The Green Man
Each evening, his labours at an end,
the green man
catches the number ten bus
and makes his silent way
through the glistening, lamplit streets.
I didn’t realise
it was him at first,
muffled under moss-coloured wool
and capacious, earth-stained coat.
But that musk gave him away:
the autumn-scent of crumbling bark and badgers,
brown as leaf-litter, heady
with mushrooms, moss and leather. The air
tastes of tilled earth as he passes.
I sneak a glance
when he’s not looking, try to make out
stray twigs poking
from under the cap, the stubble-fuzz of lichen
on his jowls, the weatherbeaten
crags of brows. I picture great fat hands,
hoary, ripe as apples,
curling up hedgehogs into puffballs,
scuffing truffles, turning insect-teeming logs,
bedding in horse-chestnuts until spring.
In cracked grey hobnails
he disembarks like rustled leaf-breath.
A flavour of loam and windfalls
lingers in the air behind him:
the must of seasons turning,
Andy Humphrey is a freelance writer, part-time law student, trade union activist and former research scientist. He has lived in York for the last five years. His published output includes nearly 50 poems and a number of short stories and he writes his own opinion blog, The Poet's Soapbox. He has won numerous awards for his poetry including six First Prizes in national and international competitions. He spends much of his time promoting up-and-coming writers as a competition judge, poetry slam organiser, and MC of The Speakers' Corner open mic night in York. His writing is heavily influenced by his favourite things which include twilight, fairy stories, English and Celtic folk music, and single malt whisky. His proudest achievements include surviving three years in Milton Keynes, and his ambition is to prove that Dragons really did exist, and possibly still do.
You can read more about Andy and his writing here.