Neil Doherty: Belladonna


(Hormesis. Some of the most deadly
poisons can be effective medicines
if used in small and controlled doses.)

I’m told your morn-to-evening scowl
is from an irritated bowel.
The Doc suggests, and I agree,
some belladonna in your tea.

He recommends that I should treat
your frigid heart that skips a beat
by supplementing your Earl Grey
with digitalis once a day.

A bit of mandrake for your pains?
Some yew to open up your veins?
That aspirin is dross and dreck -
here's hemlock for your aching neck.

Now, if a bane can be a balm,
and there is cure in what can harm,
if “what don’t kill you makes you strong”
I rather fear you’ll linger long.

And so, my dear, my highly strung,
my darling one of lashing tongue,
don’t fret if soon my hand should slip,
and add another little drip.

Belladonna berries and flowers