HEDGEPOETRY and HEDGEWILD :: the illustrated ‘Sometimes a Wild God’ book perks…

Rima’s art needs little introduction for many of our supporters – it’s a phenomenon of indescribable wonder, to me, and to many of you out there too. Wherever we go, people tell us such powerful stories about how it’s affected them. And we’re blessed in this house to have many of her works around us, such as Come Away O Human Child From A World More Full Of Weeping Than You Can Understand and Snow Flight Under the Seasky and Baba Yaga, for starters.

Rima Staines

But you might not know my work. It’s found a few readers here and there, but I’ve never made a living from it. Actually, come to think of it, I’m not sure if I’ve ever made any money directly from it at all, but that’s not the point! I write, because I have to, because it seems to be part of some pact between my soul, my spirit and this strange, beautiful world. Sometimes I forget, but – these days – I mostly remember to let the words do their work and something essential is maintained or restored and all is well.

The piece of work that’s found the largest readership is a poem called Sometimes a Wild God. It’s appeared in print in a few places – one of the Dark Mountain books, the Earth First! Journal (in a slightly different form), a band in the USA said that they wanted to use it for their liner notes – and it’s inspired a few other artworks along the way, from hand-made chapbooks to tattoos to photographs to paintings. It does something to people, it seems. There’s some words about it here.

Rima and I have been talking for a few years about collaborating to put out an edition of it with her images and my words, but it’s taken this long to have something urgent enough to cut through the thousand other things and make us do it. Seeing as Hedgespoken is – in one of its roles – a stage for us to do our collaborative work on, it seemed fitting to make this edition one of the rewards for our funders. And it seems that a few of you like the idea – we’re really looking forward to seeing how this (our first poetry-image collaboration, believe it or not!) turns out. As with almost all our printed work (such as The Hermitage calendar) we’ll be using the fantastic Footprint Workers’ Co-op in Leeds, who use only the soundest materials and techniques and are a joy to work with. We’ve been practising our layout skills for a few years, in preparation for the time when we’d start producing things like this together and, given that Rima’s work’s going to be featuring, I think it’s safe to say that it’ll be an object to treasure…

The Hedgepoetry perk gets you one of these beauties, for £35.

For £75, you get the Hedgewild perk – an edition that’s been signed by us and has a personal thank you from us in it. That’s a lot of money for a thank you note, but it’s really just a way of saying an extra thanks for donating!

Anyway, enough about perks and money and all that. Switch off the crowdfunding brain for a moment and read this poem.

Sometimes a Wild God

by Tom Hirons


Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice makes vinegar from wine.

When the wild god arrives at the door,
You will probably fear him.
He reminds you of something dark
That you might have dreamt,
Or the secret you do not wish to be shared.

He will not ring the doorbell;
Instead he scrapes with his fingers
Leaving blood on the paintwork,
Though primroses grow
In circles round his feet.

You do not want to let him in.
You are very busy.
It is late, or early, and besides…
You cannot look at him straight
Because he makes you want to cry.

The dog barks.
The wild god smiles,
Holds out his hand.
The dog licks his wounds
And leads him inside.

The wild god stands in your kitchen.
Ivy is taking over your sideboard;
Mistletoe has moved into the lampshades
And wrens have begun to sing
An old song in the mouth of your kettle.

‘I haven’t much,’ you say
And give him the worst of your food.
He sits at the table, bleeding.
He coughs up foxes.
There are otters in his eyes.

When your wife calls down,
You close the door and
Tell her it’s fine.
You will not let her see
The strange guest at your table.

The wild god asks for whiskey
And you pour a glass for him,
Then a glass for yourself.
Three snakes are beginning to nest
In your voicebox. You cough.

Oh, limitless space.
Oh, eternal mystery.
Oh, endless cycles of death and birth.
Oh, miracle of life.
Oh, the wondrous dance of it all.

You cough again,
Expectorate the snakes and
Water down the whiskey,
Wondering how you got so old
And where your passion went.

The wild god reaches into a bag
Made of moles and nightingale-skin.
He pulls out a two-reeded pipe,
Raises an eyebrow
And all the birds begin to sing.

The fox leaps into your eyes.
Otters rush from the darkness.
The snakes pour through your body.
Your dog howls and upstairs
Your wife both exults and weeps at once.

The wild god dances with your dog.
You dance with the sparrows.
A white stag pulls up a stool
And bellows hymns to enchantments.
A pelican leaps from chair to chair.

In the distance, warriors pour from their tombs.
Ancient gold grows like grass in the fields.
Everyone dreams the words to long-forgotten songs.
The hills echo and the grey stones ring
With laughter and madness and pain.

In the middle of the dance,
The house takes off from the ground.
Clouds climb through the windows;
Lightning pounds its fists on the table.
The moon leans in through the window.

The wild god points to your side.
You are bleeding heavily.
You have been bleeding for a long time,
Possibly since you were born.
There is a bear in the wound.

‘Why did you leave me to die?’
Asks the wild god and you say:
‘I was busy surviving.
The shops were all closed;
I didn’t know how. I’m sorry.’

Listen to them:

The fox in your neck and
The snakes in your arms and
The wren and the sparrow and the deer…
The great un-nameable beasts
In your liver and your kidneys and your heart…

There is a symphony of howling.
A cacophony of dissent.
The wild god nods his head and
You wake on the floor holding a knife,
A bottle and a handful of black fur.

Your dog is asleep on the table.
Your wife is stirring, far above.
Your cheeks are wet with tears;
Your mouth aches from laughter or shouting.
A black bear is sitting by the fire.

Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice makes vinegar from wine
And brings the dead to life.

The Sorcerer

Remember, that’s your Hedgepoetry (£35) and Hedgewild (£75) perks. You can click on the words to donate and order the perks right now, should you so choose…

I think they’ll be something special. I hope you agree.

PS Remember to subscribe to this blog (hedgespoken.wordpress.com) to keep up-to-date with what we’re doing, and please like the facebook page and follow us on twitter to keep involved in the full frenzy of the fray! And don’t forget, you can support our project by donating or sharing from the Hedgespoken Crowdfunding page too.

Sometimes a Wild God has a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license, which means you can share it for non-commercial purposes, so long as I’m attributed correctly as the author and no changes are made and the same license applies to your share. Otherwise I’ll send round the heavies…

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