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Winter 2018/19

Bertha Rogers


She said she needed charcoal.
Wanted to be a great, grown-up artist.
But she was just a child, a foal.

Why, I wondered, she usually hid, child-mole,
only secure in her heart’s darkness.
She said she needed charcoal,

Burnt twigs, crafted to meet the goal
of a girl, so intent she grasps sticks in her fist.
She was only a child, an awkward foal.

So I handed her the brittle poles;
Gave over, while I wished
She would stay a child, fenced-in foal

She held the concept of art—knew it was her role.
She understood the risks, got the gist.
She said she needed charcoal.

Did she want fame or fame’s role;
artist, portrayer of wishes?
She said she really needed charcoal—
A child, her fingers stumbling like the legs of a foal.

BERTHA ROGERS has published her poems in literary magazines and anthologies and in several collections, among them Heart Turned Back (Salmon, Ireland) and the forthcoming Wild, Again (Salmon, Ireland). Her translation with illuminations of the riddle-poems from the Anglo-Saxon Exeter Book was scheduled to be published December 2018.



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