Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Blue Briar

Blue Briar

In the time before dawn
in the fog's soft wrap
when the light is pale blue
as a ballerina's shoe,
the hands of my dream
still wet with  mist,

that's always when I see
the things that can't be.
I hide in a  dazzle
of star-white masked, 
in a moon beak, a peacock brow.
I make a shirt from blue briars,

nettles and feathers, slippers
of glass, a coach from a gourd.
The dark's alive as the past,
soft breath in my ear,
thrown over what's real.
Sight can't cut to my world,

only colored skirts slashed
to ribbons of grey
take the gypsy away,
put the changeling back
in sharp insinuating sand;
the  pain when my tail

split into legs 
nearly killed me;
that was nothing to
seeing you with her.

I jumped on the back
of the north wind.
I took off my nettles,
for feathers were warmer,
lighter than briar. I flew
over ice invisible, 

a dazzle of star-white.
For a night-blink I danced
for a sun's rush I laughed
in the sweet smell of fog,
in the last tangled thicket
of yesterday.

~February 2014

 posted for     real toads

Kerry's Wednesday Challenge: Creative Space
Toad-In-Chief Kerry O'Connor has given us, as she always does, a very absorbing challenge: to write of the space where we create. That might be simple, or it might be complex. Here I have tried to wrap up all the elements that make the 'space' where I write: my sleepless hours staring at the sky, the rural environment in which I live, history, myth and fairytale, and the emotional backdrop that often spurs a poem. Below is an old shot of my actual 'creative space,' my computer room.

Photographs copyright joyannjones 2014


  1. As a Gypsy differs from an accountant, you, Witch, differ from most mortals any time you pick up your pen. Who's to say that the world outside the imagination is the "real" one, just because that's the only one many people can see? Someone said that "all stories are true". I know what they meant.

  2. I make a shirt from blue briars... That is an iconic line all on its own!

    I love the 'hands of dreams' idea, knowing how often your dreams translate into poetry, and also the 'moon beak'... the hard K when I was expecting an 'm' changed my whole perception of that line. There is much here to please imagination - just an all round satisfying piece.

    1. Thanks, Kerry. Yet another challenge that had me sweating.

  3. ok, first, i love your might be a bit painful to wear, but....the tail split to form legs....i am just imagining more pain, but then to see them together...ouch...i may have some past trust issues with that...smiles....

  4. Love this .. nettles, briars, slippers of glass, slashed ribbons, sharp sand .. in spite of it all, I hear the gentle you.

    (just bought your new book, can't wait to read)

    1. Thanks so much Helen--hope you enjoy my part--I know you will love Shay's & MZ's.

  5. Cinderella; the mermaid's tale(tail); and a twice-spun dazzle of star-white, with feathers lighter than briar. Grimm made a home in your home when young, mayhaps... ~

    1. Yes, the Brothers Grimm, Andersen,too.All I missed in this potpourri was Sleeping Beauty. ;_) Thanks, M.

  6. You make language sing, and I second Kerry's observation: sharp shards - kaleidoscopic - of color and light pierce this poem in praise of seeing in the darkness.

    I would write in the middle of the night too, if I had my druthers, but the job I have keeps me a day person.

    P.S. Congrats on your new book with the other two Muses. It's on my short list.

    1. Thank you Mark. I had to be at work at 5 AM for the last few years of my working life, before that at 7, so I know what you mean. Many times, being sleepless and up at dawn now seems like a deeply satisfying luxury rather than a major pain. Very glad to see you posting with us at the Garden.

  7. Ooo...I write in a corner like this too...!! I love your space.

    So super-dreamlike Hedge...many layers of the magic that only the untouched unconscious wishes to gift to us.

    It's really neat that there're a lot of dream aspects being mentioned today...I just committed to recording my I'm reading an excellent dream book that was randomly handed to me by someone who didn't know that I wished to become more enlightened by my dreams.

    Any way...

    Ah-mazing work here, Hedge...I love the transformation and flow of the's smooth and inspiring.

    Thank you.

    1. I think recording our dreams is extremely fruitful, Hannah. I used to do so every morning, for years. Now I usually can remember them, but when I get one I feel is important, I do scribble it down. Thanks for reading.

  8. What a glorious write this is, Joy.......full of words and images that delight. The pain of the splitting tail - and the seeing of "you with her" goes right to the heart.

  9. Hey Joy-- isn't briar rose another version of sleeping beauty or her name? I think so, so you have that too. And in a way I think it much informs this as there is the tangle of sleep and dream and the past slipping by too quickly and the briars and tangles and nettles of defense. There is wonderful lyricism here in the rhyme and relatively short lines and in the sudden switches into what feels almost like dialogue. Of course I like the little mermaid bits and the terrible naturalism of the jealousy that then ends up spurring another transformation -- kind of like the opposite of Leda. Very cool and vivid . K.

    1. Part of comment lost which asked forgiveness for incoherence--on phone and beat. K

    2. Pps love ballerina shoe and hands of dream.

    3. K, you have the worst luck losing stuff here--I followed your comment just fine, though, and as always I appreciate you making the effort to leave your thoughts despite blogger's inability to deal with your technology. I forgot about Briar Rose, but yes, that is indeed a variant of Sleeping Beauty--so many princesses in difficulties back then, hard to keep them straight. Thanks for reading and for your kind words.

  10. What a marvelous, poetic description of the place you write. My office is a reflection of the mess inside my head.

  11. The insomniac's brooding hour here is the heath here where something is made of too much that is not enough -- the mind rages and the heart grieves, whadayagonna do? Between them this Ariel, this hedge-spirit of charming the blue out of briars. Her workspace in two dimensions is a study, though in the three and four dimensions the song work in it is an enchanted forest where tears and blood in the cauldron always manage to brew something like this up. A charm between yesterday and the future that in some small yet sufficient way ensouls both. Most of the magic in the world has fled, as has poetry; how fine to encounter this late-night brake where both run free.

    1. Thank you Brendan. The older I get, the more the wild is blowing through everything--perhaps its being unfettered at last from a long long life of working, or perhaps it's that impending transition from flesh to spirit getting an early start; either way, the magic is much more important than it ever was, and I'm glad if you saw a little reflected here. Appreciate your thoughts and your time as always, B.

  12. It is hard to pick my favourite lines as I love this poem so.

  13. I'm envious of you neat and organized writing space! I could almost feel the wind blow through my hair as you "jumped on the back
    of the north wind."

  14. The allusions here make my head spin (in a good way). Such an apt, elegant description of the way dreams work. If we are lucky enough to recall them, as you are.. Blue briar shirt is perfect. Thank you for this.

  15. "In the time before dawn
    in the fog's soft wrap
    when the light is pale blue"

    …and all lays silent. Such a perfect time to create. Love the colors and imagery your words paint.

  16. Replies
    1. Reproduction, I'm afraid--it looks a bit Art Deco when you're up close to it, but it's a made-in-china special. :C

  17. the hands of my dream
    still wet with mist,

    Really the whole first paragraph had me sighing and the whole poem is so you! You created a living breathing poetic YOU!

  18. "In the time before dawn
    in the fog's soft wrap"
    Gotta love a poet who can say things like "the fog's soft wrap"! Gorgeous.

  19. You've shown a glimpse of your creative space with a series of vivid images and rich comlpex use of language.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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