Burned - Poem by Arfa Karim
Walking wearily through the wilderness,
Distant sounds dancing in peculiarness.
Through darkened trees void of rejoice,
Came to me what seemed to be a voice.
Curiosity calling me nearer,
Per chance to hear these whispers clearer.
Through the shadows seeing figures drawn,
I didn't realize what I'd stumbled upon.
'Burn the witch, evil must die! '
The forest reiterated the crowd's cry.
'The needle hath brought forth the stigma,
An enchantress of spells and hell's enigma'
I saw them spit on a soft white face,
Around her neck a crucifix in place-
To remove all her powers of spell,
To take with her and burn in hell.
Ropes began rubbing the flesh raw,
Cutting into her skin like a saw.
Down bruised cheeks tender tears rolled,
From blue eyes flowing, unconsoled.
Even tighter yet these ropes were pulled,
The wicked lady having no-one fooled.
In agony she screamed towards a calm sky,
'Don't let them kill me, I don't wanna die.'
Paralyzed now, in secure fashion-
To the stake which would be her chasten,
And an example to all other witches-
To forfeit their pernicious practices.
She stared at the crowd, both judge and jury,
Enforcing their verdict with fists and fury.
Horrified by such an undeemed ritual,
Performed by bonafide Christians, so spiritual.
'I'm only twenty-one', she said in desperate tone,
'Who would call me witch for living alone?
Who should levy such judgments on me,
Sentencing me eternally?
'Surely not you but Christ above,
Who has given us this life we love.
Are you not the same enraged crowd that cried-
Out in anger having him crucified? '
'Quiet! ' was commanded, silence did beckon.
'Christ will judge us all I reckon.'
The deep voice came from the hooded man,
Brandishing his torch, in sort, a talisman.
Then, with not yet an inch to contact-
The wood to which the flame would contract,
Out of stillness blew forth a gentle breeze,
Which softly doused the flame in squeeze.
The crowd lay still, somewhat awe-stricken.
Their questioning nature beginning to quicken.
An act of nature having them puzzled,
The fear of one woman leaving them muzzled.
Yet the torch soon once again breathed fire,
Set to quench the angry mob's desire.
Exercising their God-given right-
To see righteousness served this holy night.
How they longed for burning flesh's stench,
To see crumbling to ashes, the comely wench-
Who dared to share their thoughts and dreaming,
Who dared to fare the life of a human being.
Slowly, painfully the torch descended,
To bring full-well the anguish justice intended.
But, once again, the wind befriended-
The fire who's life it, again, ended.
The townsfolk grew restive, drawing on fear,
Baffled by a sky now not so clear.
Then the woman began to mumble-
Verses in a voice quite low and humble.
A cloud of darkness swallowed the sky,
As the wind and forest began to cry.
The torch was lit once more in a hurry,
Before a crowd now panicked, set in worry.
Quickly they ran the flame towards her,
Letting it fly across the sky with a blur.
This time the fire finally set and spread,
Consuming the figure from foot to head.
Listening to the blood-curdling scream,
The horde looked on, all eyes a gleam.
In a state of jubilant content-
At the climax of a day so aptly spent.
When the cries finally came to a halt,
The eerie silence seemed to exalt
The mass in awe, still staring on,
At the golden blaze, glowing like dawn.
Then in an instant with a thunderous crash,
A mighty explosion with a blinding flash-
Engulfed the scene, raging with fire,
As to the sky I watched the flames aspire.
Everyone present was undertaken.
The entire crowd died, God-forsaken.
Then the flames slowly withered away,
And the darkened sky gave back the day.
The ashes blew off in the breeze,
Weaving their way throughout the trees.
But the forest lay silent and disdained,
Only echoes of laughter remained.
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