THE CLOUTIE TREE Madron Well Cornwall

She wakes, May day.
Checks her phone,
sees summer comes at last.
Leaves sleeping houses
Take the inland road,
through greening landscapes
strewn with granite quoit and capstone shadows –
black against the salmon clouds and brightening skies.
Bent backed trees, stripped naked by sea winds,
are poised in flight, unable to escape.
Hawthorn, blackthorn, buckthorn, whitethorn.

She hurries to the hallowed place.
That women’s place.
Looks left and right
then pushes through the buds of may
into that faery world still moist and dark
beneath the hawthorn’s shade.
She trips along the puddled path,
to reach the holy spring –
a murky pool half hidden in the grass.
Alone, she shudders.
Skeleton’s laugh
as winds rip through gnarled boughs.

She stoops, brushes violets, enchanter’s nightshade,
dabs her cheeks with morning dew.
Then ties her torn pink strip of T shirt
among the thorns and festooned twigs.
A selfie by the cloutie tree – her TikTok testament.
The spirits of this sacred grove appeased,
she leaves them to their stillness,
undisturbed by animal or bird.

Cate Anderson

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