Treasure Island

Colleen Courtney

(10/13/65 / Massachusetts)

The Witch's Grave


In a little town
Down a lonely back road
There sits a small cemetery
From outside the gates
It seems nothing special
Just an ordinary graveyard
Some tombstones recently placed
Sturdy with their glossy sheen and
Deeply carved lettering
Others just thin slabs
Of gray slate
Writing barely legible
And seeming as if the waft of
A slight breeze could topple
Them at anytime

In the center of this small
Country graveyard
Rise two tall pines
Spaced a few feet apart and
Enclosed by overgrown bushes
But herein is where its
Secret treasure lies

Through all the bramble and
Between these two pine trees
Unbeknownst to so many
Rests 'The Witch's Grave'

Her headstone is one of those
Very thin slabs of gray
Inscribed with a lengthy epitaph
Which unfortunately can
No longer be read
A few feet away
Facing the headstone
Sits a smaller tombstone
This I've learned is what was
Once known as the footstone
An old custom done away with
Many years ago

The tale has it that this is
The final resting place of
The only woman to ever be accused of
Being a practicing witch in
This small country town

As I stand in this dense thicket
Hidden from view to all
I ponder upon the life of
This lost soul
The ordeal she must have endured
Being shunned by a whole community
I wonder
What if she were innocent?
And I think how very sad that
After spending her whole adulthood
Being ostricized
A pariah to a town of ignorants
That even in death
This poor woman still
Remains hidden
Still an outcast
Though centuries have passed

A tear glides down as
I lay a bright red rose
At the base of her headstone
A splash of color and
A token of solidarity
In her dull and unkempt world

I step out of this copse of gloom
And smile as I emerge back
Into the sunlight of
Today's more forgiving times.

Submitted: Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Edited: Thursday, May 22, 2014

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

True story. Real cemetery. Real grave. Real me.

Comments about this poem (The Witch's Grave by Colleen Courtney )

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  • Amitava Sur (7/30/2014 6:40:00 AM)

    I liked your lovely story telling which is elaborated in a very lovely detailing about an unfortunate lady... loved it (Report) Reply

  • Luana Del Lobo (7/15/2014 1:24:00 PM)

    Liked your poetry style! I love this kind of poems that potray a little story in order to make the reader to understand better the poem's true meaning!
    Loved it! :) (Report) Reply

  • Bri Edwards (7/9/2014 11:51:00 PM)

    Real cemetery. Real grave. Real me. Real cool! thanks for sharing.

    i could picture some of those gravestones you described, as i too have seen them.

    reminds me of The Scarlet Letter gal, though she was not accused of being a witch, and of some muslim women and others that i hear of being stoned or burned or whipped for offenses......against religion or their families.....TODAY! yikes! : (
    bri :) (Report) Reply

  • Hans Vr (7/6/2014 4:54:00 AM)

    Superb experience written in melodious verses.
    What makes our experiences special is often the thoughts we think.
    Your pity for the woman and the very strong ending are wonderfully recounted here and can be a source of inspiration and wisdom for all readers.
    Excellent work (Report) Reply

  • Harindhar Reddy (7/2/2014 9:56:00 AM)

    Keen and classy observation. Your poem evoked sadness from heart. Your narration is great. You are an amazing poetess! (Report) Reply

  • Pinondang Situmeang (6/29/2014 10:45:00 PM)

    I wonder, how did you find such story that no one notice. Yes, agree she might be innocent but forgotten. You wrote such details (Report) Reply

  • Ed Nigma (6/29/2014 6:54:00 PM)

    I have a poem entitled Joan remembers Jesus as well as a song I wrote about the witches of Salem this poem reminded me of those. This is a very detailed poem and the imagery is quite poignant! I loved reading it. I would venture to say based off how it was written, that this, in itself could be written into a short story format or even a trilogy of poems. Where this would either be the middle or end part of the trilogy. I could definitely see and would love to read a prelude to this story as well as the finish of the witches life. So I guess this would be the end of the trilogy either way. Just a thought or a mild suggestion ;) hint hint* nicely done.

    Allan Gerard~ (Report) Reply

  • Nalini Jyotsana Chaturvedi (6/26/2014 10:48:00 PM)

    Beautiful description and what a thought...for many fouls might have been stoned to death if born in the previous eras. Now just considered different not dangerous (Report) Reply

  • Valerie Dohren (6/26/2014 12:59:00 PM)

    I am quite sure she was innocent, as were all of those poor women unfortunate enough to live in those dreadful times. A very sad and poignant tale. (Report) Reply

  • Daniel Y. (6/26/2014 11:28:00 AM)

    What can a person say to prove they're not a witch? I'M NOT A WITCH is exactly what a witch would say, they said. Those who admit can be forgiven, and are further evidence for the lies of those who deny. And so everyone self-incriminates, whether they admit to it or not. But this is not a dialetheism, it is a fallacy.

    Real witches from the medieval times were beloved by their communities for medicine and wisdom. To convict them due to unorthodoxy demonstrates a lack of love and understanding, and of continuing forgiveness. Those accused witches who were not, were victims of envy and fear. Manifesting and growing in power and influence across the nations.

    I doubt very much that there is a SUNLIGHT OF TODAYS MORE FORGIVING TIMES. I think it is more subtle and difficult to see, because it is our own prejudice and not someone elses. As Nietzsche said, There is no truth, there is only interpretation. The people of the town were not completely ignorant, nor completely wicked. They were scared, intelligent people. So, in my opinion, the rose should be laid not just as apology, or respect, or sadness; but in recognition that in their shoes we probably would have done the same. (Report) Reply

  • Deepak Kumar Pattanayak (6/22/2014 2:42:00 AM)

    A very touching poem.............outcast as a witch in life still an outcast in grave...........I wonder in which part of the
    world and in which part of time we are living? ......... (Report) Reply

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