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The witch Baba Yaga once baked herself bread
out of spiders and liars and red razorwire
that was garnished with flowers from the vaults of the dead,
and sweetened with lye from a child’s funeral pyre.
It was light as the crisp, cracking bones on the fields
and as sharp to the taste as the ash-scattered shards
that were all that remains of the swords and the shields
of the warrior king and his bold bodyguards.

In a chicken leg hovel at the edge of a wood
the witch Baba Yaga licks the dregs from the spoons
that she used to stir soup, spiced and thickened with blood
that the dying ones spilt from their widowing wounds.
But her low kitchen table will never be laid
and her bonewafer banquet will never be served,
while ghostly white whistles pipe a last serenade
as she’s swept to the moon by the swerve of the earth.

The witch Baba Yaga in the coldness of space
weeping tears for the cage and her gingerbread home,
but icicled, weightless, they fly in her face
with the regular tick of a deaf metronome.
Now her broken-backed biscuits have crumbled to dust
and there’s rust on her tongue and there’s clay in her gaze
and the snow on her coat forms a bitter white crust
for her oven’s as cold now as yesterday’s grave.
If you would have it mean something, consider how the magic of modern technology leaves in the mouth a cold metallic taste to overwhelm the uncertain spices and strange flavours of ancient lore.

Otherwise consider it 24 lines that scan and rhyme, and let that be enough for it to call itself a poem.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2008-10-11
Modern Magic by *tightwhitepants makes me miss all the wonderful folktales we were told as kids. (And Baba Yaga is as cool as it gets -- she was some witch!) A spectacular poem with lots of great rhymes, I highly recommend reading this. ( Featured by lovetodeviate )
:iconproofrockpilchard:
ProofrockPilchard Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I have dearly missed hearing Baba Yaga stories.
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:iconinallgoodtime:
Inallgoodtime Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2011
I'm not sure of terminology or the ancient truth on which vowel Baba would have used on the last name, but there is some minor strangeness in the second stanza.

"and her bonewafer banquet will never be served,
while ghostly white whistles pipe a last serenade
as she’s swept to the moon by the swerve of the earth.

I was thrown out of poem by these time structures.

This poem has more than a thousand pictures.
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:iconroidwriter:
roidwriter Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2010
That felt kind of hopeless to me. I read it twice, and each time, yup, same emotion. I liked the "regular tick of the deaf metronome". It's got a nice ring to it :)
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:iconjade-pandora:
jade-pandora Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2009
I wouldn't've known about this piece if it wasn't for =bekkia saying how it's a favorite of hers. I didn't even realize you could write like this -

it's terrific! :+fav:
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:icontightwhitepants:
tightwhitepants Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2009
Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed.

By '...writing like this...' I presume you mean not merely slick and superficial? Yes, I occasionally have my moments!
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:iconjade-pandora:
jade-pandora Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2009
I don't think I'll say one way or the other. :paranoid:

I am however glad to hear about your moments! ;p
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:iconbekkia:
bekkia Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2009
This, my friend, is poetry. I wish there were more people on here like you.
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:iconmreid973:
mreid973 Featured By Owner May 30, 2009
Evocative. Not the watered-down version found in modern tales. You really captured how the strength of myth is lost over time and cultures. And the structure, which others seemed to have commented on, also manages to cage this (now powerless) witch.
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:iconkatelin7249:
Katelin7249 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2009  Professional Artist
This is absolutely astonishing, well-written and delightfully dark. It fits almost painfully well with my own writing as of late, too, which made it one of those pleasant-yet-oddly-creepy surprises.

Fav'd and then some.
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:icontightwhitepants:
tightwhitepants Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2009
Thank you. I'm delighted that you enjoyed it.
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:iconkatelin7249:
Katelin7249 Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2009  Professional Artist
Aw shucks, you're welcome.
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:iconerinyx:
erinyx Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2009
This was, quite honestly amazing.

I've always loved reading folktales (especially when I was younger). I used to read with my mother before bedtime from a book that was a compilation of old folk talkes (for mothers and daughters).

:+fav:
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:icontightwhitepants:
tightwhitepants Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2009
Thank you - I'm glad you enjoyed reading this.
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:iconerinyx:
erinyx Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2009
:nod:

you're welcome!!
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:iconcelestial-elevator:
celestial-elevator Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2008
I somehow interpret this as evil never leads to anything good.

Now her broken-backed biscuits have crumbled to dust
and there’s rust on her tongue and there’s clay in her gaze
and the snow on her coat forms a bitter white crust
for her oven’s as cold now as yesterday’s grave.


There's a melancholic touch in these lines...I think the witch Baba Yaga is very unhappy. She eats children (and others), which makes her very lonely. Who'd want to spend time with a cannibal?

I like it.
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:icontightwhitepants:
tightwhitepants Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2008
It's melancholic certainly, though for me it's not because Baba herself is unhappy, and not because she is evil per se, but because the world of today no longer believes in the magic and mystery that Baba Yaga represents.

