By brian francis
Up by the place the old willow grows,
where the river drifts silently past,
there is an old house back in the woods
where hoot owls make your heart beat fast.
And if you stand by the river’s edge,
where the cornfield meets the groves,
you can see up past the old willow tree
two big glowing eyes and a nose.
The eyes are the windows of that old house
the nose is its run-down porch
and all of my friends, when we were young,
would march up there with a torch.
Around the side where the woodpile stands
we would all grab a log for our chairs,
then carrying them to the front of the house
we’d argue about who’d climb the stairs.
Then whoever it was who lost that day
would slowly ascend to the top,
to knock three times and turn and run
back to their log and flop.
Then we’d all wait for the rattle and squeak
of the door swinging open wide.
Out of the house, Mary would come,
her black, green-eyed, cat by her side.
She’d slowly go to her old rocking chair
where the cat would leap up to her lap,
and she would rub it’s arching back
until it laid down for its nap.
Some would say she was an old witch,
as old as the waves of the sea,
and that if she gave you the evil eye
you’d slowly turn into a tree.
Silent at first caressing her cat
she’d rock in her old rocking chair,
but soon she’d start to whisper a tale
of a place most distant and fair.
For hours we’d sit and wait on her words,
the stories were never the same;
of heroes and kings and dragons and things,
of magic and virtue and fame.
Then when it was time for us to go
she’d tell us a different tale;
of witches, goblins and scary things
our faces would turn all pale.
We could feel the haunting and eeriness,
our skin would crawl and twitch.
We’d go running home fast as we could
knowing that she was a witch.
Copyright ©2021 brian francis