Keeping a Besom by Tara Larkin

The besom should always be hung 
thistle side up, surrounded by hollyhocks,
wormwood, artemisias and black iris:
to celebrate the sex joy of the thatch and rod,
the white harmonies between male and female,
as in the giving rain and the power of thunder.
Keep close your besom to dispel
an encounter with a black bear
not bound by wolf bane and trouble, even in a dream.

Besoms of foxglove, snake leather and hawthorn
can out fly a swarm of Ayahuasca bats and
most hail storms, provided there is moonlight.
The best besoms are powered
by Mars, tin and memory.
Familiars along for the ride cradled to the heartbeat
or lungs are said to obtain a bird’s hollow bones,
breath eaten by wind while imaging the altitude.
Sanctity above, forests below, rivers like scorpions.

As with a fire drake, a besom needs a
considered husbandry. Never dally
by a still green pond in which dwell
snapping turtles; these are the incarnations
of the Page of Cups who would steal
your besom by splintering your Earth soul,
his cold hard jaw you must then bind
with a blue silk cord. Beware of such
crude ponds. And blessed be.

  1. michelle elvy
    June 30, 2010 at 3:18 am

    Well I never knew I needed one but I got to go get me a besom! This is so thick with rich images – poetic and fabled voices indeed. I love the way the image of the lovers entwined in the power of thunder is followed by ‘a black bear
    not bound by wolf bane and trouble, even in a dream’ – for some reason, that line is one of my favorites. Though it is rivaled by knowing that ‘besoms are powered
    by Mars, tin and memory.’ So lovely to finally get a chance to comment on your work, Tara. Your voices stay with me, and I will be back here for more, soon enough (traveling just now, that’s my excuse for being the absent head of this two-headed beast).

  2. June 30, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Hey, thanks!

  3. drwasy
    July 7, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    The garden comes alive here, and I love the olden feel of this, as if written hundreds of years ago. That second stanza — just wow. Printing this one out. Peace…

  4. Walter
    July 19, 2010 at 12:38 am

    I actually had to google besom, a word I have not encountered (wonder why?). Well, this is a magical broom ride through cosmic Sleepy Hollows and English Gardens. Awesome, then wrapping it as a relationship,the thatch and rod, and a knave warning(also had to look up “Page of Cups”). Wowza!!

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