In Praise of Hedges by Kerry Darbishire



Kerry Darbishire, songwriter and poet, grew up in the Lake District where she continues to live, find inspiration and write in a wild area of Cumbria. Her poems have appeared widely in anthologies and magazines and have won or been listed in several competitions, including the Bridport shortlist 2017, and the 2018 PBS Mslexia Poetry Competition. Her first poetry collection, A Lift of Wings, was published in 2014 by Indigo Dreams. A biography, Kay’s Ark, the story of her mother, was published in 2016 by Handstand Press. Her second poetry collection, Sweet on my Tongue, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2018 and is a finalist in the Cumbria Culture Awards 2019. Kerry co-edited the new Handstand Press Cumbrian Poetry Anthology, This Place I know, and is currently working on a pamphlet and a new full collection.









In Praise of Hedges


Good bones grown to last and burn long into autumn nights:

             ancestors         protectors       winter larders

                                   raided by axe, storm and hailing gnaw.



Do we take them for granted            not notice how

                 by late spring these dishevelled umber skeletons

                                                          become rulers and glorious?



Have we forgotten a father’s track still warm in his before

                    spelled belonging      hefted lads laying blackthorn 

                                 hazel and haw   to keep lambs in and cool?



Have we mislaid the scent of rain         company of leaves

          shelter after school         the labouring on for weeks up the fields              

                                                                                            then back



to pleach and mend the gaps            the eager tap-echo-tap rhythm

      drumming the valley     a call to prayer      palls of incense

                                      signalling burning brash      sweat of intakes    



starlings turning February skies             jet

               then silver                        with the promise

                                                                                of sun on young necks? 



Can you recall the sound of bees        each bird-song        held                                                                            

                    in arms of blossom 

                                                           snowing the ground?




Kerry Darbishire