As the Wheel of the Year turns, 30 April marks the time of Samhain here in the Southern Hemisphere, the time of the year when we gather together to remember our ancestors of both kith and kin. What is probably the most sombre of all the seasonal observances, the Southern Samhain falls just after ANZAC Day, the day on which Australia and New Zealand pause to remember those who have given their lives in the many global conflicts.
A number of years ago, the Broadway musical, “Wicked” is in town around the Southern Samhain, complete with all the stereotypes of what witches are often depicted as looking like. As such I thought it might be timing to share a poem that I initially came across about 10 years ago, The Halloween Witch by “Angel”.
Each year they parade her about,
the traditional Halloween Witch.
Misshapen green face, stringy scraps of hair,
a toothless mouth beneath her deformed 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 believe this to be how Witches were really seen.
Consider that most Witches:
were abducted in the night,
and smuggled into dungeons or prisons under the
secrecy of darkness
to be presented by 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
suggested to her
and to give names or what ever would stop the
Crowds saw the aberration denounced to the world
as a self-proclaimed Witch.
As the Witch was paraded through town
en route to be burned, hanged, drowned, stoned
or disposed of in various other forms of Christian love
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 gone
replaced by a grimace of broken teeth and torn gums
that leers 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 with nails torn away
locked like groping claws to steady her broken body.
All semblance of humanity gone
this was truly a demon,
a bride of Satan,
I revere this Halloween Crone
and hold her sacred above all.
I honor her courage and listen to her warnings of the
dark side of man.
Each year I shed tears of respect
when the mundane exhibit their symbol of Christian