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Bring tea for the tillerman

Posted by Pamela on December 30, 2006

In Reply to: Bring tea for the tillerman posted by Smokey Stover on December 29, 2006

: : : : what does the phrase "bring tea for the tillerman" mean and where does it originate?

: : : There is a Cat Steven song with this name (from the 1970 album with the same name). The lyrics are:

: : : Bring tea for the Tillerman
: : : Steak for the sun
: : : Wine for the women who made the rain come
: : : Seagulls sing your hearts away
: : : 'Cause while the sinners sin, the children play

: : : Oh Lord how they play and play
: : : For that happy day, for that happy day

: : : The cover of the album has a man (a tillerman, I suppose) drinking tea. There's a picture here:
: : :

: : : I don't know if Cat Stevens was the first to use the phrase. The meaning? I'm guessing that it reflects the hippie hankering for a simple, rural, semi-mystical life away from the corruption and war that dominated politics at the time (but do remember to pack your own penicillin before you drop out). Or, you can visit where there is, no doubt, a page to discuss the meaning of the lyrics (I couldn't get the page to load so I didn't check). Be aware that there is a correlation between people who like Cat Stevens and people who smoke drugs, so take that into account when considering the sense of the answers. Pamela

: :
: : Sorry, the name of both the album and the song is "Tea for the tillerman", not "BRING tea for the tillerman". A tillerman is a man who tills (i.e. prepares ground for planting seeds). Pamela

: Normally, the tillerman is the man in charge of the tiller, the steersman who steers the boat. If the vessel is a ship you're more likely to have a wheel, which is in the charge of the helmsman.

: The man at the wheel
: Was made to feel,
: Contempt for the wildest blow-ow-ow,
: Though it often appeared
: When the gale had cleared
: That he'd been in his bunk below.
: SS

Thank you for that correction, Smokey. I was going by the album cover, and guessed he was a farmer, although in truth he looks more like a swagman. Pamela