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Monday, 31 October 2011

The Exorcism

"Depart, impious foe! I spit upon your face.
Release this child of God, or taste the acid kiss.
The Lord Himself commands, so drink and stay your vice.
Why brazenly refuse, and gag and claw and toss?
Resist, and suffer more: – despair the nail's caress,
and tremble, demon, fear: – bewail the hammer's force.
For you the fire awaits, as through the skull I pierce.
I cast you out – begone!
                                     At last, the ravings cease."

And Pastor counts the cash while Hellish hosts rejoice.

© Anthony Baverstock

Child witches in the Congo

Author's note: As isolated cases these would be harrowing enough, but it is horrifying to think that they are simply instances of an increasingly prevalent phenomenon, and that while children in North America and Britain dress up as witches to play trick-or-treat, many in Africa are branded as such for real with dire consequences.
Anthony Baverstock is from Colchester, reputed home of Humpty-Dumpty.


  1. Once again, children being treated as disposable items - quite literally. One can only imagine the fear they feel when they are abused in this way. A powerful poem which has the ability to send a real shiver down the spine.

  2. Hi Marilyn. Thank you for your comment. I'm sorry it has taken me a couple of days to write back.

    I'm pleased (in a way) to read The Exorcism chilled you. That's what I wanted it to do. In this age of wall-to-wall twenty-four hour news, I sometimes find myself wearily inured to the things that go on, but this kind child exorcism . . . well, it shocks me beyond anything that I've become accustomed to.

    All the abuses mentioned in the second half of each line of the poem are based on three news reports: one in which a boy had 'holy water' spat in his face, another in which a boy had acid poured down his throat, and a third in which a girl was brain damaged by a nail driven into her head. Pastors can earn 250 dollars for these kinds of services. I'll pass the sources on to you if you are interested. Also, if you haven't seen it, you might like to take a look at the Channel 4 documentary Return to Africa's Witch Children, which is on Youtube in five parts. The first part is at:


    Thanks once again for your comment.