SALEM’S WITCH TRIALS
Now all was not rosy in those Puritan years,
With their laws so strict and their punishments dear.
A few souls learnt so, hanged high from a stake,
Accused vilely of witchcraft: a most horrid mistake!
But in small Salem town, there rose a great panic
When young girls behaved in a manner most antic.
Acting sickly and strange, indeed, truly unglued,
With flailing and screaming and an ill-tempered mood.
Were they demon possessed? With a curse on their souls?
-- To rave and to rampage like a mouse on hot coals.
Now, the girls cast the blame, in a most dreadful turn,
On a few of their neighbors, whose lives they did spurn.
Hearts and minds were then seized by a fever contagious
When the claims about town were truly outrageous.
-- Of magic and curses by their neighbors performed!
It knotted their nerves and left the village alarmed.
‘Twas, alas, a dark age, with so much unexplained,
And people did grasp at some cause for their pains.
When any mishap or fright was oft’ said to reveal
The sign of the devil, some unholy seal.
And from person to person, the misgivings now grew,
As fear pulsed in the veins of the Public, John Q.
And so courts were convened and judges called in,
To see if their neighbors had committed this sin.
Men and women were tried for the casting of spells,
And twenty were killed ere the madness was quelled.
How grim it seems now -- and indeed it did then --
Once good senses returned and did rule once again.
But a lesson for all was left in this area:
To watch for the perils of spreading hysteria.
And when fears abound, as they once did in Salem,
Check if a panic is the heart of the problem!