The Spell

Original Text: 
Molly Peacock, Cornucopia: New and Selected Poems 1975-2002 (New York: W. W. Norton, 2002): 125.
1The job in certain lives has been to find A
2way to live with feeling -- for just to B
3the selves they are requires them to C
4things they were forbidden to. All the D
5structive or delicious forces became inE
8boards of their parents created. But their nH
9ures were disguised, not destroyed.
11have the same job in my life, avoiding the J-
14of being unloved and unforgiven). M
15pathy was my way out. My mother wouldn't evN
16feel anything; she actually unlearned how to (thO
17feeling what everyone else felt was simply P
18nal servitude).
19Generations got this Q
20from generations: Don't say what you feel, you R
22one got the next one into became a T
24you must hide what you feel. Behind your V
26as spelling masks meaning, a kind of hX
27on the alphabet, created to cover Y,


6] inE/luctable: inescapable. Back to Line
7] inF/able: ineffable, impossible to express. weeG: weegee or ouija board, "A proprietary name for a board having the letters of the alphabet and other signs used for obtaining messages and answers in spiritualistic séances and in the practice of telepathy" (OED). Back to Line
12] J-/hook: a usually metal hook shaped like a J used for hanging up coats and hats that often sticks out from the wall and can poke one. Back to Line
13] wL: well. Back to Line
21] mS: mess. Back to Line
23] T/leology: science of ultimate causes. Back to Line
25] W: double-u, i.e., double you. Back to Line
28] haZ: `hazy' (with z pronounced as in the United States, `zee') Back to Line
Publication Notes: 
Take Heart (1989)
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
Special Copyright: 

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