Month: October 2022


In my dog-dug

Garden of Gourds

Wrecked by my

Over-excited canines

You rose chthonically

Out of the Earth

Shifting your shape

Presenting me with a

Colorful medley of

Pumpkins and squashes

I stood frozen yet thrilled

And then you touched

Your bandana

Smiled, I think

And disappeared into

Swampy dirt

But my holiday was salvaged

And I whispered, “Thank you…”

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© Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Gourd Garden

FOR PHA’BENGI RAT (Halloween, Samhain, All Saints)

Working on a novel, sigh, prefer poetry but must try.  Here are poems about 4 possible Slavic (Rus, Roma/Gypsy, Czechs, Poles, Ukrainians, Croatians, etc.) folklore characters to be included.  Two of the poems are fragments from longer poems I’ve posted over the years.  Anyway, thought this might serve as my Halloween poem and I wish you all the sweetness of life, no matter what you call this holiday that is part of the solar year xoxoxo

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And here is Baba Jaga

Folklore’s true herbalist

Her likeness joins my poppets

In spirit, an environmentalist

Sweep me into your heart with a broom

Rock me in your mortar above the gloom

Let’s sail around the clouds drying herbs

Trailing after the winged angels and psychopomp birds

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Kikimora covets the strings of my ukulele

Strings to weave her web

She has a chicken face and feet

But magical hands to weave

Wondrous lacy beauties if happy

And terrible spider traps when not…

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The universe is insensible, ignoring my tears is reprehensible, I am all alone

But then I recall, a faithful thrall, my domovoi home chaperone

I must persuade, the guard of my enfilade, to happily accompany me

There he will rest, while doing his best, to protect against an enemy

I cannot forget, that he must be tempted by sunset, or he will readily desert

There are only two treats, bread and salt but no meats, his attention to divert

When these element-bound delights, that make him contrite, are brought to a new home

The domovoi eats, and gladly repeats, his promise to protect when I roam

 Salt of the sea, sprinkled lightly, on his temptation meal

Bread of the soil, dipped in salt and oil, makes the new home real

 A broom is also joy, to drive away a rival domovoi, beat the wall and shout

“Begone to your old space, you are in the wrong place, please get out!”

So whenever you move, be sure to improve, your chances for protection

Remember the recipe, so your domovoi will be happy, and show his affection.

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Deity of the Forest

Went looking for a wife

Such hard work

Defending the woods and marshes

And mediating hunters out of season

Especially here in the wilds of Florida

Sometimes he led the humans astray

That Trickster gene rearing its

Fun but ugly head

And he willingly led

Those bloodthirsty types away

But today was marriage day

Because the Moon was full

And he changed from a Slavic version

Of the Green Man

Into a human

And he had someone in mind

But she probably wouldn’t accept him

With wild, woody hair and face

Of course, it is modern times

And in his 2-day stint as a man

He owns a computer

And while surfing the net

He finds himself mentioned

As a shape-shifter

Really?  How come his parents

Never taught him that?

So after greeting the trees

Comforting the deer and other creatures

He finds his cabin in the woods

Scrubs his courting suit, hanging it in the sun

Wouldn’t do to have leaping fleas

While asking for the hand of

The herbalist Baba Jaga

And he finds her favorite herb

Bloodroot, in bloom

Planning to pick it

Under the silvery Moon

Because love will find a way…

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© 2022 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Leshii (Pinterest, no attribution)

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*BABA JAGA BLUES | poeturja (

**DOMOVOI (HOUSE SPIRIT) | poeturja (


At times I’ve had bouts of 

Second sight

Events seen in my mind happen

Giving me a fright

But my eyes remained useless

As I squinted left and right

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Learned the word “astigmatism”

At age ten, as a tiny sprite

Called 4-eyes from class clowns

School was such a blight

Glasses stripped my confidence, became quiet

No longer considered bright

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Tried contacts when a teen

But vision still so slight

Back to dorky glasses

Until cool John Lennon’s made it all right

Decades passed but then cataracts

Darkened life like perpetual night

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Two surgeries later I could see

20-20 in the light

Would I have chosen a different path

If technology was at its height?

Or was I doomed to be just me

Blaming with a lack of foresight?

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So here I sit, pushing phantom glasses

To the bridge of my nose as I write

Realizing the eye is my personal symbol

And now I feel contrite

The eye represents Chachimos or Truth

The eye represents protection from spite

Jakhalo, the evil eye, directed toward me

An injustice I’m willing to fight

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And so my eyes, old and strange

Reflect from a mirror in merciless light

But now I can see, perfectly

Each line etched on my face, yet feeling delight

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Even if blind, the truth will let us see…

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© 2022 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE:  #11 CHACHIMOS (TRUTH) altered art by CS