Why You Might Be a Witch

Why You Might Be a Witch
by Theodora Goss

Because sometimes you dream of flying
the way you used to.

Because the traffic light always changes for you.

Because when you throw the crusts of your sandwich
to sparrows in the public park, they hop close
and closer, until they perch on your finger
and look at you sideways.

Because as you walk down the street,
the wind plays with the hem of your skirt
so it swings dramatically around your ankles.

Because as you walk, determined and sensible,
your shadow is dancing.

Because a lot of people talk to cats
but for you they answer.

Because the sweetgum trees along the sidewalk
love to show you their leaves, sometimes even tossing
them in front of you, yellow veined red,
brown shot with green and yellow,
like children showing off artwork.

Because when you look up,
the moon is always smiling.

Because sometimes darkness closes around you
and you remind yourself that it’s all right,
you’ve worn this cloak before.

Because in winter you acknowledge
that snow is a blanket as well as a shroud,
and we must all sleep sometimes.

Because in spring you can hear the tinkling bell-sounds
that crocuses make, and the deeper gongs of the tulips.

Because the river waves to you in passing,
and you wave back.

Because even the brownstones of this ancient city
look at you with concern: they want to make sure you’re well.
You belong to them as much as they to you.

Because witches know what they are
and if I asked, do you remember?
You would have to confess that yes,
you do.

Witch by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite

(The illustration is by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite.)

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20 Responses to Why You Might Be a Witch

  1. richardcambridge1970 says:

    Thanks for this. I love the penultimate stanza. Where do you find such lovely illustrations to go with your poems!?

  2. magicinthewoods says:

    Indeed, last night I dreamed I was flying. A large green heron flew alongside me, urging me on.

  3. Amy says:

    This is so perfect. Bookmarking, to read often.

  4. Dagmar Gudrun says:

    Thank you!!
    Brightest Blessings!

  5. Zann Carter says:

    Perfection! ‘…the deeper gongs of the tulips…’ And that waving river

  6. Sara Raintree says:

    Thanks for the magic of your mind.

  7. Paintblotch says:

    I really love this Theodora! Thank you!

  8. dawn m lauria says:

    Raised catholic tried Christian. See the dead Always had no fear. Then my dad Mom and worst of all Julian my son passed over as they call it. Who’s they anyway. So much I was taught spent fit. I’m drawn to tarot I’m drawn to healing I’m an empath. Always told I’m weird. Also the black sheep in the family. Lol. I’m the light one I feel. Bet. Rivers don’t wave. Leaves don’t fall street lights change for me. I’m incredibly intuitive. Yet I don’t know crap or match most of the verses in your stunningly seductive poem. Live and light. Dawn. Please respond. Feeling lost and want my son back

    • It’s poetry, so it’s meant to be symbolic rather than literally true — what’s important isn’t whether cats actually talk back to you, but whether you feel as though you can “hear” the world, whether you are intuitive and empathic and feel as though nature speaks to you. You sound like exactly that sort of person! I’m so very sorry for your losses . . .

  9. Hi, I’ve just discovered your work through this poem — with your permission, may I translate this into Portuguese for posting in my blog (https://endovelicon.wordpress.com/) with all due credits and a link for your site?

    Ricardo S Silva

  10. endovelicon says:

    ItΒ΄s there: https://endovelicon.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/porque-talvez-voce-seja-uma-bruxa/
    and I added a note at the end: “The reproduction of this text is allowed ONLY for non-profit ends, with the names of author and translator and a link to the original site” — is that OK?
    Thank you and a Happy New Year!

  11. Katherine Renee Meyers says:

    I do remember, some. Dreaming of flying- yes- started as a child, talking to cat’s, dog, birds- yes- I do understand their reactions, Trees ! I love the trees, they communicated with me first! I climbed trees eat their fruit as child. The defining moment was, I wondered about the breeze. The breeze makes the leaves move, I wonder if I made this branch move it would make a breeze. It did , first a branch way across the yard waved back first, then a gentle breeze blew around. I would like, no I need to see about being unblocked. I know it was done.

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