Thank you for reading, I'm glad you enjoyed it.
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:iconcelestial-elevator:
celestial-elevator Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2008
I did. You keep writing =)
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:iconfreyad-dryden:
Freyad-Dryden Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2008
I'm going to have to read some more of your stuff.
Unfortunately, I haven't the time right now, but I'll be back.
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:iconrowenabrennavart:
rowenabrennavart Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Oh, I wish I could +fav your Author's Comments! ^-^
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:icontightwhitepants:
tightwhitepants Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2008
I guess they make the most sense.
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:iconrowenabrennavart:
rowenabrennavart Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
sense is overrated ^-^
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:iconfallenfaerieprince:
FallenFaeriePrince Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2008   Writer
:heart:x infinity O_O
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:icontightwhitepants:
tightwhitepants Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2008
Thank you!
Reply
:iconthebananalamper:
TheBananaLamper Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2008  Student General Artist
This just amazing.
Reply
:icontightwhitepants:
tightwhitepants Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2008
Thank you. I'm pleased you liked the poem.
Reply
:iconthebananalamper:
TheBananaLamper Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2008  Student General Artist
Ya!
Reply
:iconblizz-kid:
Blizz-Kid Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2008
Absolutly fantastic!
Reply
:icontightwhitepants:
tightwhitepants Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2008
Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Reply
:iconaveira-asura:
aVeira-aSura Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2008
"and as sharp to the taste as the ash-scattered shards
that were all that remains of the swords and the shields
of the warrior king and his bold bodyguards."
- i absolutely love these lines!

oh how i miss the brothers grimm stories!
first thing that came to mind was the witch from hansel and gretel...
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:icontightwhitepants:
tightwhitepants Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2008
I think H&G's witch was a very close relative of Baba Yaga.

Thank you for reading and for your very kind comment.
Reply
:icontjk911:
TJK911 Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2008   Writer
*salutes* This is really good!
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:icontightwhitepants:
tightwhitepants Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2008
Thank you, I am glad you enjoyed this.
Reply
:icontjk911:
TJK911 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2008   Writer
You're welcome :)
Reply
:iconyarodango:
YaroDango Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2008
Not bad at all. No wonder you got a DD. I Like the rhythm it has. :D
Reply
:icontightwhitepants:
tightwhitepants Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2008
Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed this poem.
Reply
:iconlynrae:
lynrae Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2008
"The witch Baba Yaga once baked herself bread
out of spiders and liars and red razorwire
that was garnished with flowers from the vaults of the dead,
and sweetened with lye from a child’s funeral pyre."

I'd like to hear you say at least this much yourself. I just can't get the rhythm to sound right in my head on the italic line.This often happens to me with rhythmic poetry, so it may just be something incompatible in the way my mind processes it, but I feel like the word "funeral" has too many syllables. Do you maybe shorten it when you say it: "a child's fun'ral pyre"?

That said, I love the imagery and the, I don't know how to say it, but baking bread of out so many things that so obviously don't make bread is a big part of the quality I'm talking about. I hope I make sense.

Sorry for the ineloquence and lack of depth of this comment. But thank you for the poetry.
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:icontightwhitepants:
tightwhitepants Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2008
You are right, the line scans much better if you pronounce funeral as if it were two syllables. Where I come from (in the north of England) we tend to pronounce the word fun'ral.

Baba's ingredients are indeed bizarre in this poem, but I hope they help to sharpen the image, and make her seem even more witch-like and frightening.
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:iconsyrinthaeonsway:
SyrinthAeonsway Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2008  Student General Artist
I've always loved those old myths and Baba Yaga has always been a favorite of mine. This was a joy to read :)
Reply
:icontightwhitepants:
tightwhitepants Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2008
Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed this.
Reply
:iconsleepingshrew:
SleepingShrew Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2008
Well everybody has said...everything...but I figured I'd throw my 2 cents in.

This is freaking awesome. The sound is so jaunty and catchy that I can't help smiling while reading it despite the fact that it isn't a necessarily smiley poem. The imagery is intense and vivid, and overall this poem just shines. You're awesome.
Reply
:icontightwhitepants:
tightwhitepants Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2008
Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed the poem. There is a deliberate tension between the regular, rhythmic structure and the darker meaning.
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:iconwhome:
whome Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2008
Nice poem. I miss those old myths and folklore tales I read as a kid that made me think twice about those noises in the night. I think there is still value in the stories of the past, but as always we are constantly updating our myths and legends to match our world. Although they may not be as colorful as those of the past, maybe our dreams of the future and faraway can fill the imagination just the same.
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:icontightwhitepants:
tightwhitepants Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2008
Of course, the drive towards myth and legend is far too deep-rooted for a few x-boxes and 3G phones to eradicate, and our archetypes evolve as we do. We must just remember how long they have been with us, and how crucial they are to our human nature.
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:iconwhome:
whome Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2008
I think the most amazing part is how superstitions still stick with us despite our ever increasing knowledge of the world around us. Big league baseball for instance.. or the tribes in those remote places of the world that still carry on as they did hundreds and thousands of years ago. Now that's a trip.
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:iconmylovebattlefield09:
mylovebattlefield09 Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2008
Lion Christ..

This is wonderful..
I like how you twisted technology into a fairy-tale.


Excellent job.


Caroline.
Reply
:icontightwhitepants:
tightwhitepants Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2008
Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed the poem. Thanks for commenting.
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:iconmylovebattlefield09:
mylovebattlefield09 Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2008
You are certainly most welcome!
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:iconfire-follower:
Fire-Follower Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2008
Yes, I come to this as a DD, late in the day and with the mindset of a tech-junkie, gamer-geek, fairy-tale addicted person.

And I want to cry now. Damnit. I'd have to go reassure myself that words still hold spellbinding power by reading ten or twenty stories, but you already did that by making me teary with the poem.

Sorry. Eloquence gone.

I do want to go read storis now. Weirdly, you've made me want to go back and reread The Fox's Daughter. Nice little folktale, that.

Sorry again, long comment.
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:icontightwhitepants:
tightwhitepants Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2008
Thank you for commenting. I'm delighted this poem has awoken in you a desire to read more. That makes me feel very proud.
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:iconmablefable:
MableFable Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2008


I was reading some of the comments and just.

I have no idea what to think of this haha! It's simply wonderful sounding actually, it doesn't entierly make much sense to me but hey! That's life I guess.

I like how you used Baba Yaga though, that made it more interesting. You did a fantastic job! Keep up with your good work!

One more thing, congratulations on the DD!
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