The Devil does not use our names for the stars, rather he greets them by the first names they ever knew themselves by. I don’t recognise constellations: I keep a childhood memory of my father, his broad, dry hands putting names up there. A present for me.
We’ve never met, the Devil and I, but if we were to speak and he asked me what I wanted I could look across the upturned earth in the fields outside my window. How it returns to a furrowed and empty October. There’s no such thing as coming back, my mother said, as I was leaving. You just have to enjoy it. I’d tell the Devil that I want a home I don’t have to say goodbye to.
The Devil would chew the end of a grass stalk like country boys do in American movies and he’d say, well, that’s every home you’ll ever have. And I’d say watch me. Watch me try.
Itinterarium Curiosum 1776
“When the druids, Phoenicians, Chaldeans and the Tyrian Hercules are all confusedly worshipping in a Dracontium in an imminent expectation of the Messiah, it is time to stop.”
Stuart Piggot, William Stukeley: an 18th Century Antiquary
For breakfast, William Stukeley eats a hard boiled egg. He’s daydreaming about mistletoe and Greek vases. William Stukeley once walked into a tailors and asked for ceremonial robes in the ſtyle of the ancientſ and does not know he’s wearing a tailor’s old curtains. He invented the druid’s cubit and half of his papers. He went mad in the way of anyone loving something deliciously irrelevant. William used to say the word “druid” with the softness of longing, a hand reaching for the past. Oh, baptize them, Druids of Sermon, Druids of the Christ-not-Born. Oh, Druids of Heaven. Mad and Pagan saints. You know, their temples, like a snake eating its tail in accordance with the moon? Here we are making a country that is our past: mostly imaginary. We’re going out of fashion like a Birrus Britannicus. We’re loving everything mad and Pagan and irreverent.
Kym Deyn is a poet, playwright and fortune teller. They are currently studying for a Creative Writing MA at Newcastle University. Their work has appeared in various magazines and anthologies including The Valley Press Anthology of Prose Poetry, Ink Sweat and Tears, and Neon. They have been shortlisted for several awards including the West Yorkshire Playhouse “Airplays” Competition and the Terry Kelly Poetry Prize. They are one of the winners of the 2020 Outspoken Prize for poetry. You can find them on Twitter @shortestwitch.