Mindstrap – Hannah Linden


Don’t be mard, she’d say.
You’d reckon she meant mardy:
spoilt or irritable

but she meant soft
inadequate, a weaklin.

She ated children
blatherin, cringin.
Physical pain were
a deformity
and we were marred by it
by default.

She were clever like that –
she could take summat ugly
an ide it in Lancastrian
like Everyone felt the same
round ere – like all o words
conspired against us
a mindstrap for
frangin, maitherin kids.

It’s not fair – it’s leather
a menacing wink, a chuckle.
Don’t be mard: future’s hard
always one step’s too loose –
spare the rod and th’as sprung the noose.

Either way we were marred by it
by default. She were clever like that.


[ed. ‘fair’ in Lancs pronounced ‘fur’]

Hannah Linden is published widely, most recently with Magma, Lighthouse, The Interpreter’s House, Domestic Cherry and the Humanagerie Anthology, as well as on several online webzines. She is working towards her first collection. Twitter: @hannahl1n

One thought on “Mindstrap – Hannah Linden

  1. Thanks so much for publishing this Claire and Holly. There’s a link to a sound recording of the poem here: soundcloud.com/hannahlinden/mindstrap-hannahlinden with a glossary there too for some of the dialect words as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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