Don’t you love it when you find out one of your talented friends has another hidden talent you never even knew about? This was the case a few months ago when Lee Murray showed me a watercolor painting she’d just done. I think she excused it as she was ‘just learning.’ I loved it. Her ‘just learning’ stage is gorgeous. I told her I could see a poem there, hidden among her expressive baby faces. She called my bluff. “Okay, write that!”

So I did. The painting is Babes in the Briars and the poem I called “Clinging to the Branch.” Lee graciously let me share her image alongside the poem it inspired. Both of which appeared together in the April edition of the HWA Newsletter last month. We have another ekphrastic collaboration out in this month’s newsletter I will share later.

Babes in the Briars by Lee Murray

Clinging to the Branch

Clinging to the branch
shriveled infants cry loudly
seeking lost travelers.

Fragile and bitter
for the life they are denied…
they wish to end ours.

Softhearted mothers
ache for their own lost children
and wander away.

The forest folk know.
They stuff up their ears with rags
and keep their eyes down.

Empty, wailing husks
baby souls snagged on the thorns—
half formed and twisted.

Wanderers beware
of crying babes in the briars
clinging to the branch.

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is an American poet, author, and publisher with over 20 years of experience in newspaper journalism. She is a Bram Stoker Awards® Finalist and HWA Mentor of the Year for 2020. She co-publishes Space and Time, a publication dedicated to fantasy, horror and science fiction since 1966. Join the community at spaceandtime.net
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  1. Marge Simon says:

    Good one! Both you and Lee! Hope y’all place them together.

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