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Hansel and Gretel – the poem

This fantasy poem follows the classic story line of Hansel and Gretel, and how they wander into the forest, are captured by an evil witch, and finally make their escape. The poem is true to the fairy tale, and although I have never considered it one of my better or best poems – it is one of the most popular on the site.
©2013 by Jon Gutmacher
Hansel and Gretel
ah, so young
in the forest
having fun
picking berries
from the brush
tasting each
not in a rush

Deeper, deeper
both do go
deep in forest
they should know
not to do
what they have done
. . . now shadows grow . . .
the night will come

Suddenly lost
no path but trees
Gretel falls
upon her knees
“Hansel, what will we do now?
“I fear we’re lost
“I don’t know how”

Then a clearing
begins to grow
a joyous light
a wondrous glow
coming closer
what to see?
a candy cottage
How can that be?

Out of nowhere
an old woman there
invites them in
they have no care
gives them lots of things to eat
suddenly
they fall asleep

Wake to find them
in a cage
no escape
and quite afraid
the old woman now
a witch, you see
feeds them daily
just candy

Gretel is now
made a slave
does witches bidding
while always chained
while Hansel is kept
within the cage
getting fatter
life unmade

Each day the witch
checks Hansel out
feels his finger
getting stout
waiting for the fat to grow
then she’ll cook him
really slow

Hansel knows
the witch can’t see
her eyesight bad
as it can be
so he tricks her
with a bone
“His finger, too lean!”
the witch does moan

But after days
and days go by
her hunger grows
and that’s no lie
she heats the oven
very hot
so she can cook Hansel
on the spot

But Gretel senses
what will come
she must act now
she cannot run
the oven burning
ah, so hot
the witch tells Gretel
to check the slot

“Go open the door”
“See if the embers are red”
“I’ll bake a pie”
That’s what she said
But in her mind
the witch does know
that when Gretel opens the oven
her foot will go
and push Gretel in
and cook her good
a tasty child
cooked over wood

But Gretel fakes
she does not know
how to open the oven
not fast or slow
and the witch
who’d take her life
bends to show her
while she holds a knife

And Gretel sees
what she has planned
pushes evil witch in
and lets her land
inside the oven
then locks its door
the witch burns up
and is no more

Then releases Hansel
they both are saved
they leave the cottage
no more her slaves
and make it back
to whence they came

Yes . . .
Hansel and Gretel
that was
their name

The photograph is from a Grimm’s children’s storybook illustrated by, Patricia Donna
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