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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Jelley


This is my poem inspired by the Strange Worlds of Angela Carter Exhibition in Bristol which finished on March 19th. It was shortlisted and featured on their site for the final weeks of the show and reflects many of the artworks and artists which featured in the gallery.


Like silk and sulphur I heard him not

Shiny and steeped with woe wilted clots

A quietness of tweed beside Farmer's lair Where the worm casts spin and beetles rattle

His breath but a husk of crab claw and spittle

'I knew her' he said thieving into my thoughts

Now predatorily snared, captured, caught

And not a galleried soul but the Erl King and I

Had I stepped through the lens of the curator's scry

His wolf-wright herding, studious, mocking

That idle eye searching me, biding, blocking

'We met, we sang' he softly said

'Though that was long before the chambers bled'

With a rasp of paper stitched in his cloak

He eases and teases me as a cancer of smoke

'But you knew her too, I sees her shadow

Whispers in the darkness, ghosting your marrow

An uneasy askance snatches the fervent hue

Down the small hour sweats where fevers pursue

'Allow me' and he galleries you deeper

Past the moths and the labels and Ophelia drowning

Past the wayward dancing and the nymphs all clowning

As the allegories align and the poison bites deeper

'Come Vixen' he calls and your pelt consumes

He keys open your cage in the last of his rooms

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