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Easter Lillies (Ralph McTell)

28 Aug 06 - 07:22 AM (#1820588)
Subject: Easter Lillies (McTell)
From: Sooz

I've just discovered this song which is on Ralph's Red Sky CD. I wondered if anyone had heard him perform it live and perhaps tell the story behind it.

Easter Lilies
Ralph McTell

For a long time she stood at the flower shop window
The daffodils dearest at this time of year
Inside she emptied her purse on the counter
"I want to buy all of the daffodils here"
By her eyes it was plain to see she'd been crying
As she tucked back a strand of loose hair from her face
"I want to spend all of my money on flowers
And I need every daffodil here in this place"

Clutching her harvest, a corn sheaf of flowers
She clambered aboard the late rush hour tram
And by Schweigaardsgate, a small pool of water
Had formed on the floor as if wrung from her hands
It just seemed to add to the lost look about her   
'As the gray rattling city went grumbling:past
She sat like a small child testing for butter
Her face lit in yellow from the lowers tightly clasped

Once in her apartment she lay down the blooms
And divided them up into glasses and jars
Till daffodils filled every space in the room
Then she lit every candle she found in the house
She bathed and she dressed and corked open champagne
Which made pigeons fly from her window sills
Closing the curtains on birds in the rain
She stood among flickering daffodils

Surrounded and centered she pondered her feelings
Sofa'd and cushioned on feathers she lay
Holding on to the pillows lest she float to the ceiling
And just like the cigarette smoke drift away
She wondered just what the wind might deliver
An unwritten letter a torn envelope
Though candlelight warmed her she suddenly shivered
And the yellow flowers shimmered with brightness and hope

28 Aug 06 - 10:50 AM (#1820718)
Subject: RE: Easter Lillies (McTell)
From: Mr Fox

Well, Schweigaardsgate is in Oslo, if that helps.

28 Aug 06 - 01:55 PM (#1820830)
Subject: RE: Easter Lillies (McTell)
From: Strollin' Johnny

Sooz, he did it the last time he was at the TAC (when he played two-and-a-half hours with no interval! That's value!). I'm sure you were there. He did give the story behind the song but I can't remember it all - I think it's a Norwegian poem originally, which he adapted to make a song. Don't quote me on that, I could very easily have it wrong.

I've been trying to learn it ever since I bought Red Sky when it first came out a couple of years ago, but there are far too many words! I pick it up and put it down. Duh!

28 Aug 06 - 02:59 PM (#1820884)
Subject: RE: Easter Lillies (McTell)
From: Sooz

Thanks Mr Fox - that much is on the CD insert though.
SJ - I was there, but you should know about my memory by now!

28 Aug 06 - 04:11 PM (#1820933)
Subject: RE: Easter Lillies (McTell)
From: GUEST,Jack Campin

A friend of mine developed a fascinating misconception about Easter lilies by having too much of the wrong kind of information. She was an American academic political scientist and had never visited Scotland at Easter before.

"Why are there so many Sinn Fein supporters here and why are so many of them old ladies?"

She knew about lilies as a symbol of the Easter Rising but not about daffodils as a fundraiser for the Macmillan cancer nursing charity.

So let's theorize that McTell's song is either about Irish Republicanism or the heroine is a cancer widow. Pass it on.

29 Aug 06 - 05:55 AM (#1821476)
Subject: RE: Easter Lillies (McTell)
From: Strollin' Johnny

Sooz, Ralphie's on at Sleaford Playhouse on 15/9 and Worksop Regal on 11/11. Might we go to one of them, if he doesn't do the song we could always ask him the story?

PS - Will Stitherum be adding it to their repertoire? Let me know, if not Jane and I might work on it. Your choice........

29 Aug 06 - 06:58 AM (#1821496)
Subject: RE: Easter Lillies (McTell)
From: Sooz

Worksop sounds good to me!

I'll let you know when we've decided.

12 Apr 20 - 09:08 AM (#4045553)
Subject: RE: Easter Lillies (Ralph McTell)
From: breezy

So what happened next?

12 Apr 20 - 09:20 AM (#4045561)
Subject: RE: Easter Lillies (Ralph McTell)
From: GUEST,Starship

Here's McTell singing the song. Beautiful melody.