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The Witch in the Woods

Don’t want to live in the shadow
of the man in the woods.
He’s gone, here and now,
I inhabit his house
and use all his abandoned goods.
He chopped wood, but I burn coal
to connect to the town I know,
to force myself to buy my coal.
I am not that man in the woods
with his whittling wand
and his lonely plough,
self-sufficient, hardened, how
desperately he worked his land
and raised his very pies by hand.
He died alone, this I know.
I am no hermit, no not I,
my countenance a lady,
my word my pride.
But still, something devilish
sinks inside, or so you think,
I am a witch without wand.
I was something strange,
out all alone,
in the old man’s erstwhile home.
I brood in solitude,
too knowledgeable,
a dark art.
Simply, so you can understand,
no hermit I, I can withstand
living with the witch hunter.
This is no fairytale, have no doubt.
As wolves howl and frogs groan,
my hunter hunts the bat’s tones.
Outcast me, I had no chance,
the hunter captured with a glance.
I shuffled off my obscurity,
the hunter knew she had me.
Have no fear, the witch is not free,
she suffers terribly in the woods.
By day she drowns, and by night burns.
The hunter has it well in hand,
and cowed, to the village
the witch comes to buy her coal,
and is warily welcomed,
which was the goal.

19 Nov 17

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(190 more poems by this author)

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I fear you've sacrificed content for form:

l1-3 - shadow/now is forced rhyme at best, and I can't conceive of a meaningful purpose for using "here and now" in this line other than to make it rhyme

l11 - l12 - the rhyme here really forces you against a wall here. It doesn't make any sense to end l12 with what should've properly been part of l13 except for the fact that you're trying to force yourself into a rhyme structure with l11, but ending l12 with "how" just comes across as detrimental to the flow.

l13-l14 - something about this doesn't flow well, it sounds like the wording in l14 was written for the sole purpose of rhyming with l13 and having the right amount of syllables to match.

The rest of the poem goes on like this so I won't bother to outline all the rest of the forced rhyme, or places where you've sacrifice flow, content and cutting back superfluidity because of a totally unnecessary rhyme scheme you've shackled yourself into.

Here are things I think can easily stand to be cut:

l3 - "here and now"
l4 "and"
l6-8 - this paragraph makes no sense, especially with the repetition of "coal". You can't burn coal to force yourself to buy coal. That isn't a thought that logically makes sense. I think I understand the intent, but it could've been better-stated in a way that the reader can understand.

l12 - how
l14 - how does one "raise pies by hand"? If this is supposed to be a metaphor it's far too disconnected to make sense.

l16 - "no not I"
l17-18 - pretty much can be completely excised and nothing would be lost

l18-27 - could be completely rewritten, way too much telling and 0 showing. We don't want to be told that the narrator is a lonely witch. It's so generic and easy to just tell us this. Show us in a way that's unique, in a way the reader will remember, show us with images of the narrator seated in the empty house etc.

l28-31 - could be completely excised, it adds nothing to the poem

l33 - pretty cliched. Maybe you can research more specific animals associated with Paganism, and if you're set on using the same cliched ones, then you can at least find more unique ways to describe them.

l34 - 46 - more telling and not enough showing.
 — Inuki