Baba Yaga by Johnny Giles

Baba Yaga

The dacha dashing on chicken stilts
There’s something ill in the cauldron swilled
In the Mother’s mill, the grind and tilt
Of the Autumn’s drill, its witchcraft will
Distilled into bitter pills that trill

Baba yaga, baba baba yaga yaga
Baba baba, yaga yaga yaga baba
Baba yaga, baba baba yaga yaga
Baba baba, yaga yaga yaga baba

Feathered floorboards
Crack and creak
In the grains of Baba’s beak
Yaga soars      in the chords
of Russian lore      So to speak

Weathered weeks
In Yaga cheeks
Baba Baba’s
Baa black sheep. Her pester pestle
And morbid mortar
She ‘Bony Leg’ who helps or hinders
Whoever in the forest lingers

Many facets
Crooked fingers
Magic in their
Aged aspects
The era
Of Baba and Yaga
Footsteps so Slavic and Saga

 

Johnny Giles is one of Wales’s youngest published poets (Chalk Outlines, Blackheath Books, 2014). His work has been called “ace” (Ben Mellor), “insightful” (Jonzi D), and “really beautiful to listen to” (Hollie McNish). He lives in Cardiff, and is 22 years old.

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