The Witch’s Cat by Ian Serraillier

‘My magic is dead,’ said the witch. ‘I’m astounded
That people can fly to the moon and around it.
It used to be mine and the cat’s till they found it.
My broomstick is draughty, I snivel with cold
As I ride to the stars. I’m painfully old,
And so is my cat;
But planet-and-space-ship,
Rocket or race-ship
Never shall part me from that.’

She wrote and advertisement, ‘Witch in a fix
Willing to part with the whole bag of tricks,
Going cheap at the price at eighteen and six.’
But no one was ready to empty his coffers
For out-of-date rubbish. There weren’t any offers—
Except for the cat.
‘But planet-and-space-ship,
Rocket or race-ship
Never shall part me from that.’

The tears trickled fast, not a sentence she spoke
And she stamped on her broom and the brittle stick broke,
And she dumped in a dustbin her hat and her cloak,
Then clean disappeared, leaving no prints;
And no one at all has set eyes on her since
Or her tired old cat.
‘But planet-and-space-ship,
Rocket or race-ship
Never shall part me from that.’

From: Livingston, Myra Cohn (ed.), Why Am I Grown So Cold?: Poems of the Unknowable, 1982, Atheneum: New York, p. 173.
(https://archive.org/details/whyamigrownsocol0000unse/)

Date: 1972

By: Ian Serraillier (1912-1994)

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