At 13 you lay with him on the grass
looking up at the trees’ cascade of saffron fire
as he tells you it is called Golden Chain
he turns and touches your blonde hair, smiling.
The flowers are sheeney
yellow mouths with extended tongues,
something else you cannot name yet.
How could you resist reaching
for the flaxen stalactites
pendant from the tree.
your body writhing in the night
learning what love is – reaching to the sky,
ripping flowers from the bough
Then the sleeplessness, the aching heart.
All parts of the common laburnum are poisonous – the bark, roots, leaves and especially the seed pods. They contain the alkaloid toxin cytisine. Consumption of this can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, frothing at the mouth, convulsions and even death through paralysis
About the Author: Anna Saunders is the author of Communion, (Wild Conversations Press), Struck, (Pindrop Press) Kissing the She Bear, (Wild Conversations Press), Burne Jones and the Fox (Indigo Dreams) and Ghosting for Beginners (Indigo Dreams, Spring 2018). Anna has had poems published in journals and anthologies, which include Ambit, The North, New Walk Magazine, Amaryllis, Iota, Caduceus, Envoi, The Wenlock Anthology, Eyeflash, and The Museum of Light. Anna is the CEO and founder of Cheltenham Poetry Festival. She has been described as ‘a poet who surely can do anything’ by The North and ‘a poet of quite remarkable gifts’ by Bernard O’Donoghue.
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Image Credit: Sämmtliche Giftgewächse Deutschlands Leipzig :F. Voight,1854. Courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library