Poetry Shelf Occasional Poems: Anne Kennedy’s ‘The Slumber Pin’

The Slumber Pin

The Hawthorn bought at the garden supermarket
on an ordinary day. Commoner of the Woods
it said on the label. Don’t you love that, commoner?
Against the tall fence it grew all beautiful.
The white blossoms ate the young leaves,
the exquisite berries ate the autumn air.
The internet said it would bring good things,
love and babies in the warm spring. It would grow
into a hedge and under the hedge would be
the entrance to the fairy world. Don’t you love
the mythology? Like if you pricked your finger
on a Hawthorn spike you’d fall into a deep sleep
and wake up in a new place. So yeah, never
do that. And it was bad luck to harm a Hawthorn,
so never do that either, don’t harm the common tree.
You’re a commoner and proud of it, you love your
mythology and all that. And under the hedge
are settler ghosts who came on the ship because
why wouldn’t you? Under the hedge they
set up shop because why wouldn’t you.
In the end you do prick your finger, in fact
you’d already pricked your finger, you had
previously pricked your finger
on why we are here. 

Anne Kennedy

Anne Kennedy is an Auckland poet, novelist, script consultant and teacher. Recent books are The Sea Walks into a Wall (AUP) and The Ice Shelf (VUP). Awards include the 2021 Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement and the Montana NZ Book Award for Poetry. Anne has taught creative writing at the University of Hawai`i and Manukau Institute of Technology. Remember Me, an anthology of NZ poems to learn by heart, edited by Anne, is forthcoming from AUP in 2023.

1 thought on “Poetry Shelf Occasional Poems: Anne Kennedy’s ‘The Slumber Pin’

  1. Jean Sims

    I really liked this poem, it took me back to the old Hawthorn hedges at home, the sleepy hot days when I played beside them, then the little reminder, the sharpness.



Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s