The Witch doctor

Mike Paterson-Jones.

He is old, so very old, his wrinkled skin appears not to fit,

But hangs on withered limbs like the wings of a bat, moonlit

In the dying light of day as the ancient one sits before his fire,

And tends to those who seek his help in matters dire.

He is dressed in clothes old and creased, a simango skin hat,

skirt of monkey tails andon his arms bracelets, the fur of civet cat.

In his hand he shakes his wand topped by a rattle of pinecones

As on the sandy floor he throws the bones and coloured stones.

Through rheumy eyes he gazes down and to his ancestors calls,

For help to read what lies before him, when bones from his fingers fall.

From a ragged drawstring pouch the old man takes a pinch of dust,

And into the flickering flames of his fire the magic powder is thrust.

The faces across the fire see visions dancing before their very eyes,

Ancestors there to reach them through the witchdoctor’s cries.

At last, the fire dies and the old man is tired of reading people’s minds

And the wishes and desires of those now dead, that left them behind.