Sing, red-hearted women! Circle the black
cauldron while curses fill the moon, seduce
the sun; let it rest sweating in your sheets.
Bind the magic with waterfall tresses,
cast a spell with herbs to take out the fat –
all that’s messy can be turned to beauty. …
About the poem
This poem was published on the Dodging the Rain website on Hallowe'en 2017.
This poem was a lot of fun to write, and it was a particular thrill to have the publication coincide with Hallowe'en. The poem tackles a lot of the stereotypes relating to witchcraft and women and looks for a more positive approach to them.
The title is a play on the idea of a woman's period as a "curse" but it is also highlighting how comfortable woman need to be with blood and bodily functions. The poem seeks to harness the power that can come from celebrating instead of hiding or apologising for natural occurrences. It plays on ideas of seduction, casting spells, mixing potions and shows how a witch may simply be a woman happy in her own body, eager to teach others the same freedom. This is what drives the tone of defiance and, I hope, causes many more red-hearted women to begin singing.