Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE BLACK FOREST ACOST, by KATHRYN BLOOM

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE BLACK FOREST ACOST, by            
First Line: Why I am a witching crone?
Last Line: You may go off without an incant or curse.
Subject(s): Love - Incestuous

Why I am a witching crone?
Why I live here in the woods alone?

I lived with my son in a little place—
A hut, and some needs, and some small space.
He was a quiet lad, but a life mistake I find:
I didn't know what went on in his mind.

He came to me and said, one day:
"I want to get married—could you not go away
To my sister's—your daughter's house?
The woman that I wish to spouse
Wants everything here just a certain way."
He told me her name, and I must say
I thought she need not act so proud—
Her mother had a lover, with her husband just in shroud!

That a strange woman should mean such to him—
While I, who had made him alive to love, had kept his life in trim—
I went over to my one daughter's house,
When I saw what I said did not arouse
Her heart, when I heard what she said
I cried, why I had lived with, and born him, now dead,
These thankless children as the price of that living—!
She said: "I have four children, and just thirty is my age.
I'll have four more before I can have my old age.
Isn't that enough work, and a husband yet?
Now tell that to my brother, don't forget.

He's got more money than we have here,
I've got to make a heritage, too, for some far year!"

I went out, but not back to the house of my son.
He wouldn't think I was hurt or dead; he would think of that one.
I ate fruit in the forest, after my clothes got ragged,
I saw lightning next to me rive a tree jagged,
And in the shooting rain something said from the tree—
"Will you learn witchery? Will you learn ..... witchery?"
I can get food and clothing then; I am low, since my children are of me.
"Will you learn witchery?"
"I will,"—yet afraid—"Where is your secret?"
"There is a scroll by you and it will let
Into your mind the mystery!"

I got my food and clothing by winking them, then,
From the villagers, boards and weaving kens.
The good be-thieved sent out their constable.
I turned to nothing in the very chains and I turned the table!
And I can make a potion from the minute making midnight,
And I can make a curse from the heat of two-stag fights.
I can cripple you with the poison of a rose.
I can turn your coin into rotted glows.
But you say you understand me, you are better than the worst,
You may go off without an incant or curse.

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