The Black Furrow

Words 1973 George MacKay Brown / music 1966 Gordon Bok

 

A poem by one of Orkney's greatest folklorists and poets. Here, a fiddler takes a dare and ends up in a place he should have stayed well away from.

 

Gordon 12 string guitar

 

"Darst thu gang b' the black furrow

This night, thee and they song?"

"Wet me mooth wi' the Lenten ale,

I'll go along."

 

They spied him near the black furrow

B' the glim o' the wolf star.

Slow the dance was in his feet

Dark the fiddle he bore.

 

There stood three men at the black furrow

And one was clad in grey.

No mortal hand had woven that claith

B' the sweet light o' day.

 

There stood three men at the black furrow

And one was clad in green.

They've taen the fiddler b' the hand

Where he was no more seen.

 

There stood three men at the black furrow

And one was clad in yellow.

They've led the fiddle through the door

Where never a bird could follow.

 

They've put the gowd cup in his hand,

Elfin bread on his tongue.

And there he bade a hunder years,

Him and his lawless song.

 

"Darst thu gang through the black furrow

On a mirk night, alone?"

"I'd rather sleep wit' Christian folk,

Under a kirkyard stone."

 

 

 

The Black Furrow is recorded on the album Apples in the Basket