Wednesday, October 17, 2007

She Returns: The Halloween Witch

Each year they parade her about:
The traditional Halloween witch.

Misshapen green face,
stringy scraps of hair,
and a toothless mouth
beneath her disfigured nose.

Gnarled, knobby fingers
twisted into a claw,
protracting from a bent
and twisted torso
that lurches about on wobbly legs.

Most think this abject image
to be the creation of
a prejudiced mind,
or merely a Halloween caricature.

I disagree.
I believe this to be
how witches were really seen.

Consider that most witches:
were women,
were abducted in the night,
and smuggled into dungeons or prisons
under the secrecy of darkness
be presented by the light of day
as a confessed witch.

Few, if any,
saw a frightened,
normal looking woman
being dragged into a secret room
filled with instruments of torture.
To be questioned
until she confessed
to anything that was suggested to her,
and to give names
or say whatever would stop the questions.

Crowds saw the aberration
denounced to the world
as a self-proclaimed witch.

As the witch was paraded
through the town,
en route to be burned,
hanged, drowned, stoned,
or disposed of
in various, horrible ways,
all created to free
and save her soul
from her depraved body.

The jeering crowds
viewed the results
of hours of torture

The face, bruised
and broken by countless blows,
bore a hue of sickly green.

The once warm and loving smile
Replaced by a grimace
of broken teeth ,
and torn gums
that leer beneath a battered,
disfigured nose.

The disheveled hair
conceals bleeding gaps
of torn scalp
from whence cruel hands
had torn away the lovely tresses.

Broken, twisted hands
clutched the wagon for support.
Fractured fingers locked like groping claws
to steady her broken body.

All semblance of humanity gone.
This was truly a demon,
a bride of Satan, a witch.

I revere this Halloween Witch
and hold her sacred.
I honor her courage
and listen to her warnings
of the dark side of humanity.

Each year I shed tears of respect.


Written by Angel, 6/99

Related Articles:

Pretty Witches by Sia


Hecate said...

Your poem reminds me of the "witch" about to be burned in The Seventh Seal. How true.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

This poem is beautiful. Thank you very much for sharing it with everyone.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! It's so moving! *cries*

Anonymous said...

That's awesome! It certainly sheds a different light on the "classic" image of a witch. Thank you so much for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Angel, such a lovely, haunting prose poem. Thank you, thank you for sharing it!

Thank you also to Sia for her article at WitchVox ("Those Pretty, Sexy Witches").

ChatJemena (Philippines)

Dj Connell said...

You are most welcome. I'm glad you liked the article. I had fun writing it.

I wish I knew who April was. I have not been able to find her. But I, too, am grateful for her prose poem.


Anthony D. Harrell said...

That was so moving. Words really cannot express.

As I approach my first Yule as a Pagan, I don't think it was mere coincidence that I stumbled upon this.

Thank you. I don't know that I will ever look at the Halloween Witch the same way again.

The results of torture as a symbol of inspiration and a sign of our release (by comparison of times, that is)...I guess this is, in a way, why the Christians so love the unequal-armed cross. What She went through is something we at the moment do not have to fear. But She should be a constant reminder that, well..."Never again the Burning Times."

Blessed Be, my friend. Blessed Be.

Anonymous said...

Oh gods. This is...
I shuddered as I read this. I truly did.

Anonymous said...

Oh my! thanks, sort of. Nice blog, btw.

Unknown said...

Wow. This made me cry the first time I read it, and I've put a link to this on a couple of other sites I visit. I like the blog, but I only recently stumbled across it via Witchvox and am gradually making my way through the rest.

Anonymous said...

That was moving and thought provoking. Never before had I considered that the physical manifestations of torture would so closely resemble the 'classic' wicked witch. Thank you so much for sharing it.

Blessed Be.

Beyond Dead said...

Very powerful and quite thought provoking regarding your theory of origin behind the societal portrayal of the Witch.