have never really seen

I am bitter (I am bitter)
I am bitterness as cold as ice
I am jealous (I am jealous)
I am jealousy as old as night
I want better
I want better than your charming life
I am other (I am other)
I am otherwise a carving knife

You use me to draw a line
Pay attention, little heroine
It matters more this time
You abuse me, break me down
In an endless sea of back story
I never make a sound

I am bitter (I am bitter)
I am bitterness as cold as ice
I am jealous (I am jealous)
I am jealousy as old as night
I want better
I want better than your charming life
I am other (I am other)
I am otherwise a carving knife

I am other (I am other)
I am otherwise a carving knife
Track Name: Unconsecrated Ground
They can burn and scatter me
Wrap me up and bury me
I won’t make a sound
As long as I am bound
To unconsecrated ground

Come to me, o children
Whose mothers bore the shame
Nameless and abandoned
Gone before you came

Take the long road round the hill
Skip among the nettles
Follow now the moonlit path
Strewn with fallen petals

Come to me, o sorrowful
From the razor’s edge
Anguished and afflicted
Leapers from the ledge

Oh, take the long road round the hill
Tread upon the nettles
Follow now the moonlit path
Blanketed with petals

Come to me, o drowned ones
Taken by the sea
Leeched of all your traces
Anchorless and free

Take the long road round the hill
Past the stinging nettles
Follow now the moonlit path
Marked by scattered petals

Come to me, o sisters
Lovers for a price
Healers and diviners
Burned by your advice

Take the long road round the hill
Gather up the nettles
Follow now the moonlit path
Smoothed with whitened petals

Come to me, o fringes
Shadowy and pale
Do not be forgotten
Step beyond the veil

Oh, take the long road round the hill
Shiver through the nettles
Ours will be the moonlit path
We will be the petals

They can burn and scatter me
Wrap me up and bury me
I won’t make a sound
As long as I am bound
To unconsecrated ground
Track Name: Powerlust
She moves through the room
Like a river she flows
Like a valley she curves
Like a seer she knows

All eyes follow her
As she pours out her mead
And all that you want
Is to take what you need

You grab her by the hair
And you pin her to the wall
She wanna taste her power
You wanna watch her fall

You tell her that you own her
As you spill into her cup
And when exhaustion takes you
It’s then she rises up

Don’t mistake the crown of her head
For subservience
Don’t relax when she falls to her knees
When you dig your flagpole
Deep into her mountains
Remember magma flows
Beneath her fragrant trees

My power is my own
And it cannot be taken
The strength of the earth
That can-cannot be shaken

Without me you fall
And no, none will support you
For I am the one
That all men must report to

Don’t mistake the crown of my head
For subservience
Don’t relax when I fall to my knees
When you dig your flagpole
Deep into these mountains
Remember magma flows
Beneath my fragrant trees

Pity the man
Who forgets he’s the tool
And tries to play king
To forget he’s the fool
Track Name: Of The Sorrows
He’d been warned of her beauty prior to her birth
A leader of men by the strength of his girth
A leader of men by the wisdom of his breath
Yet his future was shrouded in sorrow and death

Conor kept her life hidden in a deep lonely wood
As from Emain Macha he ruled as he should
And as Derdriu blossomed into a rose
His lust to possess her alarmingly rose

While out in the wood a young man did she spy
Who said, “My eyes have seen a fine heifer pass by”
Her love for him true and her heart and eyes full
She said, “Heifers grow fine where there is no bull”

She’d been raised as the king’s bride regardless of her will
And safe in her hiding he thought her there still
And while he was dreaming of taking her to bed
She left with her lover, fair Naoise, and fled

Conor found her bed empty; his curses filled the sky
“You’ll never escape me although you may try
“Ah Derdriu, my darling, your face fills my sight
“And I’ll burn down my dún before I lose this fight”

He sent Fergus to bring them by his guarantee
And trusting his honour they sailed o’er the sea
But as they approached Emain Macha on the hill
They were ambushed by men who had come for the kill

By the sword Eogan slaughtered the son of Uisliu
And captured and bound his sweet lover, Derdriu
And brought her to Conor, the king of the land
Who claimed for his pleasure her heart and her hand

Neither eating nor sleeping she mourned and she cried
Saying, “Ah, with my Naoise I yearn to have died
“His white skin and red lips and black raven hair
“It’s with him, king of Ulster, you cannot compare”

Enraged by her spurning, with fury in his heart
He promised to Eogan she soon would depart
A ewe between rams in the chariot she rode
‘Til she jumped to her death on the rocks by the road

So come all ye who gather to listen to love’s tale
Remember this story of lust and betrayal
Of promise and warning and falling from grace
And the burden that comes with a beautiful face
Track Name: Until the Day I Die
He was waiting for her
At the bottom of his well
She was innocent
And he could tell
He’d been bound there
By incorporeal bonds
Just as ancient
As the dawn

She was coming for him
Though she didn’t know his name
He was dangerous
And he’s to blame
She’d been drawn there
By the very fate she sought
She was destined
To be caught

Magic token
Golden ball
What’s my future?
Tell me all
Will I be a happy bride
With a loving husband at my side
Until the day I die?

