Featured Poem • October 2015

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Hedgerow Benediction

 

Sandi Leibowitz

 
 

Well met by moonlight, my lady. I meet you gaze for gaze, not fear-frozen like a mortal hare. Does this form suit you better? Maiden-self in grass-green skirts, skin and hair moon-silver —do you believe me goddess now? You like your miracles served up in sapphires and samite, prefer your mythic apples gilded, not knobby like this red, half-nibbled pippin. City-child, how you dash and fret, eyes ever on streets or stars instead of the humming world at your feet. Even with ears diminutive as those, learn to listen. Take from me now a slower phase, a lower gaze, notice the blessing of small gifts: fritillaries fringing the hedge, the startled eyes of speedwell amid wind-fingered stalks, epic battles of the beetles, dormice fattening on blackberries and watching over all from eve to eve, even as the daytime creatures sleep, the many faces of Mother Moon. When you wake tomorrow, daughter, darting from dreams like a fox from the brush, stop, touch the moonstone you wear on your finger and think on me. Know there are many kinds of fertility I might grant— a citadel built, a babe, a song woven from summer grasses, or just one perfect hour among the bees.

 

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASandi Leibowitz is a school librarian, classical singer and writer of speculative fiction and poetry. Her work appears in Liminality, Stone Telling, Inkscrawl, Strange Horizons, Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year 5 and other magazines and anthologies. A native New Yorker, she has ridden in a hot-air balloon over the Rio Grande, traveled in the footsteps of medieval pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela and visited with Arthur in Avalon.

Sandi has this to say about “Hedgerow Benediction”: “Last summer, I traveled to southern England. This was a trip I’d planned for many years, looking forward to visiting many sites important to mythic and pagan iconography. When I reached Glastonbury Tor, I found myself physically unable to climb the steep, unrailed steps. I insisted my friend, who didn’t care about the literary associations but would enjoy seeing the tower, go without me. I sat below, feeling rather sorry for myself. But I was looking out over a beautiful hilly meadow on a beautiful day and eventually embraced the moment, staring at clouds and wind in the grass and other happy things. I’m not generally a very Zen person but I did well here. When I came home, I tried to write a poem about the pagan hare-images found in many southern churches—but this poem asked to be written instead. The voice of the goddess comes from a woman who accosted me on the Glastonbury streets. She grabbed my hand and said, ‘My lady, I see that you have suffered much . . .’ and proceeded to tell my fortune.”

 

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