the only plant
named after the month
in which it blooms – Hawthorn.
Spreading from Glastonbury Staff,
fast as a Redwing, tenacious
like gossip – its flowers,
with their five white petals
cupped for a fairy, are lunch
for a dormouse. Its leaves
are Bread and Cheese, an all-day
munch for moth larvae. Haw –
old word for hedge;
its thorn makes medicine
for its own pricking.
Barring it from our house,
Granny said it brings Death.
In that, lies this – the compound
that gives off its scent is also released
from rotting flesh.
“Shed not a clout ’til May is out “-
though with the calendar alteration
some time back, she can’t have been sure
what she meant. And we, in our youth,
on unseasonable April afternoons
would sunbathe right under her nose.
Nadia Kingsley runs Fair Acre Press in Shropshire, England.
She has project managed and written poetry in the performance
e-x-p-a-n-d-i-n-g: the history of the Universe in 45 minutes
which involves another poet, a musician and an astrophysicist
in a mobile planetarium dome.
This poem is part of an ongoing collaboration with a Devon herbalist