The Life Of Man (Live in Wordwell All Saints Church)

from by Hayward and Parsons

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lyrics

The seasons of our lives are as natural as those of a leaf on a tree.

On pilgrimage we visited countless parish churches, which are inevitably places of death as well as life – indeed, we knew this intimately by sleeping in various churchyards along the way. At Wordwell church, where we made this recording, we sang ‘The Life of Man’ for a group of local folk. The landlord had just died, and our audience were ill and facing their own mortality, so the performance had particular poignancy. Later, the church caretaker Bob showed us where he would eventually be buried in the churchyard.

We also sang ‘The Life of Man’ at the centre of Saffron turf maze, having walked the 1.5km labyrinth, a microcosm of our pilgrimage and life itself, a journey to the sacred centre where birth and death are one.

The ten bell tolls at the end of the track were recorded from our sleeping bags at 10pm in West Stow’s church porch.

Lyrics:
As I was a-walking one morning at ease
A-viewing the leaves as they hung from the trees
They were all in full motion, or appearing to be
And the leaves that were withered, they fell from the trees.

What’s the life of a man any more than a leaf?
A man has his seasons, so why should we grieve?
Although in this life we appear fine and gay,
Like the leaves we must wither and soon fade away

If you’d seen the leaves just a few days ago
They were all in full motion and appearing to grow.
A frost came upon them and withered them all,
And the rain came upon them and down they did fall.

Go down yonder churchyard, many names there you’ll see
All have fallen from this world like the leaves from the tree.
When age and affliction upon us do call,
Like the leaves we must wither and down we must fall.

What’s the life of a man any more than a leaf?
A man has his seasons, so why should we grieve?
Although in this life we appear fine and gay,
Like the leaves we must wither and soon fade away.

credits

from To Be A Pilgrim (Songs From The Way To Walsingham), released May 5, 2015
Trad. Arr. Hayward and Parsons

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Hayward and Parsons UK

Hayward and Parsons are singing pilgrims, on a musical quest to bring back pilgrimage to Britain.

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