I picked a bunch of my favourite thorns
and planted them upon my porch.
When I returned they’d taken root
and taken over the ground floor.
When the wind comes clambering
among the spines where my life had been,
a hiss like sea rocks wet with waves
finds my ear and flutters in.
“It’s sinister,” they say to me,
“you’ve laid a trap quite carelessly
for anybody visiting”
and no one ever visits me.
I can’t help they’ve overgrown
below my room where I lay alone.
Inching while my back was turned,
looming over my book of poems.
I try to turn it in my mind
but there’s no fix that I can find.
It seems designed to break my will
and draw my blood like letting wine.
Often I feel I must escape
and wash aside my bedroom drapes
and though it may be far beneath
I fall to earth that’s soft and safe.
And off I walk without a sound
through a field where clouds have run aground
and I’m at peace til I perceive
the hawthorn hedge which marks its bounds.
It’s got so bad that I can’t eat,
the gnawing leaves me feeling weak
for miles of tangles lie between
the kitchen and my scarred feet.
I drew out my final straw
and fell upon a fearful thought
to tame the tyrant totally
and nourish it: my last resort.
Spades of soft soil from the lawn,
pails of pond I bailed and poured
to hide the writhing room of briar
a secret buried and forgot.
While I in bed uneasy lay
I sank into this sad mistake.
The mass will rise through my last night
and take my life before I wake.
Perhaps this was the fate concerned
with those who take up thorns unearned
and grief ran quick behind my eyes
a lesson brief and gone unlearned.
Then I awoke as roses breathed
their gentle petals onto me
revealing with a second’s scent
their selves to be born underneath.
And between the flowers white and red
swung berries black as ore of lead.
I fell upon them like a hammer
on a bell – my hunger fed.
Then guests appeared like flocking grouse
flushed from the moor by beating shouts
though no hounds drove them to my door.
They came instead to see my house.
And none complain now of my thorns,
in fact, they couldn’t laud them more.
I’ve told how fruits and flowers form
and showed them all what my thorns are for.