Daniel Hoffman: Jack, I learn from Lee that you are still suffering. Since your affliction is proof against the miracles of modern medicine, I thought to offer the most ancient of cures. It is attached in the Attachment, and may it do now what it has done so well for at least a dozen centuries.

All good wishes and my pagan prayers to you--and to your patient and faithful Adelle.

Dan



A Charm Against Sciatica
for Jack Foley

To make vanish the Elf-shot
Wind around the body afflicted
Back to front with twine, red twine,
Once, twice, thrice, till nine
Times around, each time twisting
Twine a knot, a twist, a knot,
Then,. in a white cup
From which only a virgin has sipped,
Pour an ounce, an ounce, an ounce
Of single-malt, of Knockando,
Nine years in oaken cask,
And, as you slowly sip, you say,
Elf-shot, be drowned dead in the sea,
Elf-shot, be withered by the sun,
Be cooled, Elf-shot, by beams
From the cold moon when full,
May the Earth absorb all Elf-shot
As you sip nine times
For nine days, nine days, each day
Snip-snipping a knot, untwisting the twine,
Then the potion and the spell will kill,
Will kill, will kill all pain.



Jack Foley’s response. First a “straight” response, running Dan's end words backwards, then what he calls a “writing between the lines.”



In the valley of Pain
You spend all day wondering what will kill
The terrible stings that intertwine
The full course of the day
And you groan at the least nine times
At the misery of the Elf-shot
That made you Painfully full
Of the marvelous beams
Stronger than the sun
Stronger than the sea
Stronger than anything you say
It is as if your body were in a cask
Of single-malt Knockando
And each ounce
That your direst enemy has sipped
From a milk-white cup
Ties you in a knot
Constantly twisting,
Once, twice, thrice, till nine
And you scream at the binding twine
(Red twine!), body afflicted,
"Vanish, Elf-shot, ah, vanish Elf-shot!"

Or-writing between the lines:

To make vanish the Elf-shot
            In the valley of Pain
Wind around the body afflicted
            You spend all day wondering what will kill
Back to front with twine, red twine,
            The terrible stings that intertwine
Once, twice, thrice, till nine
            The full course of the day
Times around, each time tying
            And you groan at the least nine times
Twine in a knot, a knot, a knot,
            At the misery of the Elf-shot
Then,. in a white cup
            That made you Painfully full
From which only a virgin has sipped,
            Of the marvelous beams
Pour an ounce, an ounce, an ounce
            Stronger than the sun
Of single-malt, of Knockando,
            Stronger than the sea
Nine years in oaken cask,
            Stronger than anything you say
And, as you slowly sip, you say,
            It is as if your body were in a cask
Elf-shot, be drowned dead in the sea,
            Of single-malt Knockando,
Elf-shot, be withered by the sun,
            And each ounce
Be cooled, Elf-shot, by beams
            That your direst enemy has sipped
From the cold moon when full,
            From a milk-white cup
May the Earth absorb all Elf-shot
            Ties you in a knot
As you sip nine times
            Constantly twisting,
For nine days, nine days, each day
            Once, twice, thrice, till nine
Snip-snipping a knot, a knot in the twine,
            And you scream at the binding twine
Then potion and the spell will kill,
            (Red twine!), body afflicted,
Will kill, will kill all pain.
            "Vanish, Elf-shot, ah, vanish Elf-shot!"