As I sleep on my broken bed
And dream my loveless dream
My whole life is fleabane
– Fleabane for my beating heart
Beneath the heat of curses, I wither
And poverty is my apron all day long
And illness nags me all night long
And for a wife, I have the illiterate rat.
For all my life it has festooned my throat
As a red rash of complaint. Laughter
Laughter comes from the stones in my unploughed field
And sarcasm irritates me like dry skin.
My only protection has been fleabane
Against the devil’s curse that’s all I have
Only God knows why I’ve been this way
For the only help I have is fleabane.
As I sleep amongst the fleabane I hold my breath
I listen to the voices of the winter skies
Where the old dog sleeps with death
I watch for the sunset in the winter sky.
In my blood I hear the croak of toads and frogs
And mushrooms and fungus grow beneath my head
All I have for protection is fleabane
That whistles a tune to frighten away death
My lover has locked me in a pillory
I am abused and made fun of all day long
And all I have is a handful of fleabane
As I drift into a state of mental illness
May the father of the king be my friend
And if he passes this way may he help me
For all I have to protect me is fleabane
For a lifetime all I’ve had is fleabane