Amazing how the tiniest thorn
can distract you–
that pulse point of pain
on the index finger
a sharp reminder
each time you pick up the pen,
the spoon, the book
of the briefest encounter
with a wineberry bush,
your hand snaking
into the undergrowth
to pluck the plumb berry.
And now you’ve dug
into the pad of your finger
with an old pin,
exposing the culprit
and teasing it out of the flesh.
You marvel how
such a sliver could cause
such aggravation,
till it lies
ridiculously insignificant
on the palm of your hand.


29 thoughts on “THORN

  1. aussiebirder

    It is amazing how things so small, even to the naked eye such as bacteria and virus can harm us and make our life so unpleasant, and often how difficult they are to remove or treat. The large things we can see we can steer clear of. Great verse Melissa as always I enjoy your pennings:-)

      1. Argus

        Well done … now you have a drooling dribbling bull terrier on your hands — and the only known cure is wineberry jam–sweet/tarts … 🙂

  2. Cynthia Jobin

    The pulse point of pain as a reminder, each time you pick up a pen, a spoon, etc…. it’s as if the tiny thorn sends a message: “remember….just remember me..” Lovely.

  3. Murtagh's Meadow

    Those berries are so bright. Great poem too. Unfortunately our wineberry bush died for some unknown reason, will have to try and find another one.

    1. Melissa Shaw-Smith Post author

      Wineberries are not native to the US either, but they’ve made themselves very at home in our area. I believe they originated in China, Japan, and Korea. So why not Ireland! Though they do like a lot of sun–so maybe the Irish climate may have had something to do with your bush’s failure to thrive.

  4. charissagrace

    oh how I loved this…particularly the choices you made regarding the ways the thorn proclaims its presence…

    just loved this.
    a woman who is thorn-riddled from birth

    1. Melissa Shaw-Smith Post author

      Charissa I hoped this one would speak to you, m’dear. Sometimes you just have to dig out that thorn, however much it hurts, rather than living with the pain.

  5. peakperspective

    Happened to me a thousand times yesterday as I wrestled with wild blackberry bushes and the beetles and bees who staked claim to the berries first. Not sure which source gave me more stings, the bees or the berries, but boy was it worth it.
    But I truly love how you described the insignificance of the thorns in the end. Your poetry has such elegance and craft, Melissa.

    1. Melissa Shaw-Smith Post author

      Thanks, Shelley. I’m a picker–black raspberries, mulberries, wineberries, wild blueberries–if it’s out there and free for the picking, I’m up to my waist in the berry bushes doing battle with bugs, thorns, poison ivy etc. It’s always worth it!

  6. writesalone

    No detail is too small. This poem is a great reminder of that. I often wonder if there is any insignificant things on this planet. Everything seems to matter. Great poem.

    1. Melissa Shaw-Smith Post author

      …or why we pay attention to some things and not others. Thank you for reading and commenting.


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