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THE LURE
When you are knackered and cheap food
cramps up your guts with pain,
you’ll hear the faeries through the glass,
beyond the mizzling rain.

They sing: you deserve more than this —
more than the toil and blame.
Somewhere that’s light and glittering.
Escape, child, to Elfame.


They lured me barefoot from my bed
through night to the wild hill.
I watched it split like a dark skull
to show a wondrous hall

with violins and green cupcakes,
rubies and perfumed oils,
and cocktails of nightingales’ tears,
all framed by crystal walls,

and the Erl-Queen in pure gold robes —
whose hand I dipped to kiss —
said: if you look, child, but don’t eat,
you can aspire to this.

And so each dusk that Faerie Land
called me across the vale.
I’d dance the night with comely men,
and leave there drained and pale.

At home I became listless, cold.
I would abruptly snap.
I spat their soup out, called them bores
and all their décor crap.

They said: there’s beauty here as well
in hedge and bloom and day.
There’s us...
I laughed out loud at that.
My whole life passed this way.

I knew I deserved more than them,
More than the hard and plain.
Somewhere that’s light and glittering.
I belonged in Elfame.

Then, one night, thought: what if I ate
those cakes that they forbid?
What if a morsel means I stay?
And all illusions fled!

After one crumb the glamour slipped:
water-rats gnawed in swamps,
the faeries were the grinning dead —
the hall was a death camp.

It was a blasted, withered place,
the waste-land where I’d been.
The spell, once broken, broke my heart.
It smashed like a glass screen.