The Green Man’s Challenge
May Day on the Roman bridge at Clun
eyes are on the Green Man.
Face of oak leaves, bare branch horns
taunting with his one demand
“Get out of my way, Ice Queen!”
Her silver foil dress shimmers,
retreating from his naughty flicks of ivy.
Her grip on the valley mocked, defied.
Ice-white is driven out by fresh green.
But not quite; the morning frost
regularly returns to the riverside,
cow parsley umbellifera rise
and necklace the roadsides.
Apple blossom freckles orchards,
blackthorn buds bend to the ground.
Sheep are sheared now
from winter grey to bony naked.
The Green Man’s palette sharpens
May’s colours. Its streaks, and daubs
above the browns; milk-chocolate river,
bullocks patched with manure,
huddles of baby wood mice.
Spectrum of yellow,
late dandelions, warm, glossy.
Oilseed rape a brimstone carpet.
Bees lurching with pollen clogs.
Seldom a red, more the pale pinks
of pear and cherry blossom,
of when a kite spirals and cries,
or a cock pheasant walks daintily
and then squawks.