The Final Ingredient

Blind worms sting

as often as

seeing worms would.

Prick of parasite

rips open

our most impenetrable

tomb

final resting place no more.

Decay

the injury of existence

perhaps the slowest sting

of humankind.

© khartless 2021, All Rights Reserved


This piece is prepared for Flashback Track #39 Donovan’s “The Season of the Witch,” and the invitation to share all-things witch-inspired. Join us in musical inspiration.

Artwork: John Downman, 1820

In 8th grade, I played one of the witches in the school version of Macbeth. Reading the play from an actor’s perspective gave me a new appreciation for the nuances of the witches’ spell ingredients. I remember writing this poem nine years ago around this time of year, as memories of the play bubbled up to the surface visiting Sleep No More a 1920’s experimental version of the play that takes place at the McKittrick Hotel. It looks like this phenomenal, immersive show is returning to NYC, and I highly recommend it.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

Macbeth: IV.i 10-19; 35-38

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