Baba Yaga

Issue OneIssuesPoetry

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By Eloise Faichney


Your walking-hut[1], witchmother,

hides in the forest of the Tsar.

You; ambiguity personified

with bony legs and iron teeth,

wielding a pestle in place of hat.

Your broom was never made of silver birch,

but of the hair of your sisters,

fused with Ivan’s snatch of firebird feathers[2].


Russkim dukhom[3] is your lure,

accompanied by spirits foul,

if I flinch, will you visit upon me

the terrible hunger of the third sister?

No, aid me in my crossing, Laga.

Point your nose from the ceiling,

guide my path, utter the three horn blow;

herald the reckoning of the Ježibaba[4].




[1] In Slavic folklore, the witch Baba Yaga lives in a forest hut usually described as walking on legs.

[2] Ivan, a handsome merchant’s son, who was said to have encountered the three Yaga sisters in “The Maiden’s Tsar” by Alexander Afanasyev.

[3] “Russian scent”.

[4] Can be used as interchangeable with “Baba Yaga” in West Slavic folklore.


Image by Patrick Hendry