Tree at river embankment

Rhiannon’s Throne

By Charlotte Hussey

It stands primly at the pond’s edge,

fashioned from the salvaged boards

of a damaged canoe. Its back

rises up so high that any pair

of sagging shoulders, any spine,

if leaned against it, might straighten

like those of some proud queen;

stripped of all adornment,

its seat waits empty, bluish with shadow.


 Its wavy grains, opened by the seas,

suggest stretch marks, or muscles

pulled thin and apart in agony.

Rocks, sands have scraped gashes,

as did the bony claws that reached

through the blackthorn hedge

to steal the just born Pryderi

from Rhiannon, asleep and bloodied

on this her perilous throne.


Elegant reeds bend close,

their tawny, crinkled tassels,

like the golden forelocks of her horses,

spilling down. Ripples of wind

pass through their long-necked throng.

Their protective shadows sway over

my fingers that grip the sculpted ends

of each solid armrest, offering

support, comfort to the skin, the bones

of my own resolute arms.

Charlotte Hussey, who has an MFA from Warren Wilson College, teaches medieval literature at Montreal’s Dawson College. She has published Rue Sainte Famille and The Head Will Continue to Sing. Completing a McGill University doctorate on the poet H.D. awakened her love of antiquity and led to her publication of Glossing the Spoils, a collection drawing on Western European mythologies that came out in the UK in a second edition in 2017.  Her poems can be found in Garden Varieties: An Anthology of the Top Fifty Poems from the National Poetry Contest; 150+ Canada’s History in Poetry; Soul of the Earth: the Awen Anthology of Eco-spiritual Poetry; Pagan Muse: Poems of Wisdom and Inspiration, and in the forthcoming Awenydd at the Crossroads Anthology.  Her work appears in numerous literary magazines in Canada, the UK, and the US. She can be reached at

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