Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Terror Time

by Ewan MacColl

This song is about the traveling people of England and Scotland. Winter—that's the terror time—no place to go nor doesn't know where to go. Doesn't know any place to go and sit. And it doesn't matter whether it's snowing or blowing. You've got to go.” (Maggie Cameron, Inverness traveling woman. Recorded in a bow tent at Cookson's field, Alyth, Perthshire, 1964.)

Heather will fade and the bracken will die

Streams will run cold and clear

And the small birds will be goin'

And it's then you will be knowin'

That the terror time is near

Where will you go and where will you bide

Now that the work's all done

And the farmer does not need you

And the council will not heed you

And the terror time has come

The woods give no shelter, the trees they are bare

Snow falling all around

And the children they are crying

And the bed on which they're lying

Has frozen to the ground

The frost will not lift, and the stove will not draw

There's ice in the water churn

Through the mud and snow you're sloshing

Trying to do your bit of washing

And the kindling will not burn

Needing the warming of your own humankind

You draw near a town, and then

The sight of you's offending

The police they soon are sending

And you're on the road again

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