Petra Vergunst: Three poems

Bride’s Prayer

Do not expect saplings beneath the mother oak
by saying your bedtime prayers
for the tree may remain barren.
Go to the well tonight, fill your empty pail
and wash yourself.
Let cool water draw tracery on your skin
expose your body to the freckled sky.
Tomorrow this water will be carried to the font
the priest will repeat this ritual.
But before then, at the well in the woods,
pray the bride’s prayer.


Footsteps, spades dig
marks many shapes
ivy path finding
unwalked riverbanks

Impenetrable, foliage expand
cascades from the trunk
trees prey
the net tightens

At its fingertips
ink-pinned seed heads
pen new territory


Do not tie your tunic around the skin of the beach
but tighten the cloth near the mouth of a river
where you can drink from waterfall and well
eat fruits from the sea

Follow the salmon upstream
make a redd, spawn
let them incise crosses
reverse their symbol gospels

Seafarers may bring new gospels
but he who flees on the waves
shall find his sinking boat
tugged back to shore

Copyright © Petra Vergunst 2016

Petra Vergunst is an Aberdeen-based community artist and poet currently working on Church, Chapel, Well, a pilgrimage into medieval life and religion in Scotland.


About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
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