Gift of a Spear Thistle by Maria Sledmere

She picked for him
the folkloric stem of a common
spear thistle, magenta-headed
and bristling her fingers
as she held out the flower
to the midday sun,
which was a fair rarity
for the time of year.

In certain lights, it seemed quite lilac,
like something from a dollhouse
prickling as a nylon carpet
and so ecstatic, static
as he pressed it to his lips.

Emblem of Alba, he said,
the place I have left.

Really he had no time for perennials,
and she could only be
this strangely perpetual girl
with her plaid-blue dress
and her schoolgirl’s bunches.

At night sometimes
he looked into her Bardot eyes
and he saw an eternal summer,
a meadow where
the sun spills gold, and dog roses
glow in the hedgerows.

To leave the dream, he had
to prick his finger like Cinderella.

The thistle caused his skin to bleed,
as he lay in grassy banks of old,
still waiting for the gloam to come—
now in his silver, she her greenness and her gold—
they lay there, each alone.


Maria Sledmere
Maria Sledmere is from Maybole, Ayrshire, and currently studies MLitt Modernities at the University of Glasgow. Along with a developing interest in ecopoetics forged from a surrealist bout of rural nostalgia, she likes to study technology, hauntology, memory and dailyness in relation to modernist (and sometimes Romantic) literature. Former president of the Glasgow University Creative Writing Society, she is keen on collaborative, multimedia writing projects as well as personal endeavours, having written an assortment of stories, poems and half-baked novels, in addition to editing and compiling several flash fiction anthologies. Maria blogs about everything from Derrida to Lana Del Rey, from poetry to dream-pop and digital aesthetics, over at


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