Making Inroads, Two Voices

Helen Moore


… and thou Waybroad, mother of herbs / open to the east, mighty within / over you chariots creaked / queens have ridden over you / brides have moaned over you / over you bulls gnashed their teeth / all these you did withstand and resist / so may you withstand poison and infection / and the foe who fares through the land. – from ‘The Nine Herbs Charm’ (Anglo-Saxon)



King of the roadway, I am

ubiquitous – a black crust

baked in the devil’s kitchen.

Nowhere to hide, I conceal

cracks, seams, corral everything

within my smooth arena –

endless empire, S.  U.  V.



The Sun bubbles up the lane

& I am poised, a strong bid

for liberty – healing bud

measuring her craft.  So what

if my quilted tips dip in

molten bitumen?  Plantain’s

way is broad, treats many ills.



Note to poem: Plantain, Plantago lanceolata, is a medicinal plant known to Anglo-Saxons as Waybroad.  S. U. V. stands for Sports Utility Vehicle.


Helen Moore is an acclaimed ecopoet based in Scotland. In May 2018 she gave the INSPIRE lecture at the Hay Book Festival, based on her winning essay ‘Is love the answer? Personal and planetary wellbeing through the lens of poetry.’ Helen’s third poetry collection, The Mother Country, exploring personal, social and ecological disinheritance, is due in 2019.  FFI:

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