Here’s the problem. The witch
needed to recruit accomplices,
silent partners who actively hunted
fresh human children, then
led the unwilling babes into
the corrupted oaks. One lone hag
would not have survived on just charms
or enticing scents wafting
from her gingerbread doorstep.

No, she must have employed double
agents outside her boundary to
spin secret snares and traps
in local parishes, to better catch
those unsuspecting innocents.

The alternative is that parents
walked their children to
the start of the twisted path,
knowing or ignoring the sacrifice,
then turned back, leaving
wide-eyed boys and girls to
the dangerous siren song
of so many interwoven branches.

David Lewis