Witchy & Weird Poem of the Week: “The Witch” by Elizabeth Willis

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. 



This week we turn our attention to The Witch by Elizabeth Willis. I love this piece because it reads as a series of signs of a witch, which play off each other, and off the mythology and folklore of witchcraft, to tell a story more about the history and evolution of Woman, than the history of witches. Traditional myths, such that a witch “will make rancid the fresh butter of her righteous neighbor,” mix freely with recognizable habits, such as a witch “will pretend not to be looking at her own image in a window.”

We are all witches, can all seem to be frowning when we think we are smiling, all struggle against forces stronger than ourselves, all now things we have not seen with our own eyes, all find reason for sadness in the world. And the history of witches–and we circle around to the witch hunts and burnings nearer the end of the poem–is a bitter lesson for us all in Willis’ gorgeous piece.


Further Reading:

The Poetry Foundation

American Academy of Poets

Elizabeth Willis’ Website


Wickedly Yours,

Baba Yaga

Follow me on Twitter: @abitunsettling

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