When I was a little girl, my English grandmother taught me many old British nursery rhymes and a few chants. Along with Humpty Dumpty, Little Jack Horner, and Jack Sprat, this chant has stayed with me:
“Trefoil, vervain, John’s wort, dill,
hinder witches of their will.”
When I was little, I loved chanting it, singsong style, with Grandma, and I was surprised to encounter it recently in a mystery novel that I was reading. When I Googled the rhyme, I found that it was once believed to act as a countercharm against spells that might do harm, and I found what appears to be its earliest written version in Michael Drayton’s 1627 poem “Nymphidia” (lines 390 & 391) Click Here to Read "Nymphidia" by Michael Drayton
Memories of my grandmother, a dozen or more visits to England over the years, and the old “trefoil, vervain” chant are my inspiration for this week’s prompt. Here it is:
1. Make up your own protective chant that includes herbs or flowers. Use the chant above as a model. (There’s lots of info about herbs online that might be helpful if you'd like to do some research.)
2. Use your chant in a poem. It may be an epigraph or a first line. It may even be a refrain or the last line. You may address the poem to someone, venture into the world of faerie and create a narrative fantasy, or go in any direction that your poem wants to go.
Sage, verbena, mint, and thyme,
will surely help you with your rhyme!
Make a little magick!