THE GREEN MAN OF LIGHT |
A SHAPE-SHIFTING WANDERER
I was seeing this, dreaming this, drawing this.
IN THE WOODS,
I WAS CONTEMPLATING THE GREEN LIGHT
BUT IN THE GREEN LIGHT —
THERE WAS A WARM LIGHT,
a SUNNIER LIGHT — COMING THROUGH.
I draw on, and through that light, what I see.
A LIGHT MAN, THE WAFTING MIRAGE OF LIGHT, MAN.
L I G H T W A N D E R E R
DEEP IN THE FOREST,
WHEN THERE IS WATER NEAR,
the light of the forest mixes with the light of the water and the reflecting Sun,
a refracting waver happens — like slipping, and drifting rhythm — and luminous people come through — light walkers, flickering, wavering light bearers. FIGURES THAT WARY LIKE WAVES,
FLICKERING AND WAVERING IN THE LIGHT,
AS THE LIGHT BURSTS INTO MY SEEING.
T H E C E I L I N G P A T T E R N I N G
AS I LOOK UP, THE CEILING —
THE OLD WOODS,
POLISHED AND LONG RUBBED BY TIME, SALTED MIST AND THE RAIN BLOWN IN SHEETS, FAR INTO THE light room, THE STUDIO’S LONG HOUSE
THE LIGHT MOVES ON THE CEILING LIKE THE SQUABBLING OF GULLS AND DOVES, THE LIT WINGS, LIGHT-TOUCHED FOLDS OF LUMINOUS DRAPERY FOLDING IN, OUT AND OVER EACH OTHER.
TO THE ETYMOLOGY OF THE GREEN MAN —
THE ARCHETYPE —
FROM YOUR FRIENDS AT THE OED, BELOW:
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green man, n.
Pronunciation: Brit. /gri?n ?man/, U.S. /?grin ?mæn/
Forms: see green adj. and n.1 and man n.1
Etymology: < green adj. + man n.1 With sense 2 compare green adj. 8c.
a. In outdoor shows, pageants, masques, etc.: a man dressed in greenery, representing a wild man of the woods or seasonal fertility. Cf. Jack-in-the-green n. Now hist.
Quots. a1716 and 1931 refer to the tavern sign of ‘The Green Man and Still’.N.E.D. (1900) comments that the sign ‘seems to have been suggested by the arms of the Distillers’ Company, the supporters of which are two Indians. The sign-painters represented the Indian by a ‘Green man’ (in this sense) and this figure was afterwards replaced by that of a man clothed in green, a forester, often Robin Hood.’ (See ‘J. Larwood’J. C. Hotten Hist. Signboards (1866) 148.)
1578 G. Whetstone Promos & Cassandra ii. i. vi, sig. Hi. (stage direct.) Phallax, Two men, apparrelled, lyke greene men at the Mayors feast, with clubbes of fyre worke.
1594 R. Wilson Coblers Prophesie sig. C1v, Comes there a Pageant by, Ile stand out of the greene mens way for burning my vestment.
1600 T. Nash Summers Last Will & Test. sig. B2v, The rest of the greene men haue reasonable voyces, good to sing catches.
1654 E. Gayton Pleasant Notes Don Quixot i. vi. 19 The strange Feasts of the Greenmen, Whiflers, Marshals, and his Ministers.
1687 M. Taubman London’s Triumph 7 Green-men, Swabs, Satyrs, and Attendants innumerable.
a1716 Bagford in ‘J. Larwood’ & J. C. Hotten Hist. Signboards (1866) x. 367 They are called woudmen or wildmen, thou’ at thes day we in ye signe call them Green Men, couered with grene boues.
1728 J. Smedley Gulliveriana 33 My Greenmen all, with Main and Might, Espouse Myself and Cause, And say, that all propos’d is right, By ancient Forest-Laws.
1801 J. Strutt Glig-gamena Angel-ðeod iv. iii. 282 The actors?were called monstrous wilde men; others were frequently distinguished by the appellation of green men; and both of them were men whimsically attired and disguised with droll masks [etc.].
1837 N. Hawthorne Twice-told Tales 81 Up with your nimble spirits, ye morrice-dancers, green-men, and glee-maidens, bears and wolves, and horned gentlemen!
1851 Gentleman’s Mag. Feb. 154/2 In 1681 a company of 20 Green Men preceded the principal pageant.
1931 Rotarian July 5/2 ‘The Green Man’ remains, twenty generations after he came to his end, as a mute testimony to England’s love of its traditional robber chief.
2006 Church Times 29 Dec. 24/1 The winter manifestation of the Green Man?will emerge from a boat on the River Thames.
b. A supernatural being connected with nature and fertility, and often viewed as a personification of the woodland or forest.
1907 G. Massey Anc. Egypt I. iii. 143 The spirit in green (vegetation) remains the ‘green man’ as wood spirit in Europe.
1943 Jrnl. Eng. & Germanic Philol. 42 180 Chambers was naturally misled by the greenness of Bercilak into taking him for a ‘green man’, a vegetation spirit of the Mannhardt school.
