Corn Jenny

(Words and music by and © Talis Kimberley, 2011)

Length – 3:48

Corn Jenny and John Barleycorn laid down in a field of clover
Not any human eye could watch them settle where they lay
The clouds did race, the clouds did run tween the green earth and the golden sun
And the seed was set and the deed was done all on a shining day, singing:

Oats and barley and wheat and rye, oats and barley and wheat and rye
Oats and barley and wheat and rye, oats and barley and wheat and rye…

Corn Jenny, shall we turn the year a little further into Winter?
Corn Jenny, shall we turn the year a little further into Spring?
Corn Jenny as I weave you now are you glad that I remember?
Corn Jenny, does it make you smile that the harvest’s gathered in? Oh –

Corn Jenny, sweet Corn Jenny, let’s dance as the Summer waves goodbye
Corn Jenny, good Corn Jenny, with your oats and barley and wheat and rye. (Hey!)

Corn Jenny, did you see last night how the Moon rose full to bless you?
Corn Jenny, did you singe your hem as the fields of stubble burned?
Corn Jenny with your golden curves and a ribbon bow to dress you
Corn Jenny of the five in hand you’re a lesson gladly learned – oh –

Corn Jenny, sweet Corn Jenny, let’s dance as the Summer waves goodbye
Corn Jenny, good Corn Jenny, with your oats and barley and wheat and rye.
Corn Jenny, sweet Corn Jenny, let’s dance as the Summer waves goodbye
Corn Jenny, good Corn Jenny, with your oats and barley and wheat and rye. (Hey!)

Quarter-turn and a tight straw bend – out and in, and a plait to end
Damp the straw before you start – mill the grain but you weave the heart

Oats and barley and wheat and rye, oats and barley and wheat and rye
Oats and barley and wheat and rye, oats and barley and wheat and rye, oh!

Corn Jenny, sweet Corn Jenny, let’s dance as the Summer waves goodbye
Corn Jenny, good Corn Jenny, with your oats and barley and wheat and rye.
Corn Jenny, sweet Corn Jenny, let’s dance as the Summer waves goodbye
Corn Jenny, good Corn Jenny, with your oats and barley and wheat and rye.

Corn Jenny, sweet Corn Jenny, let’s dance as the Summer waves goodbye
Corn Jenny, good Corn Jenny, with your oats and barley and wheat and rye.
Corn Jenny, sweet Corn Jenny, let’s dance as the Summer waves goodbye
Corn Jenny, good Corn Jenny, with your oats and barley and wheat and rye. (Hey!)

…Oats and barley and wheat and rye!


A Little Bit About 'Corn Jenny'...

Goodness but we’ve performed this one a bunch of times! We used to finish gigs with it, but when I wrote ‘This Side of the Knife’, Corn Jenny switched to being an opener instead. I was at the Potterne Mediaeval Fair one year, and happened upon a stall where a lovely woman was teaching folk to make corn dollies. I happen not to be fond of the word ‘dolly’, but I loved learning to make them, so when the process and symbolism fell into the songwriting bit of my brain, I preferred ‘Jenny’, which is of course used much as ‘Jack’ is, to personify something that isn’t terribly human to begin with – for example, the spinning jenny. The acapella intro and the coda at the end of this album came to mind in a field of clover where I was attending a rather wonderful camping event with friends, and I realized that my ‘Corn Jenny’ was surely bride to John Barleycorn.

Random snippet: when I went to collect the lyric from the place I’d first typed it, I remembered that I had started writing a song about Benjamin Franklin’s sister Jenny, and had the phrase ‘Poor Jenny, poor poor Jenny’ in mind… which turned into the ‘Corn Jenny, Sweet Corn Jenny’ of this song.


More Songs

Go to:

Main Songs Page

another song:


an album:

a theme: