23 Proposals for Decay Magic

 

 

  1. After grandma dies and you are clearing out her house, look for the tortoise shell bowls on her dressing table full of coils of her long hair – a lifetime’s collection of hair fallings…

 

  1. When you find a wasps nest in an outhouse, cradle the paper city in your hands and let your body heat cause its collapse…

 

  1. Secrete the old lady’s hair fallings in pillowcases, wallets and handbags and murmur her name…

 

  1. Open all the dictionaries and encyclopaedias in libraries and bookshops to the entries on decay…

 

  1. Abandon the cinemas where you once watched musicals. Oklahoma flickering forever on a screen of cobweb silk…

 

  1. Let buddleia grow in the cracks of ruined churches…

 

  1. Do not give your rowing boat a new coat of paint…

 

  1. Cultivate bruised knees and surface wounds to the extent that you can see inside your body…

 

  1. Do not remove fledgling birds from boarded up fireplaces…

 

  1. Wait and listen for sparrow-panic to subside and then imagine small birds turning to dust amongst the ash and cinders…

 

  1. Carry a coil of grandmother’s hair in your overcoat pocket. Wrap it around your knuckle like a signet ring of old lady grey…

 

  1. Crack the ice in the haunted lake and watch your rowing boat sink slowly beneath the willow…

 

  1. Let the moths do their worst…

 

  1. After your final visit to the old woman’s house, leave the front door on the latch and let the house die slowly…

 

  1. Record the funeral hymn on an old cassette machine and then unravel the tape and hang it in hawthorn. Let the wind exorcise the voices, ‘Abide With Me’ fading for ever more…

 

  1. Uncork the wine bottles and let the claret transform into vinegar…

 

  1. Let the raindrops fall on bricks and mortar, eat into the stone. Then listen to the music of the falling rain, a symphony of decay as it turns the house into a ruin…

 

  1. Let insects with Latin names devour the leather, glue, paper and ink of old books until they crumble into dust and your folklore is forgotten forever…

 

  1. We are decaying every minute but the ravages of time can be encouraged if we know the secret codes…

 

  1. As we age and the quality of cell repair deteriorates, our bones become brittle, corneas clouded and our senses fail. This is the sad, sweet poetry of decay…

 

  1. We cannot even dance to the old songs or remember the sad words. The decay magic is working…

 

  1. We are decaying and all the wisdom in the world will not prevent this. Think on this –if thinking is still possible – by the time we are old we have lost an ounce of brain…

 

  1. These are the 23 proposals for Decay Magic. Now all that remains to be done is to burn the hair…

 

Jeff Young

 

 

 


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