#writeprompt – Stark

It’s as if the sky, clenching its strong hands
cannot contain the fluidity of
the sun: breeching and renting, pouring down
in crepuscular beams, the light which gave birth
to all. Standing sentinel, a stark elder,
limbs aloft in supplication declared
too late; a totem of all’s mortality.
life and death, in conflict
life and death, in congruity
life and death, in circular harmony.

Written for Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo #writeprompt – “Stark”.

When you write a poem, what do you call it? Being new to it, it seems as hard as naming a child, though I guess a poem won’t grow up to hate you for it. At least with a painting, especially if it’s meaning is self-evident, you can declare it “untitled”.

I’ve assumed the tree in the foreground to be an elder but, being denuded, it’s identity isn’t clear, though they are common enough in English country hedgerows and boundaries. I like the name “Elder”, though I don’t think it comes from the same meaning as old one, it gives this impression.

Did you know that if you take anything from the elder you should sing to Mother Elder first? It’s a magical tree and many things can be taken from it: blossoms and berries, of course, both to make cordials and wines; the stems of its branches and twigs have a pith core which is easily removed. This dry, sponge-like pith makes good tinder and the hollowed stems make whistles and flutes. Or you can use the tube to blow gently over the pith tinder to encourage a flame. Or, if the tube calibre is right, you could shoot elderberries at each other, I imagine. Whatever rocks your boat.


  1. Love the poem… it does capture the cyclinal nature of Nature.
    Loved the folklore too. I seem to recall that burning elder wood allows you to see Old Nick, whilst planting elder by the house is supposed to keep him away.

    Liked by 1 person

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