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Bob Beagrie: a poem

Photograph by Kev Howard


The girl is a grim priestess, a thaumaturge, devotee of Kali. The incessant croaks of courting marsh frogs fill the bedroom. Before an audience of ghostly Little Apple Dolls and Edward Gorey figurines she has prepared the naked hand for its initiation, inscribed it with symbols, mapped its mountains and valleys, its flood plains and moorlands, marked it out as a sacred parchment with which to bear her hermetic message. So finely has she applied the mehndi, the intricate lines of henna stain the skin with Sol, Luna, Venus, Mercury, Heart, Star, Flower, Raindrop, Vine, Snake, Fish, Feather, Flame and the Eye that repels the evil eye and looks behind the veil. Now, with incense burning even the frogs are chanting Om Kring Kalikaye Namah, and Crone Night with her cradle of cruelties and honeyed comforts dissolves into pure consciousness like an ice-cube in a warm bath; like a man in a city, as indeed a man becomes a city.


Bob Beagrie (PhD) lives in Middlesbrough and has published numerous collections of poetry, most recently:  (Black Light Engine Room Press’ 2023), Eftwyrd (Smokestack Books 2023), The Last Almanac (Yaffle Press 2023) and When We Wake We Think We’re Whalers from Eden (Stairwell Books 2021). His work has appeared in numerous international anthologies, journals and magazines and has been translated into Finnish, Urdu, Swedish, Dutch, Spanish, Estonian, Gaelic and Karelian. He also writes short stories and plays. 


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