Brother Hedgerow

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Sometimes
He is broad as thicket
Or enclave copse.
Sometimes
He is thin and sparse,
With but an eyebrow’s tuft
Skirting the field boundary.
Sometimes
He is lone bramble
Upon a flat plain.

But always,
Wherever he rests
He is tangle
And vegetal mess
Of thorn ramble
And nettle,
Dry stick and twine
Woven to nest
By birds
Who feel the home
In his charity.

If he had friend
In the human field
He’d call scarecrow
Brother,
For he too is silent
And watchful,
And made
with a bundle
Of dry stems
Plumping the body
Of his jacket.

But still he is beautiful
Though he is ragged:
For in April
He is delicate
With hawthorn
And blackthorn bloom.

And in June
His foxglove reach
Invites bees
To a hundred purple gullets.
And wild honeysuckle
Are his delicate hands
And the pale instruments
Of his fingertips.
And upon his brow
Are white elder crowns,
Sunward seeking
And scented.

In September
He is ripe and juicy
With the blood of elderberries
And the pert invitation
Of blackberries strung
Like necklaces,
Many and fruitful.
And crab apples,
Hard as stones
Grow gnarled
While sloes
And wild plums
Are succulent on every
Loaded bough
And branches’ reverent bow.

And always
At his feet
Are the rustling species,
Snuffling and foraging
The dry shadows:
The timid shrews,
The field mice twitching,
The hedgehog unfurled
And fearless
And the Badgers
Trotting pathways:

All these
His tender friends
And tenants
To the openness
Of his limbs,
Gathered snug
To his rosehip chest
And the leafy beneficence
Of his embrace,
Herbaceous and enveloping.

© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2015

3 thoughts on “Brother Hedgerow

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