"Fiddler's Green" as written by Robert Baker, Gordon Downie, Johnny Fay, Paul Langlois and Gordon Sinclair....
September seventeen
For a girl I know it's Mother's Day
Here son has gone alee
And that's where he will stay
Wind on the weathervane
Tearing blue eyes sailor-mean
As Falstaff sings a sorrowful refrain
For a boy in Fiddler's Green

His tiny knotted heart
Well, I guess it never worked too good
The timber tore apart
And the water gorged the wood
You can hear her whispered prayer
For men at masts that always lean
The same wind that moves her hair
Moves a boy through Fiddler's Green

Nothing's changed anyway
Nothing's changed anyway
Any time today

He doesn't know a soul
There's nowhere that he's really been
But he won't travel long alone
No, not in Fiddler's Green
Balloons all filled with rain
As children's eyes turn sleepy-mean
And Falstaff sings a sorrowful refrain
For a boy in Fiddler's Green


Lyrics submitted by black_cow_of_death

"Fiddler's Green" as written by Gordon Sinclair Gordon Downie

Lyrics © Peermusic Publishing

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Fiddler's Green song meanings
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27 Comments

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  • +6
    General CommentThis song is an elegy for a dead child.

    Fiddler's Green is a kind of "sailor's heaven," where sailors go when they die. Downie sticks with the nautical metaphor by suggesting that the child has "gone alee" (downwind) and comparing his heart failure with the sinking of a wooden ship.

    There's not much else to say about what this "means."

    Folk singer John connolly did a song called "Fiddler's Green" in 1970, which includes these lines:
    Now Fiddler's Green is a place I've heard tell
    Where fishermen go when they don't go to Hell
    Where the weather is fair and the dolphins do play
    And the cold coast of Greenland is far, far away

    Then there's "Final Trawl" by folk singer Archie Fisher:
    And when I die, you can stow me down
    In her rusty hold, where the breakers sound
    Then I'll make the haven and the Fiddler's Green
    Where the grub is good and the bunks are clean

    But the traditional idea of Fiddler's Green is much older than that. It was coopted by landlubbers and appears in an old post-Civil-War U.S. Cavalry song:
    Halfway down the trail to hell
    In a shady meadow green,
    Are the souls of all dead troopers camped
    Near a good old-time canteen
    And this eternal resting place
    Is known as Fiddler's Green.
    wonderdogon January 31, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI was at the show in Saskatoon as well. Someone held up a sign requesting that they play Fiddler's Green. Gord acknowledged the sign and stated that they until recently they never ever played this one live as it carried so much pain, and then introduced the song. It was as awesome as you would expect. It is very touching to know how personal this song is for the band... the performance was amazing.
    corykon August 06, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentCorrection: this song had never been sung live until 2006.
    ProudesterMonkeyon January 18, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentProbably the most moving song the Hip have ever done.
    justholdstillon October 01, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentVeteran of 200+ shows here and I've not heard it live once (DANG!). They didn't play it for years, then it popped up in the mid 2000's (at a benefit show of some sort, which I missed). Since then it's been performed a only few times. It's my guess that Gord Sinclair (who has traditionally generalled setlist duties each night) would not scribble "Fiddler's" down without first asking Mr D if he was up for it. The song is about GD's sister and her young son. It seems to me that the song is inserted only for a very specific reason which is meaningful to the band and all fans, as a tribute, maybe when a famous life is cut short in the days leading up to the show (the Hip's way of flying their "freak flag" at half mast in a display of respect). Next time I play hockey with GD, I'll ask him about it.
    theymademesignuptosaythison May 08, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm guessing there are no Hip comments because there aren't many Canadians bouncing around this site? Too bad. Anyway, one of my fav Hip songs....out of the many I have ^_^
    Katydidon May 09, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthanks god someone else recognizes the hip's talent.....there isn't a band out there that can match the hip's eclectic, wide-ranging musical style and talent. people need to see this.
    bosco9on May 09, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMaybe people will notice this song. I heard a Cover of this song on the radio by the stereophonics. But they don't sing it nearly as good as Gord Downie does.
    The tragically Hip is the greatest band ever, and they don't get any credit.
    Fully__Completelyon March 07, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYou're right, the Hip don't get enough credit, it's cuz the huge world of consumers live in America
    madscooterfoo9on June 21, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI live in America, and I love this band. I live near about five score distance from the forty-ninth and I heard them on my local rock-n-roll station. Thanks to At the Hundreth Meridian, I became hooked. The best album I have heard is Road Apples and Fiddler's Green is in my top 5 songs for the record.
    OpinionHeadon April 19, 2004   Link

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