Good for curing what-ails-you
old wives profess.
She thinks them found coin

jingling in pockets of leaf mulch
of the old stag hunting grounds,
their Oratoires de la pucelle. Folly’s ruins?

Deer eat them
without harm.
They cure wind in horses.

Serve as weapons for kids.
Placed in corners of rooms
they will keep spiders out.

Ripe, their cases split
tumbledown prickly blow-open wedge
gleam of mahogany brown –

like this old wife’s best view of her husbandman
(your classic bent over backside bedtime view):
the fork in his trunk,

round touchstones
to heat the pan
of your hand, a trail

of crumbs
to the snow-whitish sheets.

Dearest reader! Our newsletter!

Sign up to our newsletter for the latest content, freebies, news and competition updates, right to your inbox. From the oldest literary periodical in the UK.

You can unsubscribe any time by clicking the link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or directly on Find our privacy policies and terms of use at the bottom of our website.