Flooers o the Forest

by Lori Watson



Thinking about red and white poppies, about how precious and fleeting life is, and how sometimes, in the stories we tell ourselves about a cause, we lose sight of the human cost.

I’ve combined two versions of this song – written by two women who lived in close proximity in space and time. One voice is concerned with a more philosophical, ‘bigger picture', the other is concerned with the people and community involved in fighting, or the loss of younger generations, and its aftermath. Both voices are highly personal; I’ve interwoven the two. The forest in this song is generally thought to be the Ettrick forest (by Yarrow) so I included Ettrick in my version.


I’ve seen the smilin o Fortune beguilin
I’ve tasted her favours an felt her decay
Sweet is her blessin and kind her caressing
But soon it is fled - it is fled far awae

I’ve heard them liltin, at the ewe milkin
Lasses aa liltin afore break o day
But noo they are moanin on ilka green loanin
The flooers o the forest are aa wede awae

I’ve seen the mornin wi gold the hills adornin
The red storm a-roarin afore the pairtin day
I’ve seen Tweed’s siller streams, glittrin in the sunny beams
Turn drumly an dark as they roll’d on their way

Dule on the order, that sent them aa tae the Border
Faimlies at labour, maisters at play
The flooers o this forest, they focht aye the foremaist
The prime of aa Ettricke, are cauld in the clay

At hairst, at the shearin, nae youth now are jeerin
Bandsters are runkled an lyart or gray
At fair or at preachin nae wooin nae fleechin
The flooers o the forest are aa wede awae

O fickle fortune why this cruel sportin?
Why thus perplex us poor dochters o day?
Yer froons canna fear me, yer smiles canna cheer me,
The flooers o the forest are aa wede awae


released November 26, 2017
Traditional song arranged by Lori Watson, Duncan Lyall and Steven Byrnes
Lyrics from Alison Rutherford (1712-1794) and Jean Elliot (1727-1805)
Vocal by Lori Watson
Piano by Duncan Lyall
Guitar by Steven Byrnes
Recorded and mixed by Duncan Lyall at Red Deer Studios
Mastered by Iain Hutchison at Glo Worm Studios
Poppy by Jennifer Austin

Supported by Creative Scotland


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Lori Watson Glasgow, UK

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