Alice

Sisters

I wrote this poem as an exercise in the form ‘villanelle’. It one of the few poems of mine that rhymes, I don’t usually like the conformity of form. Alice was one of the people accused and tried for witchcraft in the Pendle area. She died in 1612 at the gallows. In the 1980’s a young punky anarchist from the Pendle area took the name and has used it ever since, she still lives and writes.

Alice Nutter, Both of Them

 

Men of Pendle, you called Alice Nutter a witch

You hung her from a tree across the fell

And now you folk full of chatter call me a bitch

Though you knew after thrashing with a switch

No witch could she be and could cast no spell

Men of Pendle, you called Alice Nutter a witch

You cause my ears to itch and nose to twitch

As you chatter at my dress and rebel yell

And now you folk full of chatter call me a bitch

You cut her hair and dragged her thru the ditch

Stripped whipped you tried to drown her in a well

Men of Pendle, you called Alice Nutter a witch

All based on gossip and lies from Rose Smith – snitch

We die, we curse you, from the earth we  now dwell

Men of Pendle, you called Alice Nutter a witch

And now you folk full of chatter call me a bitch

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