The Witch Doctor
Shuffled from side to side
Porcupine quills clacking
Against the raw hide
Swinging in time
From narrow black waist
To the beat of a drum
That swirls with the pace.

Large flat feet stamping
Sending up dust
Into the dry air
Of the African bush
Firelight reflecting
In the pools of his eye
Sweeping sulphur vapour
Up into the sky.

Cast into a trance
He lets himself be
Possessed by a spirit
As ancient as he
Jerking in frenzy
Now prone on the ground
Him and his muse interwound.

Tribe dance together
In the circle cast 'round
Hidden depths of mystery
Conjured up
By the man the surround
Beating a rhythm
They sway backwards and forwards
Patiently waiting the night into day.

Then he stands up
With sweat soaked chest
And now the tribe slows to rest
Waiting to hear
If their Witch Doctor knows
When the rains will fall
On sun cracked lands
All but dust in their worked hands.

© Susan Jahme