You carry all the eyes
that ever saw a horror
or glanced upon a mirror
and bristle with ears
to catch every whisper
that insists it is about you. …
About the poem
This poem appeared in the Autumn issue of The Dawntreader in October 2017.
This poem was one of the first I wrote that led me to believe that there was scope for a wider project examining witches from a literary and creative perspective. I was thinking about hexes and curses and how they're often characterised by parts of the body - a lock of hair, nail clippings - to tie the curse to the person. I was thinking, also, about how a woman's period is known as "the curse."
When I started the poem, I was having a bad day, and I think I wrote it at first to get the negative feelings out - counteract the hex, if you will - but there is more here than just a frustration at the limitations of a body, or of how society might treat women's bodies in particular. It also addresses the sense of onism - the sadness of the idea that you can never experience anything outside yourself, never go anywhere without finding yourself right there. This could be seen as a blessing as well as a curse, of course, but I liked the idea that someone would utter a curse that changed nothing but perspective. I thought about Glyn Maxwell's poem Curse on a Child for the light touch which makes it move between humour and heartbreak, sometimes within a single line, and how the subject is really the person issuing the curse. This poem is a hex turned in on itself - it could be addressed to the reader but the speaker is equally cursed here. It is a dark poem, but there was something very cathartic about writing it, and facing those days where you just want to howl and jump out of your own skin.