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Rowan in the Hedgerow

Hawthorns hustle for light and air
Prick to keep me away.
Dense are they; hold light in flat leaves.
Tall and slim I need to be
To over-reach them.

I take early sun as it grows 
Stronger after long dark nights.
Foam flowers are mine 
Before the reeking scents of May
My neighbours stink the air with.
My finger leaves, slender, supple, 
Catch the slightest breeze.

My flowers fade by Hawthorns’ showy blooms,
And make the most of May
And strengthening sun
To swell and ripen, silently,
As June’s parade marches down the hedgerows.

I stay quiet, unnoticed in the crowd.
Then, now, in August 
As Hawthorn’s thirst is barely slaked
By long hot dry days, mostly,
I deck the air with vivid berries,
Blood-red, orange-clear,
Pure colours, strong, rich in emblem.

I endure, in ways wise and good, 
Against enchantment.
Pass your baby through my bole, I shall protect.
I bear a cross, a berry cross, a talisman
To peasants and wood folk.

The first woman of the woods, 
My consort rightly Ash, 
Not thronging Hawthorn.
My crown of berries food for winter birds,
For careful women, for faerie folk.


Christine Cooke 2010.  Written in Writing as a Wisdom Project, led by Catherine Gammon.

copyright © 2024 Christine Cooke
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