Night fears

For the dverse prompt. A shoe poem


Hot blooded horse, iron-shod,

strikes sparks against the dark,

with seven nails for luck.

The night fears cringe in shadow deep,

and on the door the iron shoe hangs,

so they will not pass.

Stars watch the winding road,

the misfortune that creeps,

bright sparks, iron-struck,

in their solemn glitter and pomp,

too distant to ward the house.

So on the door, the star metal hangs,

a loop of luck with seven star nails,

and sometimes, misfortune creeps by.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

49 thoughts on “Night fears”

  1. Nicely done, Jane! I have a horse shoe on the shed and one, which is painted black with flowers, above the wood burner. Blacksmiths are romantic figures and I love the magic in this poem.

      1. There’s the magical properties of iron, but I wonder how far back that goes, and what was it warding off? The Christian thing about shoeing the devil is just later eyewash.

  2. Hopefully misfortune passes one by with or without horseshoes. I remember hearing that the quantum physicist Niels Bohr had a horseshoe hanging for good luck. He said it was supposed to work even if you did not believe in it.

  3. I like your take on this prompt – horseshoes. I have the horseshoe that hung on our house since time out of mind. When it was hung is written in crayon on the back – 1889. put it up because it was something of our family’s history not because of the luck, which I don’t believe in. But it is comforting to look up and see it hanging over the door. I think the myth of luck came about from faeries and such being afraid of/repelled by iron. Doesn’t matter though. We had a couple of blue bottle trees in the front and back of our home. The empty bottles were hung on the shortened branches of the crepe myrtle tree, that tree being believed to give freedom from bondage and to help one cross into the promised land. Supposed evil spirits were drawn to the moonlight glinting off the bottles, became curious and investigated. They were then trapped inside the bottle. Although different colored bottles can be used, the most often used were the intense cobalt blue bottles because that color is thought to symbolize the crossroads between the realm of the living and that of the dead. It is kind of odd to go down further south: SC, MISS, LA and see the blottles outside homes or in front of business. But the ground of the South is covered in many scars. I do not doubt that many restless spirits wander. Sorry for the lecture. Sometimes I get to going and I don’t know when to shut up.

    1. I didn’t know about the bottle trees, so thank you! It sounds like the way traditions begin, although I don’t think that people are much interested in making their own magic these days.

      1. Which is sad. What a group of modern people who expect everything to be done for them. I can you one thing, you wil see these bottle trees in yard and such down here and farther down south.

      1. I agree. In the US they dye them bright colors and sell them on keychains…OK I have no idea if they are real, actually (I hope not). But I had one as a child.

      2. It’s the same in England and Ireland. My mother in law had one as a brooch. I don’t know why anyone would think that a rabbit’s foot was lucky. It certainly wasn’t for the rabbit!

  4. A wonderful take on the prompt, Jane–like an old tale that I imagine someone telling. There was an episode of the American TV show MASH. You’ve probably never seen it, but in one episode Col Potter tells his clerk, Radar, to hang the horse so that it points up so that the luck doesn’t run out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s