When I was growing up, my brother and I used to trek over to the local library every week. There we would routinely flout conventional wisdom by judging books and records by their covers and then borrowing them.
That’s how we ended up listening to Bert Jansch’s “Moonshine,” an album of English folk music. Its “January Man” is a lovely, melancholy song that haunted me for years after those library visits had ended.
This seems a fitting lyric to post in these early January days.
The January Man
Oh the January man he walks the road in woolen coat
and boots of leather.
The February man still shakes the snow from off his hair
and blows his hands.
The man of March he sees the Spring
and wonders what the year will bring
And hopes for better weather.
Through April rain the man goes down to watch the birds come in
to share the summer.
The man of May stands very still watching the children
dance away the day.
In June the man inside the man is young and wants to lend a hand
And grins at each new color.
And in July the man in cotton shirts he sits
and thinks on being idle.
The August man in thousands takes to roads
to watch the sea and find the sun.
September man is standing near to saddle up and lead the year
And Autumn is his bridle.
The man of new October takes the reins
and early frost is on his shoulder.
The poor November man sees fire and wind and mist
and rain and winter gale.
December man looks through the snow to let eleven brothers know
They’re all a little older.
And the January man comes round again
in woolen coat and boots of leather
To take another turn and walk along the icy road he knows so well.
The January man is here for starting each and every year
Along the road for ever.