The Witchdoctor's Metamorphosis

The Witchdoctor's Metamorphosis

A Poem by Loraine Raleigh

she met a great witchdoctor
once on the vast, wide
plains. burnt grass stubble
shuddered in the thin summer wind -
a few scattered houses sailing
in those endless seas.

and that witchdoctor spoke to her
about the legends, and taught her
how to trap the snakes and lizards:

because the lore read that reptiles
were these distant ancestors
of ancient dragons.
that they were the first
masters of shapeshifting.

learned to shed their skin and birth
themselves into new form, that we
learn that sacred secret from their distant kin.

the witchdoctor brought from
her silken pouch, a dried
chameleon skin. she showed the
girl how to grind the skin,
and mix it
with other foul things.
when that witchdoctor
wiped a streak across her face,
her frame seized. her skin sloughed
off her bones. the bones
...broke,
reformed...

and that old witchdoctor was a doe,
was a
panther, was
a
dragon.

and when the witchdoctor
had shown the girl, all the things
she knew, she turned to leave...

" - witchdoctor, what's your name?"

but the witchdoctor didn't know
the name of the girl who she was
when she had her first
kiss, spent her first
night away from home.

© 2013 Loraine Raleigh



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TLK
The first stanza sets the scene very well. You show the sparse landscape in a fittingly sparse way.

The myth-logic behind the witch-doctoring is very believable, and I feel a sense of the awe that the 'girl' must have felt.

However, the whole poem is driving -- through fantasy, imagery, and the impossible -- to a very real point. The witchdoctor seems to have lost something important for this bag of tricks (and for what utility, other than to impress a child?) and it hit me very hard. In fact, I re-read the whole poem just to get a glimpse of that sensation again.

Posted 4 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

unsavable_soul

4 Years Ago

Thanks for the read request TLK, Keep finding me great works of art friend.
Chris



Reviews

Not bad. I think you could have been a bit more sparing in your use of the one-word lines, as at present there are parts which seem a little too disjointed, but other than that, you've used some very good imagery and managed to keep the audience's attention for the whole thing. Good work.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I agree with TLK 99%,
This piece is very striking in it's portrayal of surroundings and ideas into mental imagery. There appears an almost foreboding nature entrapped within a greater meaning. My only thought was that the end of this piece while maybe intentional, drifted to far. I mean to say your endings vague nature while mysterious does little to drive home an impact to the rest of this work of art. This is purely an opinion and at that one of love for this beauty in writing as well as a curiosity for the ending meaning in addition to wanting to aid in anyway I might. I can if you would like elaborate upon my thoughts of the ending if you wish either in comment or private message.

"and that old witchdoctor was a doe,
was a
panther, was
a
dragon."
By far this was my favorite line. I felt it encompassed almost all of the myth within this piece. I explain. It described many forms the witch doctor took proving power, then proceeds to directly say he turns into a dragon which also embodies in it's layout he either was a dragon or the very pinnacle of the power of shape shifting just as the dragon did. I really found this an excellent piece of art.
Sincerely
Christopher
99/100

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I wish you had put in a description of the witch doctor, or maybe that was the point - we weren't suppose to know anything about her because she didn't know anything about herself. You seem to have as much trouble with punctuation as I do - in poetry I hate using punctuation.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Loraine Raleigh

4 Years Ago

Actually, for the most part, I think I used all the proper punctuation, but it doesn't seem like
read more
clisa

4 Years Ago

I'm not sure what enjambment is unless you mean for some reason your word processor doesn't capitali.. read more
Loraine Raleigh

4 Years Ago

Well, you got me there, I didn't capitalize properly, but I'm not sure that's considered 'punctuatio.. read more
Beautiful analogy of what is but is not..what could be but could not..was but was not and the complete reformation of a life brought about by the act of innocence betrayed. We are all shapeshifters, constantly redefining who or what we are in this vast landscape of life. Your word artistry painted a very vivid picture for the reader.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

A story poem that is not as strightforward as it first seems. That is in fact multi layered with metaphor and allegory. And yet still allows several entrances into it whatever your, the reader's, experience. A way of find your own totem if you like.
I am incredibly impressed with this.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Loraine Raleigh

4 Years Ago

Thanks, I'm glad you were able to find your way 'in'! :)
makes me wish i was a girl again

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I love the way you show in the last series of lines, in an indirect way of how someone, or something, can go through a total transformation. Using myth and legend to describe a 'real' message of transformation is well achieved. The only real critique I have is that after the child asks the now transformed witchdoctor, what her name is, you have forgotten to add the word, "the" before the word "girl". I can completely envision the face of a child talking to a doe, panther or dragon and getting no "human" reply, because the witchdoctor is no more. I hope this is intended and I'm not just over imaginitive. ;)

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Loraine Raleigh

4 Years Ago

Oops! Thanks. I'll get on that typo. Thanks for the kind words, you definately have it spot-on!
Nicely done. I love the story, the possibilities of losing oneself over time, trying to become what we are not but perhaps could be and the cost... always the cost. I like that the witchdoctor is female in this cultural backdrop too. I'd initially thought it a "him." It is a story; more so than a poem I think. A very short story to be sure but a story none the less. Did you really think of this as a poem? ...just curious.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Loraine Raleigh

4 Years Ago

In a first draft, it was actually more clear that the Witchdoctor was female, and I was worried in t.. read more
Eerie... the stripping of energy, or innocence, in the transmission of wisdom...
Beautiful, entirely.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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TLK
The first stanza sets the scene very well. You show the sparse landscape in a fittingly sparse way.

The myth-logic behind the witch-doctoring is very believable, and I feel a sense of the awe that the 'girl' must have felt.

However, the whole poem is driving -- through fantasy, imagery, and the impossible -- to a very real point. The witchdoctor seems to have lost something important for this bag of tricks (and for what utility, other than to impress a child?) and it hit me very hard. In fact, I re-read the whole poem just to get a glimpse of that sensation again.

Posted 4 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

unsavable_soul

4 Years Ago

Thanks for the read request TLK, Keep finding me great works of art friend.
Chris

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Added on May 7, 2013
Last Updated on May 10, 2013


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