Blessing at Arms’ Length 
a setting-down ritual

I can’t begin to speak a blessing any more
than I can reach a coat hanger
from my chair.

I only know how to say come in, 

welcome, dear
Brigantia, into the home
of my hand, my heart, my hesitation.

In my garden, underwheel,
a puddle tells in a squelch
how typical feet might feel
falling into her; water on the table
that my father wipes away before we eat;
a drain at the end of a ramp
where they go to be cleaned, begin again.

In its sky, three sisters
are all the sun, each exalted one
light, heat and harvest;
birds, their beaks hammering on
the anvils of the branches,

drum, drill, then fill to the brim.

I can bless them,

      I can bless them,
              I can bless them.



Madelyn Burnhope is a disabled writer and Irish-focused Pagan based in Atherstone, North Warwickshire. Her poetry has appeared widely in journals and anthologies in print and online, most recently ‘Stairs & Whispers – D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back’ (2017, eds. Sandra Alland, Khairani Barokka and Daniel Sluman). Her debut collection was ‘Species’ (2014, Nine Arches Press).