Corn Dolly

I am the last of harvest,

limbs blonded brittle

by the late late sun.

I am hollow-boned

at All Hallows; reedy,


yellow-piped, stick-arms

flung cruciform open

in an embrace of gold.

I am stiff-skirted, wide-

legged, fecund and


pregnant with home-

spun magic. I am

a threshing of seasons,

the safeguarding of

plenty preserved in


my belly. I am all

the reaper’s rewards,

cut from the final

sheaf, bundled and

twisted into promise.



This poem means a lot to me. It was the first I wrote after emerging from a period of non-creativity, in September 2016, so it seems entirely apt that a piece of writing about ‘plenty’ and productivity should have become my most-published! It first appeared in a Three Drops from a Cauldron anthology that same year, and was published again in 2018 at the Words for the Wild website, going on to be anthologised several times more in various books. Most recently, ‘Corn Dolly’ was included in my 2023 V. Press pamphlet (m)othersongs, where it is the first poem.


© Sarah Doyle