Up on their brooms the Witches stream,
Crooked and black in the crescent’s gleam;
One foot high, and one foot low,
Bearded, cloaked, and cowled they go.
’Neath Charlie’s Wain they twitter and tweet,
And away they swarm ’neath the Dragon’s feet,
With a whoop and a flutter they swing and sway,
And surge pell-mell down the Milky Way.
Between the legs of the glittering Chair
They hover and squeak in the empty air.
Then round they swoop past the glimmering Lion
To where Sirius barks behind huge Orion;
Up, then, and over to wheel amain,
Under the silver, and home again.
(From Peacock Pie: A Book of Rhymes, London: Constable and Co., 1913)
These twittering, squeaking little witches seem more fitting to our modern concept of Hallowe’en than anything more sinister and warty. I loved this poem as a child, and my ambition was to be a witch when I grew up (I am still disappointed that this isn’t a valid career choice – and I do mean proper witchery, with flying and spells and talking cats, no namby-pamby gentle New Agery for me thank you).
May your night be free of ghosties and ghoulies and long-legged beasties, dear readers!