A Poem for Samhain Witches Lament

A Witches Lament | A Poem for Samhain www.aliisaacstoryteller.com

A Witches Lament | A Poem for Samhain

I wrote this poem for Samhain last year, and decided to re-post it, because it fits with the season so well, and also with the atmosphere of last week’s poem, The Princess on the Hill.

They hide the truth,

these gaudy costumes,

the carved lanterns,

the trick or treat.

Reality is macabre,

glossed by lies and pretence.

They fear the truth.


Once, I was revered.

Earth’s power rose within me,

I cured, I foretold,

I held in my soul

the key to life’s mystery,

and the Goddess spoke through my voice.

Once, I was adored.


In those days I could fly…

Yes, really.

But superstition and ignorance

stripped me bare.

Instead, I turn away

and I hide.

Oh, but I could fly!


Fires honoured the dead,

they blessed summer’s end,

witnessed the birth of a year

dark and terrible and new.

They brought light, warmth, hope

to where the darkness was.

Now, they consume the living.


Women like me,

we burn in the flames,

we drown in the bog,

held down by the weight

of our skills, misunderstood.

They hunt us, they hate us,

women like me.


What once made us powerful

thus renders us weak.

The old ways can’t prevent

the onslaught of

the new convictions.

The danger of zealots

makes us only fearful.


I was beautiful, then.

With youth on my side,

and the knowing of the universe

filling my heart.

I was invincible, or so I thought,

until I watched them suffer and die.

I am withered and empty, now.

53 Comments on “A Poem for Samhain Witches Lament

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  4. Love the way your words flow Ali, kept me held right to the message of doom at the very end. Your photo illustrates your poem perfectly. Very gothic, very dark…very wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh thank you Sherri! Those poor women suffered so badly because their skills were misunderstood. Althouh I’m sure there were some questionable characters, there always are in all walks of life. Glad you liked it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • My daughter has taught me a lot about those women and how they were maligned because of ignorance. As in so many things, if only we take the time to look behind the falsity, we would see a very different picture. And I liked it very much!

        Liked by 1 person

      • by the way Ali, perhaps I will write a story about the last woman to be executed in Scotland for witchcraft in 1722- nine years later the witchcraft laws were all repealed. She was burned alive in Dornoch which is north of Inverness. Her daughter who was accused with her managed to escape. They were accused of having sex with the devil among other things! The sad thing is that the poor soul was probably suffering from dementia and she had forgotten the words to the church prayers!!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, we are now beginning to realise that a lot of these old herbal remedies actually have some truth in them. No one wants chemicals anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A witch’s lament so interestingly depicted here, Ali, with a strong hint of the liminal aspect of Samhain, where an exiting summer bids farewell to usher in the imminent winter, or the living trysts with fairies and souls of the dead through magically orchestrated rituals. Indeed, our world would have been a poorer place without these customs.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is the second poem of yours I read. You have a talent to bring up images with your words. I used to write poetry when I was a not so troubled teenager but it was in French. Somehow, in English, I can only do prose. Go figure! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It dont get much better than that Ali, really well done. You mentioned ‘Flying! I studied witchcraft in its many guises from Gardinian to Solitary. The one thing that stood out for me was the whole broomstick legend. Its main purpose was for clearing space for use in rituals. But it also came in handy for another purpose. These people known as witches were renowned for their knowledge of herbs and remedies. many of their potions would include the likes of nightshade, devil’s snare, black henbane and mandrake.

    Certain ointments hade the abilty to bring on psychoactive symptoms that induced hallucinations. Great for use in certain situations akin to our ancestors consuming the magic mushrooms :-)These herbs are high in alkaloids, which makes them extremely toxic. Ingested even small quantities can cause nausea and vomiting. One solution was to appy the herbs topically which minimizes the side effects without interrupting the hallucinations.

    Certain areas of the skin are better for such a purpose, such aas the sweat glands under the armpits. But the dress attire of the day made this rather cumbersome. Another suitable area for absorbtion was the genitals. And the preffered method was, you guessed it the broomstick.The earliest evidence of this comes from the investigation of Lady Alice Kyteler, whom I mentioned in yesterdays post regarding Hugh Fitzgeralds book Devil to Pay. One account of her accusation gave the following account.

    “In rifleing the closet of the ladie, they found a pipe of oyntment, wherewith she greased a staffe, upon which she ambled and galloped through thick and thin.”

    So in ecssense those witches of olde were literally flying on their broomsticks 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      • I know, but this is one of the ways that they would do it. Altered stated of conciousness are a powerful tool to use. The delerium associated with a bad dose of the flu is a favourite of mine. Obviously not at the time, but what I take from the experience is amazing. You will see and learn things that you could never experience with your concious mind in control.

        Dont get me wrong I would never wish a bad dose on anyone, but its an unavoidable event which will normally get you once a year. So keep it in the back of your head untill you have an episode and see how you get on. Its much safer than experimenting with herbs 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    • Ed, is that ointment available today!? 😀 I had read about the flying hallucination before and it does all make sense with the idea of the shaman’s visions etc. These things can be quite terrifying if not done with the proper guidance. Fascinating stuff!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Now that’s really rather special
    Love the image of weighed down by her skills. I wrote a Halloween sonowt the other day may be I should post

    Liked by 1 person

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