poetry and prose about place

haws and sharps

with 5 comments

As we trim our roads at our cabin, we sometimes get into arguments over what shrubs should stay and what should go. Most decisions are easy: mountain birch and willow are numerous on the property and will grow back; oak and maple are always kept because of their beauty and relative scarcity; alders disappear without the slightest consideration. However, whether to keep the hawthorn (Cretaegus) or let it grow, always takes some wrangling.



The Hawthorn is a woody shrub or bush with sharp thorns, growing in thickets and along rivers, lakes and coastal areas.  Hawthorn is also called Red Haw. The red, fleshy fruit is used to make tea, jelly or jam.



I think the shrub should be kept just for its beauty. Who could resist those bright red haws?



My husband wants it gone. The thorns are long and sharp enough to pierce an ATV tire or scratch a truck.



Who wins the argument? Beauty always prevails. Even those thorns have their own, terrible, loveliness.



Hawthorn (Cretaegus spp.)


each fall, the hawthorn bleeds

with berries, impales

with thorns


berries are difficult to gather

easier to flood, with red



to strip the bush of every drop

Cretaegus draws

so choose –


ignore the feast, or risk

a bleed to pick a berry

collude with birds


see how waxwings hover

twig to twig, manoeuvre

in the thorns


haws, of course, not wasted –

what red the thrushes leave

will rot


nourish another season



poem from within easy reach (Chapel Street Editions, 2016) –

one poem of many to celebrate the edible wild …

to order a copy of the book, contact Chapel Street Editions


All my best,


Written by jane tims

October 1, 2018 at 11:26 am

5 Responses

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  1. Did you ever make jam with the berries? I sure enjoy your articles

    Liked by 1 person

    Glenna Porter

    October 16, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    • Hi. I helped my mom make haw jam. There are enough on our trees this year to try. I think I’ll pick some next time we go to cabin. Will let you know how it turns out.


      jane tims

      October 17, 2018 at 10:40 pm

  2. I’m so glad that beauty wins! I’m sure the birds are glad, too. Your poem is wonderful, capturing the feel of nature with its risks and rewards.

    Liked by 1 person


    October 1, 2018 at 11:41 am

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