He was counting on her
Coming close enough to touch
She was beautiful
He knew that much
She was mesmerized
By the token she beheld
Til she lost it
In the well

She was begging for it
For her future lay within
She was furious
And he gave in
But he grabbed her
For one terrifying pause
Then released her
From his claws

He stalked her
As she ran from him
A silent blackened wave
A man but not a man who could be saved
A bargain made in ignorance
Has ne’ertheless a consequence
And in the dark
He held her like a grave

Magic token
Golden ball
What’s my future?
Tell me all
Will I be a happy bride
With a loving husband at my side
Until the day I die?

She was waiting for him
To release her from his spell
He was ravenous
And she could tell
They were married there
In the light of her last day
He the hunter
She the prey

Magic token
Golden ball
What’s my future?
Tell me all
Will I be a happy bride
With a loving husband at my side
Until the day I die?

Oh, until the day I die
Oh, he will love me
Until the day I die
Track Name: Falling Down
Child of summer
Flower-born
Winter is coming
You’re weary and worn
Come share my hearth
It’s safe underground
And the leaves are falling down, my child
The leaves are falling down

Tell me about your adventures, child
How did you come to this field?
You must be hungry, you’re wasting away
After your many ordeals
Sit by the fire, tell me how does that feel?

You won’t survive in this weather, child
Stay here with me, earn your keep
I have been gathering all summer long
Close your eyes and go to sleep
You nevermore will have cause to weep

Child of summer
Flower-born
Winter is coming
You’re weary and worn
Come share my hearth
It’s safe underground
And the leaves are falling down, my child
The leaves are falling down

What a help you have been, child
There is someone you should meet
He’d make a wonderful husband
As wealthy as you are sweet
Go prepare dinner, you’re in for a treat

Why do you bitterly cry, child?
You’ll be a bride in the spring
Life in the tunnels is safer
You’ll never want for a thing
All of our days will grow brighter when you sing

Down in the darkness, you will sing
Down in the darkness, you will sing
Down in the depths of the darkness
You’re the most beautiful sound
Stay with us here, deep underground

Child of summer
Flower-born
Winter is coming
You’re weary and worn
Come share my hearth
It’s safe underground
And the leaves are falling down, my child
The leaves are falling down
Track Name: Heather For Hélène
I bring heather for Hélène who’s not in
So I pick up my pen
To compose a short farewell
And a hoping-you-are-well
You’re no stranger to hydrangea
And I feel the loss of you
Lady of La Belle Écosse, adieu

For three years or maybe more
I have walked out of my own front door
To the sights and sounds of you
Though our spoken words are few

I bring heather for Hélène who’s not in
So I pick up my pen
To compose a short farewell
And a hoping-you-are-well
You’re no stranger to hydrangea
And I feel the loss of you
Lady of La Belle Écosse, adieu

In your driveway stands a bin
All at once the movers fill it in
I can’t see the orchids bloom
In the window of your room

I bring heather for Hélène who’s not in
So I pick up my pen
To compose a short farewell
And a hoping-you-are-well
You’re no stranger to hydrangea
And I feel the loss of you
Lady of La Belle Écosse, adieu

Take with you this good luck charm
That I trust will keep you safe from harm
May you find a fertile soil
And reward for all your toil

I bring heather for Hélène who’s not in
So I pick up my pen
To compose a short farewell
And a hoping-you-are-well
You’re no stranger to hydrangea
And I feel the loss of you
Lady of La Belle Écosse, adieu

Yes, I feel the loss of you
Lady of La Belle Écosse, adieu
Track Name: Nibble Nibble
The moon is risen, I can see your pebble path
Leading brightly through the trees
Stepping stones to safety
Or at least to what is known

But tonight there is nothing left to guide you
Lose your way, my little children
Build your fire higher
May it keep you from the wolves

Never fear, I will be your salvation
Come near, eat your fill of my elation

Nibble, nibble, like a mouse
Who is nibbling at my house?
Be ye friend or be ye foe
Now you’ve come you’ll never go

