Week 234: Evidence At The Witch Trials, by James K. Baxter

An oddly disturbing piece by the New Zealand poet James Baxter (1926-1972) – witchcraft and devilry may be delusions that we have largely put behind us, but human vulnerability and gullibility are the same as ever, and maybe this account of a young person seduced by a sinister cult leader with promises of reward is not without echo in our own times.

Evidence At The Witch Trials

No woman’s pleasure did I feel
Under the hazel tree
When heavy as a sack of meal
The Black Man mounted me,
But cold as water from a dyke
His seed that quickened me.

What his age I cannot tell;
Foul he was, and fair.
There blew between us both from Hell
A blast of grit and fire,
And like a boulder is the babe
That in my womb I bear.

Though I was youngest in that band
Yet I was quick to learn.
A red dress he promised me
And red the torches burn.
Between the faggot and the flame
I see his face return.

James K. Baxter

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