NATALIE CRICK: ON WRITING ‘CHANGELING’

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Changeling[29619]

Changeling, J.P. Lynch, 1986

Last year, a poem of mine, ‘Changeling’, was published online at Stirring: A Literary Collection. You can read ‘Changeling’ alongside another of my poems, ‘Garden Witch’, here: https://www.stirringlit.com/vol-21-ed-p-changeling-and-garden-witch-by-natalie-crick1

I’ve provided an insight into the thoughts behind my writing process and inspirations for my poem, ‘Changeling’.

Listening to Ailbhe Darcy read poems from Insistence in The Culture Lab, Newcastle, 2018, I was both disturbed and fascinated by her choice of words: ‘I’d a snip cut in his tongue. / Blood scissored down his chin’.[1]

The scenarios I invent in my poetry are often uncomfortably tragic because I wanted to encourage an emotional response in the reader. I write with an air of intimate disclosure towards the reader.

‘As a child, relatives wouldn’t hold her. She was splintered wood and sea water. They said she reminded them of the war.’[2]

Warsan Shire’s harrowing disclosure about this child in her poem ‘The Ugly Daughter’ initiated my strange ekphrastic story, ‘Changeling’; a tale of a horrifying child (though more a parasite) growing inside a weakening mother and beginning to advance in power.

I wanted to establish a physical closeness between parent and parasite as well as the duality behind the origins of the traditional folklore surrounding changelings; the ‘sickly, evil, or precocious substitute’ left instead of a real child who is ‘kidnapped by supernatural beings’.[3]

The child is seemingly questionable child and the parent mild-mannered, in contrast to much of my poetry when childhood innocence is essentially stolen or kidnapped by cruel motivations of dominant adults.

 

 

[1] Ailbhe Darcy, ‘After my son was born’ in Insistence (Hexham: Bloodaxe, 2018), p. 41

[2] Warsan Shire, ‘The Ugly Daughter’ in Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth (London: flipped eye books, 2011), p. 31

[3] Seamus Mac Philib, ‘The Changeling’, Béaloideas, 59 (1991), 121