Hawthorns have inspired me both to write about them and to include them in my art work.
And now the hawthorn flowers are here again and working their magic as I begin once again to write and draw about them. I’m currently working on a painting of a thorn tree and a hare. There is one particular place on the road above the lane where this hare appears, completely unperturbed by a human and a dog being quite close by. When the hare is ready he disappears through the hedge for a while but stops at different points on his journey across the fields as though making sure he has been seen.
The hawthorn is very beautiful to look at,creating as it does an intricate white lace covering to the hedgerow. At this stage the blossom has quite an attractive scent but in Medieval times it was associated with the plague and it has been found that the chemical in the scent is one found in decaying animal tissue.
www.woodlandtrust.org.uk is a good source of information.
A while back I made some drawings of the thorn trees at the Beaghmore stone circles. To me there was a beautiful balance between the stones, the hawthorns and the daisies lighting the way around the circles.
I wrote the poem below a couple of years ago and it was published in November 2017 in A New Ulster’s ‘The Hidden and the Divine: Female voices in Ireland’.
Honed and purified in the fires of Beltaine
the hawthorn blossom spreads its white light,
igniting the summer start.
While, deep inside, hidden
behind a thousand daggers and green leaf shields,
the sidh, whisper
of ancient stories and old feuds.
the scent, at first, seductive,
a hint of unease,
a reminder of mortality as our ancestors knew
Soon the petals will tinge with rose,
fading and falling to the ground,
white ash from a fire.
© Jenny Methven