Startling Poetry: The Truth of Briars

The Truth of Briars by Jane Yolen

. . . the truth of briars she had to have run through . . .”
Adrienne Rich

Here is what I know about briars:

They are democratic, all who run through them
are equally scratched, even the clothed ones,
even the ones well-suited in fur.

They are sympathetic, for they smile
deep into the skin, finding blood
more moving than tears.

They are necrotic, dealing death
in small doses, like an unfriendly doctor,
or a vampire, already satiated with blood.

They are neurotic, refusing
like a toddler at the table
to eat anything green.

The truth about briars is both simple
and complex, they hold fast
till a tear or tears make them let go,
like the prince, like me, like you.

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