Paige Poe is another poet whose work I always like to feature on the blog. It’s possible I should have posted this poem last weekend, but ah well. Hindsight.
I especially like the way Poe hints at the deeper truths about the nature of human struggle through the more apparent narrative rooted in childhood memory. When I tell my students that poetry is often grounded in visceral experience, that we find the universal in the particular, this is what I’m talking about.
The Blackberry Bush In my Childhood Backyard
between the rosemary
and sage, it grappled
for a patch of earth and sun,
climbing up the fence,
for the blue ceiling.
it pushed plants aside,
desperate for more space,
more air, more life.
my mother planted it
with dreams of purple cobbler,
forgetting that thorns and vines
do not befriend gentler greens.
as the heat softened into fall,
after the last juicy fruit
disappeared into a thief’s hungry beak,
my father armed himself with shears
and did battle with the bush
until his scythe reduced
the bramble to a stump.
but in the spring,
it rose again, messiah-like,
unraveling green, thorny tendrils,
opening its white, lacy blooms.
never before had berries tasted sweeter,
a summer pleasure
we devoured with purple mouths.
still, every fall my father cut it down,
and every spring it rose from the dead.
watching this cycle, i promised myself
to grow skyward, and bear fruit
even as the world chops me down.
i will consume my struggle.
Paige Poe is a queer poet, wordsmith, and movement teacher based out of Houston. She graduated from Texas Christian University in 2018 with a degree in theatre and English, and her work has been published in Vamp Cat Magazine, eleven40seven, Texas’ Best Emerging Poets of 2017, and Brave Voices Magazine. You can find her online at paigegpoe.com and on Instagram as paige_outofmybook.