Urtekonen (Original English version)

The Herb Gatherer

Lyrics by James Atkin

A thing is sought; By shape identified
By colour, by smell, the hue of the flesh

Cut down so young, some in their maturity
Some long dead, many still fresh

Know I will find you, bear me no enmity
But as I reap, then so shall I sow

Nowhere to hide, in field or forestry
I know you all; I watched you grow

Crushed and ground; Ground and pulverised
Dried and burned; A medicine prescribed

Mixed and diluted. Fire to sterilize
A balm or a tincture. A potion imbibed

This my profession; worshipped and demonized
Services rendered, payment received

A killer, a healer? This may you theorize
Ancient my knowledge of cure and disease

On this night of awe and wonder when the sun has left the sky
And the moon is in the heavens with her light to guide us by
Seek out the plants and fungi, the weapons of our art
That might cure the hottest fever or might stop the strongest heart

If you know the ways of nature, and the bounty that she brings
Then wonderous and frightening are the knowledge of these things
Legend tells us of the powers, those that may be found if sought
But tonight we seek the healing of the one they call the wort

Gathered by the moonlight on the shortest night of all
It’s potency preserved when dried and hung upon the wall
It’s uses they are many and the side effects are few
All the secrets of it’s usage can I unlock now, for you

Tonight shall I find you, by sight and by smell
With sickle I’ll take you where no-one can tell
By my skill I’ll prepare you for what you must do
Your powers preserved till I call upon you

Heal them, sicken them, stay their disease
Blind them and bind them to do as I please
Cool them or warm them or lessen their pain
Kill them or cure them or drive them insane

The wort is a cure for disease of the mind
For depression and anguish a cure will you find
As an ointment prepared for a topical wound
It’s magical powers may not be impugned

You’ll find many others, out there in the dark
In flower, in stem, in leaf and in bark
Some have their benefits, others beware
Not all of the things are benign in my lair

Ergot will blight your perception and will
Foxglove and nightshade and ragwort will kill
Feverfew, chamomile, help you revive
But some things when eaten cannot be survived

All of these things are a part of my lore
Knowledge of hundreds of aeons before
Tell me of just the effect you require
If the payment is right, then I’ll meet your desire