Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October offering...

The Witch
Cameron 11/27/2011

She appears this time of year,
Hanging from porches and
October trees…
Seen on the faces of children
In cackling masks.
Where did she come from?
What was her form?

Tortured body
Bent over, twisted, grotesque,
Broken bones, shattered ribs,
Teeth missing,
Face green with bruises,
Swollen with blows,
Fingers smashed into claws
Clutching, desperate…

Draped in cloth soaked black with pitch
Stinking, bitter mercy
This crone of sixteen
Or twenty-two
Or forty-five,
Or sixty-five
Or eighty,
Riding the rumbling carts
Over rutted roads
Between jeering crowds
To the approaching fires,
For her “crime”
(Ultimate victim blame).
Only in the end rising free,
A dark black Phoenix
Of ash and smoke
Flying away on the wind of the world.

And today’s  autumn wind tugs this night
On fire proof black synthetics
And green plastic masks,
As children wear her form,
 Threaten tricks,
Seek treats,
 To the wind calling low
“Never again!” 


  1. Whoa. That's powerful, love. Thank you for writing it. Love the movement and the power of imagery.

  2. I got to thinking about just *where* did the classic image of the Halloween Witch come from - green mishappen face, bent over form, clawed hands, black clothing...and it hit me that during the Burning Times in Europe when they hunted so called witches, what people saw was the end result after torture on the way to the pyre...the poem basically wrote itself after that.

  3. My friend Skeptic attempted to comment and was prevented from doing so by computer issues - she emailed me the comment instead, so I am including it here....

    Sorry I can't post to your blog!
    Anyhoo--here's what I would've posted about your poem, which inspired me to write
    one of my own--

    When it's time for witches, zombies and monsters,
    Hallow's masks must gaze back with remonstrance
    At teen terrorists, rich bitches,
    crackheads, morons, politicians;
    Real bugbears to those of good conscience.

    I always thought that people liked Halloween because it gave them a chance to be something different from themselves. Never realised till I read your poem that it actually gives them a chance to be something BETTER than themselves.
    Thanks for stirring the sediment--


  4. My friend Jay, also having computer issues, graciously sent me a comment on this poem and ask that I include it for her. Thanks Jay!

    Powerful poem. I wonder that I have never fully thought about where our Halloween image of the witch actually comes from. It is shocking to think of the broken damaged 16 year old as well as the broken damged elders that we usually associate with witchery. I recently corresponded with another friend about the horrific images of the Inquisition, how they bring us up short in our thinking about what it is to be human, what we are capable of doing to one another—that deep isolated and cruel darkness that must be part of human nature itself—it shows up so often and in so many contexts, sometimes in group actions and sometimes expressed in solitary viciousness. Again, powerful poem and closing image. I love bonfires myself, but they are reminders, aren’t they?