In the sunlight rosy windows sugar-spun
Frosted eaves and ginger shingles
Candy-petal gardens
In the bright and dappled glade

Come inside, oh, my poor diminished darlings
Let me warm you by the hearth-flame
Trust me, you’ll feel better
When you’ve had a good night’s sleep

While you’re sleeping I will weave for you a spell
You are bound to my command, you will serve me well
Never will you wander for this castle is a cage
You can’t escape an orphaned fate and you’ve reached the final page
You mistook the spider’s web for one last safety net

Never fear, I will be your salvation
Come near, eat your fill of my elation

Nibble, nibble, like a mouse
Who is nibbling at my house?
Be ye friend or be ye foe
Now you’ve come you’ll never go

Nibble, nibble like a mouse
Nibble, nibble like a mouse

Nibble, nibble, like a mouse
Who is nibbling at my house?
Be ye friend or be ye foe
Now you’ve come you’ll never go
Track Name: I Won't Fail
[HIM]
I lost her too early
My true love, you shone so brightly
Without her I’m broken
I swallow all these words unspoken

I will make a vow right now
By the morning light
That I will bring her back to me
Save her from the night

Red feather dancing on the air
Do not leave me, lead me there
Spirit-wife I cannot see
Do not set me free
I will follow every trail
Suffer through what they entail
‘Til you rest with your head upon my breast
I won’t fail

This journey is hard, love
I’m struggling and you just float above
You’ve travelled beyond this life
The lake where the dead rest lies between us, wife

I will make a vow right now
Spirits, hear my call
I have come so far and yet
I will give my all

Owl feathers dancing on the air
Do not leave me, lead me there
Bring my lover back to me
Come and set her free
I will follow any trail
Suffer through what it entails
‘Til she rests with her head upon my breast
I won’t fail

[HER]
My husband, you found me
Our village I cannot wait to see
Remember your promise
Be patient and we’ll both get through this

[HIM]
I will make a vow right now
Not to touch your skin
Until we see our home again
I will not give in
But the sunlight in your hair, my love
The warmth of your embrace
What’s the harm – we’re almost home
If I should touch your face?

[HER]
What have you done?
We’d almost won

Like a feather floating on the air
I must leave you standing there
Spirit-wife again I’ll be
For you have set me free
You may follow every trail
Suffer through what they entail
But you nevermore will rest
With my head upon your breast
You have failed

[HIM]
I won’t fail
Track Name: Old As the Stone
Have you heard the story
Of the Cailleach on the hill of Cnoc an tSídhe?
Living on the summit
In a cabin that overlooks the sea

Oh, the wind it is a buffet
And it beats back the waves
Where she wanders and wonders and plays
As old as the stone of her limestone caves
No, it’s nary a wonder she stays
It’s nary a wonder she stays

Once upon her travels
Did the Cailleach find a lobster in a pot
She stole it home alive
So it could guard her wealth from those who had it not

As she gathered dulse and fish and garlic
Came a thief in search of her gold
Who found the box beneath her bed
And reached inside but when he did he felt a thing take hold

Oh, the wind it is a buffet
And it beats back the waves
Where she wanders and wonders and plays
As old as the stone
Of her limestone caves
No, it’s nary a wonder she stays
It’s nary a wonder she stays

When the sun was setting low, the Cailleach came home
To find the stranger with his hand trapped
“You did well, my lobster,” she said and smiled
Raising o’er the thief her shiny axe

Oh, the wind it is a buffet
And it beats back the waves
Where she wanders and wonders and plays
As old as the stone of her limestone caves
No, it’s nary a wonder she stays
It’s nary a wonder she stays
It’s nary a wonder she stays
No, it’s nary a wonder she stays

Surviving the waves
She’s as old as the stone, she says
Track Name: Rolling of the Sea
The rolling of the sea
Will be forever haunting me

Underneath the moon
I wandered to the shore
The waves lapped at my feet
I could not hear the beat
Of the heart that lies within me
In this mortal human breast

Where’s the time gone?

The rolling of the sea
Will be forever haunting me

Stepping ankle-deep
I was bitten by the cold
I never used to feel
This skin is all too real
Now I have lived a life inside it
A life I have outgrown

Where’s the time gone?

The rolling of the sea
Will be forever haunting me

Shouldering my fur
I gazed along the strand
My footprints will betray
Where I have gone to stay
For the wild and blue horizon
Requires that I return

And there’s the time gone!

The rolling of the sea
Will be forever haunting me

Oh, the rolling of the sea
Will be forever haunting me, me, me