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:

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


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