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Alison Jones: a poem



One year I made an oath 

to be more like a blackthorn tree,

standing strong, sustained in strife, 

making a spell-spoken poppet of myself 

to pierce past pain with night time thorns. 


I told my favourite tree I would endure everything.

Exhale – let the challenges change my shape 

into something tall, twisted, tangled, rooted

down in a damp lineage that can 

never forget the smack of the sea.


I did not know what it would be like to wait,

watching worlds begin on branches, 

the pulse and pain of bud burst, flowers forming

first to light lamps in dark days' dragged gloom,

each opening both beginning and denouement. 


I had not considered the working wisdom

of soft coiled caterpillars, creating themselves,

lackey, magpie, hairstreak, skin-shifting shapes;

or driven determination of song thrush and yellowhammer

binding mossy muddles into fine formed hideaways.


How can a human fathom the forbearance of tree time?

All sunlight sugar spun reaching up and out, 

yet down and under soft soil, between earth and air, 

an arrow's mist. A bright beacon waiting to burst beams

in gloom-pinned slumber, an offering of cold kindled light.

Alison Jones’ work has been widely published in journals such Poetry Ireland Review, Proletarian Poetry, The Interpreter’s House, The Green Parent Magazine and The Guardian. Her pamphlets, Heartwood (2018) and Omega (2020), were published by Indigo Dreams. She is working on a full collection.

1 comment

1 commentaire

Shelly Baril
Shelly Baril
23 mars

Absolutely beautiful! I'd love it in audio too. Breathtaking.

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