I may as well be a witch. Aged fourteen,
Long and treacherous evenings inside
My coven-for-one, my ramshackle shambles;
To begin with, before my initiation,
I thought of Wicca as a sort of hemp.
But I fell to temptations on my first attempt.
I tried the fenny snake and other tipples
And spoke to myself through a mirror.
Years, entire ages of men, did pass.
Weird spider legs grew on other boys’ brows:
I got bored and wrote books backwards –
I think I performed all rites backwards –
I got bored and tortured dolls and
Boys came to me crooked and I left them broken,
I lit candles, like killing for company
(And these ghosts were candle creepers, yes they were).
I sing to myself, as nobody listens.
I dance to myself for the world is disastrous;
I click my fingers and a wind is woken,
I spoil the harvests for all that I care.
I learned to dance indoors, to hypnotise
Young men – to make the very moonlight dance.
Oh, I did attend Walpurgis Nights as well:
The other abominations and myself,
There’s something witchy about us. All bones and bells,
Cackling and fag-hagging, dragging our rag-bags,
Talking about seduced men and failed men,
And knowing that we’re denizens of hell.
But I do prefer my own particular spells.
I have my cat; we are our property,
I stay at home with a meal and watch the telly,
I use domestic items for terrible curses,
I hex like a poet, I’m gone with a wink…
And the neighbours, who knows what they would think?
And yes, a broomstick for one is rather shoddy.
But the things I can do with it – sister, you know it.
This rather fun little poem was founded on the idea that, being a teenager and doing teenagery things like “discovering who you are,” is much like discovering that you are in fact a witch. Outwardly, you’re almost normal. A little weirder, perhaps, a little stranger than the other boys. But there are words that you know, there are curses you can try; you might be bookish, you might be curious, you might be devious. When nobody’s looking, you bring those imagined mysteries to bear. There’s temptation, dancing, intoxication, seduction, licence, trickery, villainy. There are midnight rituals amongst the coven. There’s wickedness.
I’ve pilfered from Shakespeare, Morrissey, Plath and many, many more in this little incantation. There’s a great deal of shifting rhythm, internal rhyme and playful euphemism. It’s all gone into the cauldron. Fire burn and cauldron bubble.