Familiars by Andrew Shields


+++ after Keith Thomas

Witches worked
with birds and ferrets,
hornets and hares,
beetles and frogs,
moles and moths,
crickets and snakes,
crayfish and snails,
rats and toads,
blackbirds and crows,
wasps and flies,
spiders and mice.

Did Elizabeth in Manningtree
keep a whole menagerie?
Her interrogators found
a rabbit and a greyhound,
a white dog and a polecat
and a toad (but not a bat).

A witch was powerless
when she heard Hopkins hiss.
She must burn,
said Sterne.


Andrew Shields lives in Basel, Switzerland. His book Thomas Hardy Listens to Louis Armstrong is being published by Eyewear in June 2015.

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