A BOOK BY THE BROOK – Weird Witchy Words

Finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.

— William Shakespeare

A Book by the Brook: Book Reviews at FriendlyFairyTales.com

If fantasy and magic are your cup of tea, you’ll enjoy the Shifter by Janice Hardy, the Apprentice Witch by James Nichol and the Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee by Erin Petti. The first has magical healers, the second has a girl who’s in over her head trying to help a community in peril and the third has spells that predate pagans. So if you want a break from the news, sit a spell and weave magic with great writers.

Copyright 2018 Brenda Davis Harsham

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Autumnal treat

Speaking of gilded tomes, I read the Apprentice Witch by James Nicol, and it was delicious! Now I’m in the middle of Black Witch, very suspenseful. I’m also reading Hunter, Elite and Apex by Mercedes Lackey. Yum, such fun! A little magic with my Halloween chocolate. And here is some magic from Lavender.

Lavender Moon: Artist, Poet and Lover of Nature

Autumn’s door closes as

Winter’s door opens to

A welcoming hearth of

Glowing embers: friends remembered.

Bessoms sweeping crispy leaves,

Birds feeding on filigree seeds.

Sipping warm mead, reading

Gilded tomes about far away homes,

goblins, gnomes, fairies and

Treasure troves.

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Squashed Sonnet


Freckle Goblin wriggles under gourds,
tired by a night’s divine carousing.
Freckle dreams of youthful fun in fjords.
After chasing ghosts, he can’t help drowsing.
Boom! He wakes to sulfur scents and peril.
Freckle peeks. He spots fair Glisten Rue.
“Enemy!” he hisses, turning feral.
“Flee, you witch!” he snarls. She pouts: “Listen, you
ruined parties, chased a lovely spirit.
This will be your Halloween goodnight!”
“No, my lady,” Freckle shouts, “I fear it
will be you destroyed!” He swings his right.
Acorn squash, gourds and pumpkins tumble.
Mashed and bashed, she flees. Trip and stumble!
Goblins rule on Halloween night —
even scary witches flee with fright.

Copyright 2015 Brenda Davis Harsham



Happy Halloween!

The first 14 lines of this is a sonnet, rhyming ABABCDCDEFEFGG. It didn’t feel quite finished to me, so I threw in a bonus couplet for those trick-or-treaters reading to the end. For the meter nerds in the crowd, it’s written in trochaic pentameter. In plain English, each line has ten syllables, alternately stressed and unstressed, with maybe a few variations. It took DAYS to write!! Now that’s frightening!

This is linked to the Third Annual Spooky Writing Challenge at the Writing Works in Progress Blog. Also, this is my entry for Poetry Friday (if a bit late in the day), hosted this week by Check it Out. Yeah for poetry! Thanks to all the great poetry writers and fans in Poetry Friday’s crowd!

Poetry Friday Badge

Bewitching Garden Party


Beware the garden party
where evil spells are cast
by ladies in flowered sun hats.
You might find yourself nibbling
rock cake with a pinky high,
or find your high heels sunk
into fertile, loamy ground.
But that’s not the worst, oh no!
You might find that birds
dive bomb your bonnet
or squirrels run up your sleeve.
Or wicked teens drive by
and shout “Show some ankle!”
Someone does lift a leg,
but it’s only the spaniel,
watering the hydrangea,
right below your hem.
The weather takes a sultry turn,
and you use your napkin as a fan,
only to remember too late,
the crumbs from the rock cake.
When they splatter the hostess,
just chuckle and blush —
it’s those evil spells,
none are immune.
You’ve done your part
to make the lawn into art –
now it’s time to depart.

Copyright 2015 Brenda Davis Harsham

Note: I was inspired to write this summer poem when I researched garden party hats, because my hibiscus blooms make me think of a garden party, resplendent with lavish sun hats. The Duchess of Cambridge is helping make the fascinator popular. I had never heard of a fascinator, how out of touch, I am. I learned that it’s an artful concoction that decorates a woman’s head, designed to fascinate. The word fascinate ultimately comes from the Latin fascinum, “an evil spell.” I immediately imagined what evil spells could be woven at a Garden Party. I hope you like the results. Perhaps you have some disasters to add that have happened to you in real life or imagination.

Weather Witch


Tempers ran high when the snow started to fall.
Frog would not come out of his palace at all.
Orla Fairy drank cup after cup of tea.
Jake the Forest Snip, belligerent was he.

Down the slippery village road he stalked.
Approaching all the closed doors: Bang! bang! he knocked.
A Siberian tiger paced and snarled,
Snow piled onto his fur, nails old and gnarled.

Forest Snip banged on the Weather Witch’s door,
Calling out, “What are you thinking, you great bore!”
“You tell her,” said the old tiger with a grin.
“Stop your banging!” came a shrill voice from within.

Out with demands came a magnificent mouse:
“Stop making a racket in front of my house!”
“We all talked and decided, it would be spring!”
Jake the Forest Snip’s words had a rousing ring.

Fairy Orla put down her tea, now resigned.
Outside, she said: “Mags, an accord was designed.”
“Don’t you dare call me Mags,” the Weather Witch grumped.
“But why did you change your mind? We are all stumped,”

Fairy Orla inquired. “Dear, we all see snow.”
“Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, you know!
How can I ignore that?” asked the Weather Witch.
The tiger’s black and white striped fur gave a twitch.

He growled: “Don’t tell me we have to wait six weeks!”
Fairy Orla sadly brushed snow from her cheeks.
“All this cold for a Pennsylvania rodent?”
Fairy Orla snapped, ending quite despondent.

The witch scratched her mouse whiskers with tiny nails.
“There might be a way, but if done wrong it fails.
Gather some helleborus, ginger root, moss,
Shrew coat clippings, raven feathers, grassy floss,”

The Witch listed, hugging her pink coat tightly.
“Gather all that, my friends, gather it sprightly.
A brew will I prepare that will end this storm,”
Gravely she spoke, looking at snowflakes, forlorn.

All but the ginger root came quickly to hand.
Not one could be found on fairy village land.
They bartered for roots with five passing tinkers,
But Forest Snip lost them dicing with drinkers.

Now all were snarling at Jake the Forest Snip.
He left to go south on an extended trip.
More and more snowflakes drifted quietly down.
“Each thing has its time,” quoth the mouse with a frown.

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham

White Witch in Winter

Winter Berries

Conjure me a warm day;
Bend holly into a wreath.
Leave trinkets where they lay,
Intertwine grasses from the heath.

Weave in some dried lavender,
Intersperse some winter berries,
Neglect not magical provender,
Add a curl of thyme for the fairies.

In the gloaming, carry it nigh.
“With some warmth, you’ll be blessed,”
Spake the White Witch’s soft sigh.
“I take with joy these things for my nest.”

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham

Notes: Inspired by the Sunday Whirl, Wordle 144.