- Protecting the Buds*
It was time so we bound up the young apple trees looping the fine black thread from twig to angled twig netting them into themselves. A low grey day with winter, half turning, waiting on spring toiling after. The moist air doused thought, the bullfinches sat in the thorn hedge waiting. We moved round the four trees making the trap, which was only defence, like an incantation. We knew that the snare was weak and not comprehensive, that it left the trees webbed-in, their downy grey buds still presenting— We did what we could. The pillagers sat impassive with their salmon-chests and their black caps and their armoured beaks. Their beauty and their fierce intention. A helplessness. It was like watching children, their own bright, fatal thoughts all ranged about them. It could not be stopped.
Kerry Hardie is the author of several books of poetry, including In Sickness, A Furious Place, Cry for the Hot Belly and The Sky Didn’t Fall. Her novels include A Winter Marriage and The Bird Woman, scheduled for publication in 2005. She received the Patrick Kavanagh Award and The Suspended Sentence Award in 2004, the Hennessy Award for Poetry in 1998, and the National Poetry Prize in 1996, among many other honors.