A Curse on Heptonstall

Come all you demons, heed my call
to bless this curse on Heptonstall
where Pilot pens aren't safe at all
for stuffed with thieves is Heptonstall.
Please, let my couplets never pall
before well-cursed is Heptonstall;
for every ill, I'll cast a trawl
and dump my catch on Heptonstall;
may all vile things that creep and crawl
repair at once to Heptonstall;
let drunken bears and werewolves brawl
around the streets of Heptonstall
and then may they play basketball
with human heads in Heptonstall
while madness-fits like those of Saul
afflict the folk of Heptonstall;
let every storm and freezing squall
blow in their winds to Heptonstall;
may shite and fire and brimstone fall
on every roof in Heptonstall
while mortar rots from every wall
that holds a roof in Heptonstall.
May shingles wrap him like a shawl
who stole my pen in Heptonstall:
let pus gush like a waterfall
from all his sores in Heptonstall
and each sore bore in like an awl
through his foul flesh in Heptonstall
so all the fool can do is sprawl
and weep and groan in Heptonstall;
I'd hear him scream, I'd hear him bawl
and beg for death in Heptonstall
and set about him with a maul
to break his bones in Heptonstall.
O queue you fiends by Satan's hall
and catch the bus to Heptonstall -
my verse has just begun to stall,
so take your turn on Heptonstall:
you have the evil wherewithal
to serve them well in Heptonstall,
that cankered Pennine caul
of dandruff, Heptonstall
where pens get stole.


Ian Duhig


Ian Duhig has written six books of poetry, most recently Pandorama (Picador, 2010). He has won a Forward Prize, the National Poetry Competition twice and three times been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. He works extensively with other artists and musicians, supplying text for composer Christopher Fox’s Dark Roads, premiered this April at Tate Britain.