In celebration of both Earth Day and National Poetry Month.

“To the Green Man

Lord of the returning leaves, of sleepers
Waking in their tunnels among roots,
Of heart and bush and fire-headed stag,
Of all things branching, stirring the blood like sap,
Pray for us in your small commemorations:
The facet of stained glass, the carved face
Lapped by decorations on the column side,
And the entry in the reference book that lists you
As forester, pub sign, keeper of golf courses.
King for a day, or week, then sacrificed,
Drunk on liquor made from honey, urged
To blossom at your leisure, and caressed–
The temptation is to think of you without envy.
In Fewston, Yorkshire, near the open moor,
You are set in a church window above the altar.
Wreathed and strangled, amber-glazed, you wear
A look of non-surprise, a victim’s cunning,
Though your tongue hangs as dumb as any death.
Elsewhere, when you make your appearances,
Out of your mouth stems and oak leaves grow–
Like speech or silence? Your eyes are empty cups.
Pray, vestige-secret of the trees, for us,
Surprised and pleased to find you any place.

-Mark Jarman

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