(Non-puzzle interlude; the mystery will continue soon.)
(Theme: A Cage of Words)
To a Rival Witch
'Who cares for you?' said Alice, (she had grown to her full size by this time.)
'You're nothing but a pack of cards!'
Your people are no people, I'm afraid.A grinning scarecrow, Lovers open-armed,
And coward kings of brittle ivory made
Have secret lives; yours don't. And I've been charmed
By hopeful cards who winked in candlelight.
I'll chat with chessmen, stitch a floppy hat
To perch atop a cornfield's errant knight --
Your pieces have less guts to them than that.
You'd pen a poem neatly in a grid,
Oil-paint a crossword, bronze a puzzle piece!
Her soul is trapped in ink, by ciphers hid,
A cage of words denying her release.
Alive while dead, her spirit is your letter;
You'd never treat her so, if you knew better.