Gillian Spraggs
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Homage to the Nine Hags

The first hag lives under a lake.
Out of her cauldron all things flow:
song, love, destruction.

The second is comely, her eyes beckon.
Who enters once her dark gateway
will never return his own man.

The third hag is mother to monsters.
Long years she suckles them, lulls their sleep:
their time will come when the world ends.

The fourth hag is a wave of the sea.
Her hair is spindrift; her singing calls up storms;
she laughs to see ships sink.

The fifth hag likes to ride by night
through marsh and briar, spurring the naked man
bridled by sleep.

The sixth hag stalks in the wood.
The wild beasts take suck from her.
Her gaze is madness.

The seventh is a standing stone,
cool and pitted.
Around her flanks, the wind whines.

The eighth loves the place of battle;
The smell of blood excites her.
Like a croaking raven, she wheels over the field.

The ninth is old; she is a clothmaker.
Intricately she weaves the threads;
one by one, she snips them.
Gillian Spraggs
Published in The Coffee House, Issue Seven, Spring 2002
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© Gillian Spraggs, 2002, 2006
page added to site on 25 February, 2006 | last modified 24 November, 2006