THE GREEN MAN
William Anderson arr. L. Noel 1990
Like antlers, like veins of the brain the birches
Mark patterns of mind on the red winter sky;
I am thought of all plants, says the Green Man
I am thought of all plants, says he. (REFRAIN)
The hungry birds harry the last berries of rowan
But white is her bark in the darkness of rain
I rise with the sap…
The ashes are clashing their boughs like sword-dancers
Their black buds do trace a wild face in the clouds
I come with the wind….
The alders are rattling as though ready for battle
Guarding the grove where she waits for her lover
I burn with desire….
In and out of the yellowing wands of the willow
The pollen-bright bees are plundering the catkins
I am honey of love….
The hedges of quick are thick with May blossom
As the dancers advance on the leaf-covered King
It’s off with my head….
Green Man becomes grown man in flames of the oak
As its crown forms his mask and its leafage his features
I speak through the oak….
The holly is flowering as hayfields are rolling
Their gleaming long grasses like waves of the sea
I shine with the sun….
The hazels are rocking the cups of their nuts
As the harvesters shout when the last sheaf is cut
I swim with the salmon…
The globes of the grapes are robing with bloom
Like the hazes of autumn, like the Milky Way’s stardust
I am crushed for your drink….
The aspen drops silver of leaves on earth’s salver
And the poplars shed gold on the young ivy heads
I have paid for your pleasure….
The reed beds are flanking in silence the islands
Where meditates Wisdom as she waits and waits
I have kept her secret….
The bark of the elder makes whistles for children
To call to the deer as they rove over the snow
I am born in the dark….