For a nosebleed: drop

something cold, a coin or key,

the length of your back.


Wicked lumbago

needs brown paper ironed hot,

pressed into the small.


To improve eyesight,

pierce your ears and get some gold.

Silver does nothing.


Rheumatism: carry

a young spud in your pocket.

Or soak in Epsom.


Sore throat: tie a wool

stocking round your neck; Father’s

sweaty sock will do.


Linseed, lime for burns.

Boiled onion poultice for ears.

Bread poultice for boils.


Bluebag for bee stings.

Warm cow dung for carbuncle,

or draw the devil


out with a hot glass.

Rub butter on a bumped head,

fig leaf on a bruise.


In case of a cut,

a little whiskey leeches rust.

It’s good to let dogs


lick an open wound,

but only those you know well,

not some thin-boned stray.


Next, to clot the cut,

use cobwebs, fresh cigar ash—

in a pinch, sugar.


Egg water causes warts,

and touching toads. Spin horsehair

around your finger,


or daub with sow thistle.

If that cure fails, steal a piece

of meat. Rub the wart

into the cold chop.

Bury it in the garden.

Tell no one. The flesh


and the wart decay

together. Some say you need

a dead cat. Jabber—


any meat will do.

No, what we make we make in

burial, in hiding.


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