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Princess of the Hedgerow


Princess of the Hedgerow
by John W. Sexton

An owl
a-freckle aflutter
a blackbird in each eye

a brandling worm
a bracelet worn
a beetle blue as sky

a blush
of red-leafed autumn
a voice of damson sweet

a bird’s nest nestled
in each ear
a birdsong so discrete

a dress of dew
a dress of snow
a dress of shining frost

a badger
half-a-moonface
his shadowed body lost

her hair is pinned
with thistles, her hair
is pinned with thorns

no money jangles
in her purse
only chinking stones

* * *

John W. Sexton lives in the Republic of Ireland and is the author of five poetry collections, the most recent being The Offspring of the Moon, which was published by Salmon Poetry in 2013. In 2007 he was awarded a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry. His poems are widely published and some have appeared in Danse Macbre, Dreams & Nightmares, The 2012 Dwarf Stars Anthology, Eye to the Telescope, Fur-Lined Ghettos, microcosms, The Mystic Nebula, The Pedestal Magazine, The 2012 Rhysling Anthology, Rose Red Review, Star*Line, Strange Horizons, Sugared Water and Ygdrasil.

Where do you get the ideas for your poems?

Somewhere in my mind is a throne of woven, living blackthorn; its seat so jagged that no one can sit upon it in comfort. To reach it one must enter a tight blackthorn thicket, where the throne is indistinguishable as a throne. Being in such a crowded environment it has no space of its own. Picking it out as a throne, in all the tangle of other branches, and then easing into it to sit down, is the only way in which one can position oneself in order to see the absence of sky, not even a glimpse of which pierces the thicket itself. This is where I go to get ideas, within that forest of archetypes inside my head. This answer is probably neither clear nor helpful, but seated upon the blackthorn throne I can now become birdsong – enigmatic and mysterious. The greenwood of metaphor within our minds is the conduit for all poetry; and as a poet I would identify myself as a Metaphoricist.

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