Thursday, October 28, 2021

Cure for a Curse

Happy Poetry Friday

It's spooky time around these parts. Jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, and goblins can be seen up and down my street. It's a minor miracle I haven't broken into candy set aside for trick-or-treaters yet. 

I've been playing with some of the inktober prompts for illustrators. October eleventh's word was, "sour." I struggled to find a piece of artwork inspired by that word. But, this post from Twitter fit the bill...leading to a cure for a curse. It's sort of Halloween-y.

Farm_Boy. “Barn in the Rain.” Flickr, Yahoo!, 25 Nov. 2016,

Cure for Sour Milk

If a witch turns a cow’s milk sour
plant a holly tree within the hour.

A witch cannot walk, fly or creep

over, under, or ‘round holly trees.

The blood-red berries lure her there

five-pointed leaves ensnare her hair

causing the witch to wither away
until collapsing on the break of day
that burns a witch from head to feet
eyes, hands, heart, and
nasty teeth.
Then a
cow, safe at last,
produces sweet milk very fast.

(c) Linda Mitchell Oct. '21

Hamish has thoughts on a full moon. See them over on his padlet. 

Our Linda Baie is hosting Poetry Friday round-up this week. Don't miss her gracious poetry party. 


  1. Linda,all the witches out there better beware of those holly trees! My favorite lines "the blood-red berries lure her there" Thank you for sharing a fun Halloween poem!

  2. Oh, Linda, I didn't know about this curse & its remedy. Your poem story sounds like one of those from an almanac, the recommendations for all who are wary of the rumors and want to ensure safety, from witches! "blood-red berries lure her there" - eek!

  3. So glad the berries are bright and the milk is sweet in the end!

  4. I'm glad to hear there is a way to fight witches, and a good one at that. I think I have a small holly bush by my porch! Now I'll think of it differently. It was fun to check in with Hamish again.

  5. Delightful poem; so glad there's a way to deal with witches and sour milk. Yet another reason to love and plant holly bushes! Love Hamish's night light too!

  6. Linda, what fun! I love the details you've created for the witch's demise. I had almost forgot about the sour milk until that last short two-line conclusion. So succinct and a great way to end it. "safe at last"

    I also loved that last lyrical stanza in Hamish's poem; it is like a lullaby.

  7. Poor witch meets her demise when the sun rises; lucky Hamish is refreshed when the moon rises!

  8. Leave it to you to weave the prompt word and the season into a delightfully informative poem. Love it! I'm also enchanted with Hamish's moon poem and the fabulous word choice there as well. You're really on a roll!

  9. Poor witches, always taking the blame for everything, even lack of pasteurization. Sounds great read aloud...I esp. like "The blood-red berries lure her there/five-pointed leaves ensnare her hair." Amazing collection of ox poems!! ✨

  10. This has the sweet and slightly dangerous flavor of an old wives' tale or incantation. I'm sorry I didn't get back to comment on your Sunday poems--happy to see this one again, Linda! Glad you had a satisfying trip.

  11. A most interesting piece of 'knowledge' upon which/witch to base your poem Linda. My Nana had lots of holly bushes and so did my parents- maybe that's why I never sighted a witch, even though there were some I suspected of being of that coven.

  12. I had no idea about this ... so fascinating to read about it. Your poem really brings that old superstition to life.

  13. I can remember running into a prickly holly bush one dark Halloween night when I was a child. I wish I had known this legend then. I cursed that bush and burned it into my memory, for God knows what reason...

  14. Ooh, I love this. Especially ensnare her hair!

  15. I love the research to create this poem the blood-red berries and the ensuring of the hair. So fabulous.
    And Ox's words : "birds bathe in dust
    cicadas screech." also fabulous.

  16. Linda, I loved that you found a prompt to write your Halloween tale/ancient folklore poem. It has all the makings of a good read aloud on a scary Halloween night. I just came home from a Halloween parade in my daughter's neighborhood. The little grandgirls and parents made a wonderful showing of a Frozen cast of characters. 3 days of Halloween parties and I hit the jackpot for fun then, read your poem and Hamish's wonderful poem. Would you like to offer both for my Bedecked In Autumn Gallery?

  17. I'm so glad I planted those holly trees right by my front door. It sounds like a made a wise choice. (He he he he he)


Friendly, positive comments and feedback are always welcome here. Please let me know I'm not just whistling in the dark!