Friday Poem – The Witch Bag

This week’s poem comes from Sarah Corbett’s second collection, The Witch Bag, published in 2002.

“Poetry as white-knuckle ride” is how Poetry Wales described Sarah Corbett’s debut, The Red Wardrobe. Her eagerly-awaited second collection, The Witch Bag, is as powerful as its predecessor, and is sure to cement Corbett’s reputation as one of the rising stars of British poetry. The title poem evokes a spellbinder who is both “weightless, thin as pond moss” and “blacker than the pond’s belly.” ’The Kitchen God’ is a series of erotic love sonnets; ’My Son the Horse’ is part of an astonishing group of poems about the birth of a son; ’Czech Pieces’ records vivid impressions of Eastern Europe; the final section focuses on the death of a father. This poet, in sensuous and evocative language, conjures intimate worlds; her subjects are often fearlessly personal: birth, death, and love in all its manifestations.

The Witch Bag

Remember me. I am the woman
who shook her fisted nipples
at the moon,
bearing down the dark streets
that could not take her.

My face broke in two
as I ate its bright cheek,
my hands sudden as marshlight
held before me
into the dark nights that followed.

I am the woman who flew
not only in her dreams,
but remembered the spell as she woke
and hunted sighs like ticks,
dipping and turning as she went.

That woman, weightless thing,
thin as pond moss,
blacker than the pond’s black belly.
She hooks its clammy limbs around her own
and sucks the water into herself.

That woman, without a world,
who goes hopping with one boot
between twilights,
a bagful of grave treasures
lost and lost again –

mask of hair, milk tooth,
heel-bone, blood-purse, name.

Order The Witch Bag from our website.


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