Hope is Only One Dead Witch Away

21 Dec

Take on the grand high witch, my son.
It’s the only way.
While she lives in the deep, dark wood,
feasts on deer and passersby,
drinks from cesspools, climbs the trees
towards the light as far as she can,
shrieks down at the postman, you
will never know wide-shouldered cotton,
10 am and easy breathing, you must
take on the grand high witch, my son.

I’ve seen you, looking down
towards those pines most days.
Now, bringing home the lesser heads
of young witches without warts
isn’t going to impress me much longer.
You must take on the grand high witch.

How long has she been down there?
Planting new roots and hiding in their hollows?
Does her scream still wake you at night?

I stabbed mine.
In the chest,
with a rake,
when I was about your age.
Afterwards, walking alone,
and silent, didn’t itch anymore.

Your granddad, he did the same.
We’re veteran witch hunters, me and him,
but this one’s on you,
take on the grand high witch, my son.

And once it’s done, don’t treasure her scalp
as you walk back through the hills. Drop it
as easily as a smile. Allow it

to fertilise the ground and grow new witches.
Yours will be somebody else’s
but won’t ever have the same eyes.
You wouldn’t even recognise the teeth of her laugh.
How do you feel?

Matt Miller

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One Response to “Hope is Only One Dead Witch Away”

  1. mouthypoets January 6, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

    LOVE
    -Again, great title, it totally sets the scene and tell me what is going on and as a result the readers mind has more freedom to explore other things in the poem.
    -“I stabbed mine.
    In the chest,
    with a rake,
    when I was about your age.” – very original fairy-tale stuff!
    -I really like this stanza…
    “Your granddad, he did the same.
    We’re veteran witch hunters, me and him,
    but this one’s on you,
    take on the grand high witch, my son.” … so much so I think it could really work as a refrain, and it might sustain an interesting rythmn?
    -I love the ending, it feels so sinistar and has such amazingly original concepts with the scalp and the teeth, it is so incredibly visual and shows impeccable imagination!

    QUESTIONS
    -Again, some strange choices of line break, in this case it feels like it is going against the flow of action which can be very jarring, particularly here;
    “shrieks down at the postman, you”
    -I am a bit unclear of the flow of action, I don’t really know what is happening in each section – do you? Could you write a bullet point for each stanza saying what is actually happening and why?

    SUGGESTIONS
    -It might be the line breaks or because your other pieces have used rythmn so heavily or the fairy tale nature of the story but I feel it either needs a freer sense of rythmn or a more structured one, at the moment it feels like it goes from structured to free which jars my ability to follow the narrative. E.g. the first two lines have rhymn, the rest of the stanza doesn’t, then the second stanza does etc. Choose which you want to use and decide how that will work alongside line breaks.

    Debris

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