1996 St. Louis(Missouri)Post-Dispatch 8 Feb. 9 Other backyard guardians include the Greek god Pan and the ancient pagan figure known as the ‘green man’.
2001 Folklore 112 220 The Green Man?was an invention, but a necessary one for a modern society which felt itself out of touch with nature.
c. A representation of a man’s face composed of, surrounded by, or sprouting foliage or branches, esp. used as an architectural ornament. Cf. foliate head n. atfoliate adj. Additions.
Such images have been interpreted variously as depicting the figure of sense 1aor the nature spirit of sense 1b.
[1932 Folklore 43 360 There is also a couple of corbels carved with a face—in the mouth is a sprig of foliage on each side, moustache like. It is thought to be a ‘green man’.]
1939 Lady Raglan in Folklore 50 47 Seward, who has made a special study of the chapter-house at Southwell, where there is a number of ‘Green Men’, has found a great variety of foliage there.
1959 Times 7 Nov. 9 A famous pulpit?sharply and dramatically carved with angel, eagle,?and the sad heads of two Green Men with stems growing from their mouths and opening into stylized foliage.
1980 S. Heaney Preoccupations (1984) 186 The old religion kept budding out on the roofs of cathedrals all over Europe, in the shape of those roof-bosses which art historians call ‘green men’ or ‘foliate heads’, human faces growing out of and into leaves and acorns and branches.
2004 A. Derman Green Man in N.Y. City 9 The Green Man, as an architectural ornament on late 19th Century New York City buildings is not formulaic in the sense of being reproduced the same way time after time.
2. A raw recruit or inexperienced man; spec. (in fishing and whaling) a man who has not been to sea before. Cf. green hand n. at green adj. and n.1 Special uses 4a, and greenhorn n.Now hist.
1635 L. Fox North-West Fox sig. Av, Captaine Davis was?supplyed awayes (after some yeares of breathing) by Greene men, or those who (in that time) had forgot their experience.
1682 J. Collins Salt & Fishery 99 The third of the Men that go a Fishing being Green-Men, that never were at Sea before.
1699 Act 10 Will. III c. 25 §10 Every Master of any Fishing Ship going to Newfoundland?shall have in his Ship’s Company every fifth Man a Green-man (that is to say) not a Seaman, or having been ever at Sea before.
1708 Royal Proclam. 26 June in London Gaz. No. 4452/2, The Masters of Fishing-Ships?do neglect to produce Certificates of their Compliments of Green Men or Fresh Men.
1786 Act 26 Geo. III c. 26 It shall and may be lawful for the Hirer or Employer of any such Green Men engaged in the said Fishery, to advance to any such Green Man, during the Time he shall be in his Service, a Sum not exceeding Five Pounds.
1828 E. Bulwer-Lytton Pelham (ed. 2) III. xvi. 262 Dawson?spoke?words that made the hairs of our green men stand on end. ‘We must not suffer this,’ said Thornton?‘his ravings and humdurgeon will unman all our youngsters.’
1867 W. H. Smyth Sailor’s Word-bk., Green-men, the five supernumerary sea~men who had not been before in the Arctic Seas, whom vessels in the whale-fishery were obliged to bear, to get the tonnage bounty.
1890 Fourth Biennial Rep. Dept. Labor Statist. (State of Calif.) iii. i. 116 If they sent us a green man and we discharged him, we had no guarantee that another green man would not be sent in his place. Green men cause us a good deal of trouble, sometimes, to break them in.
1929 F. C. Bowen Sea Slang 100 Paddy Wester,?a notorious boarding-house keeper in Liverpool who shipped thousands of green men as A.B.’s for a consideration.
1940 Railroad Mag. Apr. 67/2 He grunted in a peculiar way and muttered something about the fools in the office sending a green man to such a run as this.
2004 P. E. Pope Fish into Wine v. 173 The annual recruitment and training of green men, or ‘youngsters’, served the whole [fishing] industry?as an informal apprenticeship mechanism.
3. = man orchid n. Cf. green man orchis n. Now rare.
1828 Gardener’s Mag. 1 465 In April, I remove?, from their native habitation, the following interesting and peculiarly elegant species,—?Aceras anthropophora (green man), [etc.].
1887 Cornhill Mag. Aug. 153 Four kinds of pinks grow on the dolomitic rocks, and many an orchis—among them the curious green man.
1929 E. J. Thompson Crusader’s Coast i. 97 In the needle-strewn turf of the Lebanon pinewoods, orchises are blooming, the dwarf bee-orchis and the green man most abundantly.
4. orig. and chiefly Brit. The symbol of a walking figure illuminated in green on the traffic light at a pedestrian crossing, indicating that it is safe for pedestrians to cross with care.
1968 Times 26 July 2/4 The flashing ‘green man’ appeared to give the pedestrians the impression that they had an unduly short time in which to cross.
1991 Sydney Morning Herald (Nexis) 19 Sept. 5 Day and night, heavy traffic roars through the intersection of five roads as pedestrians wait for the green man before crossing.
2005 D. Daley–Clarke Lazy Eye 40 She was crossing to our side of the road, even though the green man wasn’t flashing.
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