Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Amant Fantôme

Amant Fantôme

In the time of hollowing oaks
in the gauzy dark there came
a rattle and a pounce.
Memory the housebreaker
stole the lintel from
the dolmen, drank the juice
that sports the flower, 
chipped the rime 
from the quicksilver lips
of the ghost that lights my heart.

In the time of moon-eyes' spying,
in the white night there came
a kiss like falling rain
a laugh like falling leaves
a stroke of stormgrey clouds,
and love was a combing,
a black floodtide 
that drowns
as it recedes.

~October 2012

Posted for   real toads
Ella's Challenge: Hallows Edge

Ella asks us to write a poem of ghosts, borrowing a line from another writer.

The line "In the days of night riders" inspired the opening stanza lines here, as directed in the prompt, and  is taken from a favorite poem by Yusef Komunyakaa, Blue Dementia. All copyright belongs to the copyright holders. I have altered the line because I don’t like to use others' work verbatim.

Image: The Abbey in the Oakwood, by Caspar David Friedrich
public domain, via

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Cat in The Well

First, to all in the path of Sandy, my heartfelt sympathy and concern, and hopes that you will be digging your way out of the mess and back to some sort of normal life as soon as possible. I hope everyone, especially all our friends and poetic connections throughout the fine spun web of the internet blogging community, is safe and well tonight.

In honor of Samhain/All Hallows, etc, I am reposting a  fanciful Halloween horror poem I wrote last year, and hope it will be diverting and distracting after all the real horrors and stress of the last few days for many. 

Lassie, Go Get Help!

The Cat in the Well
A Halloween Fantasia

My name is not Odin (I forget my name) but I’ve lived
in the well for a mad moon’s making, alone with the roots
the deep water oozing and lapping the bones’ sweet arch
that lifts my home, my tumulus a wet black mouth, alone
till the cat fell. My dying was long, my strength nearly gone
till the cat fell, till the cat came down the well.

Odin was a god, (so I heard before this spell) death gave him back,
yet a well took him in, his eye for a drink from the frost giant’s blood
below the world tree. I am not he, but a shrunken spriggan,
devil’s daughter, giants’ kin hung here stranded in small skin
to guard what I can't spend, when the faith gave way gave out gave in.
Even the dark forgets my names, forgets my games,
even the dark, till the one I played at with the fallen cat.

Because when the cat fell the light (so remote, so far above) blazed
sudden and sure it could end the dead dream that crawls
through my veins of a land where we once loomed large long gone,
because of that I let him live, alone of them all. He took my hands,
he took my tongue, he gave his eyes, I loth to stop what he’d begun.
He took my tongue the cat that fell, the cat that came down the well.

So we climbed mossy walls (my cat tail lashing) dank with the muck
of an ancient thralling, slippery with uneaten grief, treasure slid wry,
each stone a stele for a life thrown away, each drop in the bucket red
until we came to the rim, and his amber eyes set in mine
began to shine, began to glow so all should know
the spirit cat was up from the well, with many another tale to tell;
the spirit cat that fell, the cat that came up from the well.

October 26,2011

Posted for   OpenLinkNight   at dVerse Poets Pub

If you'd like to hear the poem read by the author, please click below:
the cat in the well by Hedgewitch O'theWilds

I've mingled (or perhaps mangled) several different archetypes here:
Odin, god of war, poetry,prophecy and magic in Norse myth traded his eye for a drink from Mimir's well, where the ancient wisdom of the frost giants was said to flow up from beneath the world tree Yygdrasil from the primordial void of Chaos.
A spriggan is a mostly malevolent spirit from Cornish folklore, generally found guarding treasure in burial mounds or the like, believed to be small ghosts of an earlier race of giants.
Cats, of course, were thought to be malignant, and often said to be familiars of witches or demons in medieval belief. Other cultures, such as the Ancient Egyptians, have held them sacred, and believed they possessed various magical qualities.

Special thanks to my son for the video he sent, which set me off on this particular trip, and to Brendan, wherever he has gone, for his past input on the one-eyed god of the hanged.

Image credits: Header, Lassie,Go Get Help, by Sean McTex, on flick'r
Photo of the Marilyn Collins sculpture in Parkland Walk, London, UK,  by Nflook via wikipedia,
Both shared under a Creative Commons License.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Haunted House

Haunted House

Down the basement steps of alone
when the bed began to spin,
things gored in
on the mind left behind
with their horns of tin.
The walls were softly talking,
the dead were walking.

In the attic of glass and bone
the roaches began to roar,
acid pour
brainspangled light too bright
as ceiling flipped  floor;
when the bullet ate the gun
the house came undone.

~October 2012

Posted for   real toads
Sunday Mini-Challenge
Kerry asks us to work with a seven line, counted syllable stanza used by Paul Laurence Dunbar, and with a seasonal theme. For full explanation of the form, see Kerry's excellent exposition at the link above.

 Image: (c) Isadora Gruye, of the Nice Cage blog
Used with permission