Witchy & Weird Poem of the Week” – Emily Dickinson’s Poem [1583]

Here the Moon-Birds will sacrifice to you, our readers, a weekly poem which has caught our eye(s)—poems which invoke, in whatever way, witchy-ness, spooky-ness, the sacred feminine, the mysterious, or the otherworldly. 

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I have a deep and longstanding love for Emily Dickinson. When I was a somewhat angsty teenager, the idea of cloistering myself in an attic and remaining a spinster scribbling away at my writing (as is the mythology–not entirely justified–about her life) seemed impossibly romantic. So frankly, you’re going to get a lot of Dickinson on this site. But for today, I am tickled by this short and sweet little stanza (copied from The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson (Little, Brown, and Company. 1960):

 

[1583]

Witchcraft was hung, in History, 

But History and I

Find all the Witchcraft that we need

Around us, every Day — 

 

The first line strikes as not just a reference to witch trials and the execution of witches, but to the systematic attempt to stamp out witchcraft as an idea, but I love this little poem because it is so quietly resistant: both history and the speaker know that this extermination is impossible, witchcraft lives in the world around us/them.

 

If you love Dickinson as I do, you should check out Emily Dickinson’s Poems: As She Preserved Them. It’s a wonderful way to discover anew your familiar favorites, by reading them in her hand, and seeing them where they were written (in margins, on the backs of envelopes, wherever she had paper!). It’s available on IndieBound and Amazon.

 

Stay tuned for more Dickinson, she’s bound to crop up again.

 

For further reading:

Academy of American Poets

Poetry Foundation

 

Wickedly Yours,

Baba Yaga

Follow me on Twitter: @abitunsettling

 

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