Thorn Bird by Stephen Kingsnorth

Stephen Kingsnorth | January 29th, 2022 | poetry | No Comments

Poet Bio

‘The thorn needs admiration too’

Is that where disadvantage lies?
The rose, so much, scent, symbol bloom,
essential being, triple named –
if changing label, still as sweet.
as scattered, English literature.

Laid in bed, thought nation’s jewel
species named – no mix of blood –
pruned, manured, nurtured hard,
stable yard and bucket, gloves,
standard, tea then hybridised.

But for that beauty, price is paid –
by we who would steal buttonhole –
the pricking thorn, on duty guard
trained sympathetic to the stem;
is that where reputation earned?

As when we collect hedgerow fruits,
but not to broadcast, as the flock,
thus ending seed, continued line,
it’s we scream bitter, bloodied hand,
bee sting splinter, life given up.

Thrust into an unchosen rôle,
hard pushed onto unwilling flesh,
forced home on crown above the stains,
no pleasure plaited in its warp,
soon known for very crown displayed.

Like the donkey, so abused,
who carried king unrecognised,
sharp skelf needles, royal red,
heels overhead in godly scalp,
thorn bird stabbed as the pelican.

Poet Bio

Stephen Kingsnorth, retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church, with Parkinson’s Disease, has had pieces published by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies, including Poetry Potion.
His blog is at
He is, like many, a nominee for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net this year.

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