A poem for the daffodils


A sudden fanfare
From the ranks of green,
Heralds a lone bugler,
Calling the bold-as-brass section
To take the stage.

Advance guard or suicide squad,
The first ones put their heads
Above the parapet.
Not yellow, but mustard-strong;
Lemon-sharp nuggets.

I wait for the slopes
To go bananas;
Wait for the walls
To yield to the assault
Of a tiny brazen army.

Yet when it happens,
They don't advance.
They just sit and consent,
Like coal-mine canaries
Telling us what's coming.

From sound sleepers
To peace-keepers,
They annually affirm
The arrival of light,
Making sure the silence
Is golden.

But though, at first, love spreads,
Clockwise round the city,
The neatly mustered
Regiments can only dance
So long to their own tune.

Soon others are drummed up -
The strings of catkins, the greening woods -
And they begin to fade, wilt,
Till just one band remains
In a late-sunned spot.

There the breeze blows
The trumpets a final time.

Custard's last stand.