Poetry Series

The Witch’s Lair

Once there was a traveler, weak and weary,
Fatigued with the burden of travel and bag on his back,
And many tiny painful stones hiding in his shoes
He carried a bag which held a guitar for he could play
But faint was he, clinging closely to his life,
Hoping to see an inn or a well of water
He sang all the way and so he was exhausted
Evening was fast upon his heels while
Darkness; a vile and unpleasant creature
Which found joy leading tired travelers astray
Clung to every signpost he passed
The clouds gathered, strong winds rehearsed,
Further away, the road walked away from the man
Casting shadows of smoke rising from chimneys
But when he came to each bend, it was rocks,
Huge rocks sitting all about the open field
Adding to the fears the traveler’s heart held
In the growing darkness, he finally found a place
So with his final strength he dragged himself to the door,
As a silent prayer left his breath, then on the wall he leaned
Grasses stood at this doorway with patched gravel
And quarried stones lay littered about, carelessly
He thought someone was counting, counting numbers, numbers…
Then the door flung open!
Alas a miracle, he cried
A young lady peered out…
She brought out an arm
A leg, then other parts of her body followed
In instalments…
“There will be a storm soon, night is here
And if the rain storm came, you won’t find your way
Stay. Come in, have some warm tea… ” She offered
Surely great winds, the emissary of the rain came
Followed by lightnings that tells of a coming storm
There was little time to think, so the traveler went in
During the night it rained heavily, the roads were not seen
Pieces of grass, torn from plants squashed at the window
The house lamps glowed in the thick darkness
Rain drops beat up the window, roughly and hard
But the traveler took fancy of tea and lady’s beauty
Then as he laid his bags down, a chord struck on his guitar
Reminding the traveler of a story about trust and strangers
So he refused the lady’s warm bath offer
And will not take the nut bread she gave too
Lying down at the window, he observed the open fields
From whence he came, he was glad he found a place
His eyes gave way to slumber and he almost slept off
Lightning cracked up shaking the wall, cold kept him awake
The fire licked the wood in the chimney when sleep worried him
No one could say though if the lullaby came from rain
Or from the sugared tea cup offered by the lady,
He thought he saw a fiery creature in one of those lightning
And decided to keep himself awake through the night
“What’s the matter?” The lady asked
She must have perceived the traveler’s unease
”I get fever in storms, do you mind if I played my guitar for a while?’
”I don’t mind, so far you won’t get me sleeping!’ the lady laughed
So the traveler pulled out his guitar and stroke the lines gently
Closing his eyes he began to sing as his fingers worked,
He sang of the crazy fat frog which stole a pretty maiden’s voice,
And the poor orphans who got lost in the Wild woods,
He sang of the three cunny wolves up the rock cleavages
And the pain of traveling alone…
As the rain’s cold grew, he sang the tale of love
Taking his time to romance his guitar’s chords
Finding true words to fall in with the rhythm
And before he could raise his eye the lady was fast asleep
Snoring away, in her sleep a knife dropped from her dress
So the traveler played more until the morning sun
But as he woke the lady to bid her farewell,
She became worried, blushing at the traveler’s bye
Wondering why she slept so long
The traveler found his hat and bags
And before you say Jack was on his way home.
Surely, a man’s gift may save his life