The Suitcase Lady


October 29, 2013, 10:28 pm

One of my favorite Halloween poems is by Nancy Willard, children’s poet extraordinaire. She delightfully describes the trickiness of concocting a perfect potion:

You must take special care of potions,
syrups and essences and lotions.
You know the work will not go well
if you should mispronounce a spell.
A single lapse in common sense
can have a fatal consequence.
The last apprentice took no time
to learn a complicated rhyme
that turned a lily to a lock.
He turned into a hollyhock.
For magic free of aggravation,

If I could brew up a potion, it would not be a love potion. People can make that kind of magic happen all by themselves.

A kindness potion is what I would stir up. I figure a concoction to melt hearts of stone is sorely needed in the world at this moment. People who delight in taking school lunches away from hungry children and food stamps from poor families would get a good dose of my potion. All the immigrant-haters, racists and homophobes would also be served along with the folks who believe that every problem can be solved with a gun.

The main ingredient in my magic potion would be empathy with vibrant tones of compassion, tolerance and charity stirred into the brew.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if magical thinking worked in the real world?


1 Comment for this entry

  • eve

    Mary–Oh this is delightful/1 Whimsical but then serious. Lovely images, too. Thanks for the magic–the wise magic, I mean. evie