For Love of a Burning Bush

You are desperate you say 

      for a burning bush, ground

      that is quivering, winds

in a cave and a still 

      small voice. So you’d be one

      of the prophets, under-

study a saint? You lust

      for manna from heaven:

      that flake-like substance sends

you out with the hoarfrost 

      to look for small, white seeds

      like coriander’s, or beads


of dew that dry before

      the sun. Fool, you are shrub

      not a vine that may grub,

hook, pierce, cling, climb. You are

      dust in barley, fossil

      in ancient, colossal

cliffs of bone. Now listen:

      you must resemble an orb-

      weaving spider whose cord

is a thin but tensile

      thread that drifts and arrives

      on a ladder’s rung, high

as the saint you would be.

      There are no hosannas,

      no medals for manna’s

uncovering. No one,

     as in the anecdote

     of the blind men who groped

 an elephant to learn

      the truth of its frame,

      no one can tell the name

or essence of manna:

      for the child it is sweet

      pure honey, the youth feasts

on it like crusty bread,

      the elderly relish

      it as oil; unblemished.

Mandy Pannett works freelance as a creative writing tutor; she has run workshops and taken part in poetry readings across the UK. Mandy has also won prizes for her poetry, been placed in various international competitions and has been a poetry judge. Her novella The Onion Stone was published by Pewter Rose Press in 2011. She is the author of four poetry collections: Bee Purple and Frost Hollow (Oversteps Books), Allotments in the Orbital (Searle Publishing)  and All the Invisibles (SPM Publications). Several of her poems have been translated into German and Romanian as part of translation projects organised by poetry p f.  You can find Mandy’s website here:

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