The Witch at Arbor Low

The Witch at Arbor Low

A Poem by David Lewis Paget

Annie Trembles had met the witch

As she sat at Arbor Low,

Her tears were thick and her heart was sick,

She had no place to go,

She’d sought the old Stone Circle out,

And thought to divine the lore

Of the old Brigantes with their Druid chants;

Then she met Susannah Straw.

 

Susannah Straw was a wily witch

Who lived by her wits, and spells,

She kept the faith of her pagan race

Designing and dressing wells.

She’d conjure the odd love potion,

And she’d make the kine run dry,

If a body was too outspoken

She would give them the evil eye!

 

Annie had been heartbroken when

She heard that the blacksmith, Tom,

Announced he was marrying Rachel Greene,

The girl from the Nether Farm,

She’d worshipped Tom from a distance

Since he’d kissed her, under the tree,

But that was back in a Christmastime,

And she’d thought: ‘He doesn’t love me!’

 

She opened her heart to Susannah Straw

By the stones of Arbor Low,

With a flood of tears she unburdened years

Of a passion that hurt her so,

The witch had gathered the mandrake root

Some orange to make it sweet,

The heart of a dove, some powdered blood

And a smidgin of ambergris!

 

‘You need to feed him the potion soon,

Two days is all it will keep,

Then once he’s fed it will turn his head,

It will make his Rachel weep!’

So Annie went to the Inn that night

And tipped it into his jar,

And Tom had quaffed in a single draught

Then fallen over the bar!

 

He’d worked at the forge that Saturday,

But felt so queer in his head,

He pumped away at the bellows ‘til

The coals were glowing red,

Then Rachel called for a sweet caress

From the lips of her dear betrothed,

But Tom recoiled as his lips were soiled

By the woman he suddenly loathed!

 

His hammer lay on the anvil there,

He seized, and he raised it high,

Then split the head of the girl he’d said

Was to be his beautiful bride,

She lay on the floor, unmoving

So he hid her, under the hay,

Then tucked the hammer beneath his belt,

And some rope for the come-what-may!

 

His steps soon led him to Arbor Low

By the time that the sun was high,

And Annie Trembles looked up to smile:

‘My Tom! Oh my, Oh my!’

But Tom was surfacing out of his trance

And he seized poor Ann by the hair,

Then cried as he brought the hammer down:

‘I am lost in the pit of despair!’

 

He turned to the gibbering Arbor Witch,

And dragged her over the hill,

Then hung her high on the nearest tree

As she kicked, and squirmed, and squealed.

Once back at the forge, he cut his throat

And lay by his lost love’s side,

Where his blood was wedded to hers at last,

The groom, and his cold, dead bride!

 

David Lewis Paget

© 2012 David Lewis Paget


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Featured Review

Did you feature this twisted tale for Halloween? Perfect choice! I love how you tell such macabre stories of human nature in rhyme, with humor, a moral, and a twist at the end without ever sounding preachy. You have such a unique and amazing gift of seeing the good, the bad, and the ugly, in mankind and writing about it in a way that evokes so many thoughts and emotions along with a generous helping of laughter.

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

I think this is an Idyll poetry because it is descriptive of a country or a rustic life. The story is fascinating and at the same time it gives moral to the readers. I guess the moral of the story is "be careful what you wish for".

This is once again a nice read!

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

a riveting and tragic story, whose plot i enjoyed. in the end it brings to mind a moral to be handed down the generations. excellent work.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Your writings are, always, entertaining and tell such great stories! You should have a book of them published!

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Clayton Bardwell

9 Years Ago

He does. I just received 3 of them. I'm reading them now!
Barbara Walker

9 Years Ago

Alright!
Yikes! I admit I'm a blacksmith, but I have an alibi.

I'm loving the books you sent me. I just can't get enough.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wow .. what a beautifully done work of art displayed here. Always so enjoy reading your writing. I mentioned you in a blog posting discussing how or where writers draw inspiration. I stated (and several agreed) that YOU were one writer on this site who I found could pull inspiration from seemingly any source. Truly a gift as we all thought. So many admitted to being hard pressed to find inspiration in anything other than personal experience.

Beautifully penned and much enjoyed. Thank you!

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Very enjoyable, hope you get around to some of my stuff as well.


An account when I send you my stuff, it does not get to your RR

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is one of the best pieces I have read in a while... I mean I love everyone so far but I am captivated by this piece and the way you weave a tale that makes the reader just want to be apart of the story..... we know the characters. :) I really love this !!

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Four people dead! Seeking the help of a witch, even in the most dire straits, is the worst thing you can do. Even so-called "white" withcraft leads down a dark path.
You've spun a chilling tale...

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

A man would still do what witchery brings him to but will, on reflection understand the nature of the influences that bear on him. A clear and precise statement on the nature of the human condition.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Lovely poignant write as usual was dark yet you find the humanity in the tale.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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1951 Views
38 Reviews
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Shelved in 4 Libraries
Added on July 19, 2012
Last Updated on July 19, 2012
Tags: pagan, potion, forge, blood

Author

David Lewis Paget
David Lewis Paget

Moonta, South Australia, Australia



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