The Witch Doctor by Sue Lobo

He lives in thatched hut, deep within the African bush,where beasts die of thirst & vultures swoop in a whoosh,his hut is dark & hot & smells of roots, herbs & bloody pelts, and in his three legged cauldron, his potions he duly smelts.

Hanging from wooden rafters, are the gruesome animal parts, he chants words of magic, over bones, livers & pulsating hearts, ancient potions & unguents, mixed with entrails, reeking of smoke, while frantically dancing round his fire & to old spirits he invokes.

With all his wild chanting, prancing & trancing, he tosses old bones, calling to his ancient ancestors, buried beneath old rocks & stones, with the sacrifice of poor beasts, he swears oaths & pleads to the Gods, for the powerful magical mixing of herbs, from the earth´s given clods.

He lifts bestowed curses, with dried hide, claw, mighty talon & horn, massaging old wrinkled bodies with balsams of old powdered thorn, telling the young, for love, to imbibe, poison & hideous snake´s blood, for stings & bites, to rub in well, the fat of hippo & the delta´s black mud.

 To call rare rain, he rattles pods of baobab & old desert´s singing seeds, collected & gathered at full moon, by the place of the crocodile´s reeds, and when I visit the old witchdoctor´s hut, deep in the dark African bush, Seeking my future, looking up I see, the old vulture swoop with a whoosh.

© Sue Lobo

Excerpt from the book Poetic Shadows


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Anthology: Poetic Shadows

Try to imagine a world without fairy tales, imagine a world bereft of magic. What would become of a tender-hearted child's bedtime story? What would happen to the Peter Pan in all of us? Where would the dreamers, the star-child, breathe?

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