“When My Wife is a Hazel Tree” by Rosamund Taylor

she holds her own in the bramble hedge
though jagged-edged, bowed by wind.
She thrives on borders
where streams split the hills;
she stands as a sentry between fields.
In her, small birds nest – goldcrests,
dunnocks. Badgers burrow in her roots.
Her shoots escort me on cold night walks,
protect me from red-eyed pigs
or ghosts straddling my shoulders.
I consume her by handfuls,
easing open her shells.
As I sleep, I hear leaves move.
I fear for her – she grows untended,
is vulnerable to strimmers and billhooks.
She spends her winters glowing with cold.

—–

Rosamund Taylor won the Mairtín Crawford Award at the Belfast Book Festival in 2017. Widely published, her work has appeared in anthologies such as Eyewear Press’s The Best New British and Irish Poets 2018 and Multiverse – an International Anthology of Science Fiction Poetry. Her poetry has also appeared in journals such as Magma, Agenda, Orbis, Banshee, The Stony Thursday Book and Poetry Ireland Review, and her poem Detour (Leaving Edinburgh) was nominated for a Forward Prize for best single poem. She lives in Dublin with her wife.