The Devil's Hiss

When I was born I came out bawling
Red and raw, with the devil's hiss
Mother said I was always squalling

A toddler next, still caterwauling,
Swaddled tight in life's chrysalis
Raggedy kneed from lurch to crawling

Then came school, dreich days, appalling
Failing to please some tyrant Miss
All of my letters, tumbled, scrawling

Teenage moods, the pretence of drawling
Trying to woo some Adonis
Wrestling off his urgent mauling

Love of a sort…a skylark falling
Hard for an Irish suitor's kiss
Crushed by his after-math stone -walling

Ever since then, emotions, stalling
Knowing each fence hides an abyss
Locking the door when love comes calling
Pain is the price for ardour's bliss

by Sheena Blackhall

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