Binding with Briars

I bind you with a hedge of spiteful briars
from the ensorcelled heart of a midnight forest,
a rose hidden from men’s desires

for a hundred years
incanted in a white-hot rage
of Beltaine blossom on a thorny cage.

Young men will come to press their suit;
I’ll pluck and spear their ripened fruit,
stick them fast until they perish.

Prick of needle or prick of thorn,
for faeries, what’s the difference
in a spell to steal a kiss from man or prince.

Kim M. Russell, 17th April 2018

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My response to The Poetry School NaPoWriMo prompt for Day Day 17: Spells, Charms and Hexes

Ali says that there’s a close link between the poem and the spell: the belief in the power of words used exactly, the entwining of sound and meaning, the importance of rhythm and timing. And the oldest surviving poems are often charms, prayers and rituals. He tells us that, among the most famous (in English) of these are the 12 surviving Anglo Saxon metrical charms, which have been translated by, among many others, poets such as Sarah Westcott and Richard Osmond.

He has given us two example poems: ‘Charm for Delayed Birth’, in both Old and modern English, and one which is a little more modern: Muriel Rukeyser’s 1947 poem ‘A Charm for Cantinflas’

Ali would like us to write poems that can be any kind of spell, but should be spells themselves – no poems about spells.

I’ve rewritten a poem I wrote last year for one of Kerry’s weekend mini challenges, so I’m linking this version to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Tuesday Platform. The title is taken from the final line of the poem ‘The Garden of Love’ by William Blake.

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34 thoughts on “Binding with Briars

  1. rich, full, provocative, evocative – and within so few words – carries the potency of the message – this is like a deftly hand-woven tapestry – the medieval ones, – silk-thread spinning!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love it, Kim. I like fairies, that’s the British and Manx in me. On the way to the South of Isle of Man there is a pretty little fairy garden, the road has to bend it’s way around it. I didn’t see any thorns. A lot of travelers left notes for the fairies. I’d loved to have read a few, to learn what a person should write to the fairy.
    I didn’t do my reading for NaPoWriMo Day 17. I hope I can remember to do so in May for this one about spells.
    ..

    Liked by 1 person

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