The Green Man

Shallow there in the shadows,     shaded by the laurels,
as morning comes on clear     and cold as old ice puddles,
there where the ragged woodline     makes a hedge against the day,
a brim, a bound of darkness     at the border of the field,
he sits in fertile stillness.     The slats of the old blind
are layered with fallen leaves,     lush with hanging myrtles,
and blooming dogwood branches,     with blossoms rich and wild
that twist, sprout and turn,     twining through the staves.

A warm woven mantle     is wound in green around him,
even his face and fingers     are flecked with gravid colors:
forest and dusty fern,      fawn and moss and cedar,
as if the woods had wrapped him     well in rustic clutches.
His rifle is right beside him,     at rest in the web-dark corner,
its stock of walnut warm,     worn lustrous by the years,
and a pea-green pack with     supplies for the measured hours:
a canteen, extra rounds,     and a clot of loose-leaf chew.

He whistles a fiddle tune     then settles into silence
as the fading stars of fall     forsake the field to daylight
and morning’s mounting victory.     Of movement there is nothing
except his stern and sparkling    staring hazel eyes
that flicker across the furrows     from his fecund hideaway,
and lips that upwards lift     a lowly frost-borne prayer
that the Lord of field and forest,     of fen, glen and meadow,
might send some special blessing     into the splendid field of day,

some strong stately thing that bears     the sunlight on its horns.

J.M. Jordan is a nearly-unpublished writer who just began writing again after a twenty-year hiatus. He is a Georgia native, a Virginia resident, and a homicide detective by profession. He enjoys bourbon, Byzantine history, long walks on Civil War battlefields and (occasionally) sleep.

'The Green Man' has 1 comment

  1. October 25, 2022 @ 7:18 pm Bryce Lowe

    In my home of Western Pennsylvania there is some guy who goes around carving the Green Man into trees. I love this poem’s connection between the Woodland Wight and a hunter (both being so prevalent in my neck of the woods). Well done, sir. Reminds me of Yeats and Heaney.


Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

(c) 2024 North American Anglican