Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Season of the Witch by David Lewis Paget

 
 The Season of the Witch
Most of the country is hushed out there
As the Moon climbs over the hill,
The creatures out in the wild beware
And the air is breathless, still,
The deer is stood at the edge of the wood
Afraid to go in too soon,
With the animals skittish, out in the yard
A hare stares up at the Moon.

There’s something amiss in the air tonight
Both furtive and dark, unclean,
Shadows are lurking by old stone walls
In wait for a sign to be seen,
The men all sit in a vacant trance
As the women go out by the ditch,
Wearing their smoke-black cloaks in the dance
For the Season of the Witch.

Then like the flutter of vampire bats
The witches take to their brooms,
Hang on to their tall black pointed hats
And fly low over the tombs,
They head in a swarm up Gallows Hill
Fulfilling some ancient rite,
While watchful eyes at the window-sill
Will get little sleep this night.

For Alison, Lindy, Carmen and Deb
Are watching their mothers leave,
Tucked into bed as their mothers’ fled
The girls creep out to deceive,
Pulling the curtains aside they see
The flight go over the hill,
And hear the cackling sounds of glee,
Then the air is cold and still.

Then Lindy calls to the other three
Through the window out to the farm:
‘Let’s climb up there, where we all can see
What they’re doing from high in the barn!’
So they dress themselves in their winter cloaks
And they put on their witches hats
That the mothers had made for Halloween,
Had decorated with bats.

They climbed up over the stacked up hay
To the roof of the timbered barn,
And they peered from the moonlit bullock dray
To the trees by the hilltop farm,
But the witches danced in a grove of trees
Quite hidden from anyone’s sight,
‘Let’s take our brooms,’ said Alison Keys
‘And fly while the Moon is bright!’

‘Let’s fly while the Moon is bright,’ she said,
So they stood at the edge of the hay,
Looked down to the old paved cattle yard
And the tractor, over the way.
‘We saw them fly, we can do it too,
We’re witches tonight, we’ve seen!
Tonight is the magical mystery night
For witches - it’s Halloween!’

They mounted their broomsticks, held their breath
Then leapt each one with a scream,
They dropped like stones to the cattle yard
On the night of Halloween,
They were found impaled on the thresher blades
That was parked beside the ditch,
And the screams could be heard a mile away
In the Season of the Witch!

© David Lewis Paget

David Lewis Paget is an Australian Poet, born in the UK but migrated to Australia in 1958. Writing since 1966, predominantly introspective poetry until 2005, then launched into Narrative and Gothic verse. Paget taught English to college students at the Wenzhou Medical College in 2005-6, from which came his Chinese collection. He lives in a Cornish cottage on the Yorke Peninsula, South Australia, retired, but still writing and publishing poetry. A prolific writer whose work has been called addictive by many readers.

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