Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ms. Matty Revisited

Her name was
Matilda Sinclair.
Her skin was the colour
Of coals, her hair
Was a briar patch
Of gray and silver strands
And life had left
It's mark on her face
Which had hardened
Into a scowl.

The black folk and
The white folk alike
Called her Ms. Matty
And called upon her
They did, although
Proper folk would never
Admit that they sought
Help from the old Negro woman
Who lived in the woods
Behind the Johnson estate.

Black folk had no problem
Saying that Ms. Matty
Was the midwife that helped
Birth all their babies,
But the mayor of
The quiet, little town
Would never admit that
He had summoned
The old Negro woman when
His son was sick with
An illness that Doc Carter
Could not cure.

The fine ladies who sipped tea
At the Beauchamp's spoke
Of everything except how
Ms. Matty helped with
Some illness, some spell
Or some unspeakable act
That will forever go unsaid.

But when the ire of
The ill advised white folk
Rose up like some great wave
And the idea of lynching
Came to many a mind,
Not one man dared
To seek out Ms. Matty,
Blaming her for his problems
And finding reason to
Lynch the "nigger witch".

The good folk, both
Black and white
Would have none of that
And would rather kill
Said man than have him
Kill Ms. Matty.
And if a fool did try
To tie a noose in her presence,
Ms. Matty was prepared
To introduce him to
The Devil himself.

Matilda Sinclair died eventually
Of old age in
Her favourite spot,
On her front porch,
Looking out at her herb garden
Waiting for her next customer.

The night of her funeral,
The townsfolk lit a candle
And set it in a window,
Wishing Ms. Matty
A good journey home.

One by one,
The candle light went out
And one by one,
Ms. Matty said
Goodnight and goodbye
One last time.

This poem was posted in January and I came across it while looking for a poem to use in an open mic. This poem is closer to the original poem I wrote in my note book. I don't regret the poem I posted originally, but I think I should share this one as well.


Buddah Moskowitz said...

A vivid loving portrait - wish I'd have known her - Mosk

Equinox Steamed Broccolie said...

dark and powerful imagery on your targeted character.

Rachel Collegewood Schapiro said...

complete and sharp story.