I wrote this poem after taking a workshop with children who were writing poems and stories about witches, wizards and things-that- go bump-in-the-night.
I was surprised by how hard line the children’s views were, not only on the use of magic powers, but also on what the ordinary people living in tandem with these often malevolent entities, did in response to them.
The children were very hard line!
Little children tell stories of things
They know by instinct.
Nothing shocks them.
They know wickedness and knowing it
Both makes and breaks its power.
Little children laugh at those
Who would deny witch and wizard.
In their stories, the poor man who steals the cows
Has good reason to be out in the dark night.
‘The man needs the cow,’ they reason,
‘Because he has no money
And his children will die without milk to feed them.’
They lock the old witch under the stairs.
She won’t see the light of day again.
But they allow her cow to burn the poor man’s fingers
And are glad that her punishing spells
Turn his eyes to mud.