by Sylvia Plath

Mayday : two came to field in such wise : `A daisied mead', each said to each, So were they one; so sought they couch, Across barbed stile, through flocked brown cows. `No pitchforked farmer, please,' she said; `May cockcrow guard us safe,' said he; By blackthorn thicket, flower spray They pitched their coats, come to green bed. Below : a fen where water stood; Aslant : their hill of stinging nettle; Then, honor-bound, mute grazing cattle; Above : leaf-wraithed white air, white cloud. All afternoon these lovers lay Until the sun turned pale from warm, Until sweet wind changed tune, blew harm : Cruel nettles stung her angles raw. Rueful, most vexed, that tender skin Should accept so fell a wound, He stamped and cracked stalks to the ground Which had caused his dear girl pain. Now he goes from his rightful road And, under honor, will depart; While she stands burning, venom-girt, In wait for sharper smart to fade.