Singing to the wind

When Damien asked me if I’d like to contribute a ghostly poem or two to his Halloween podcast, I wasn’t up to writing anything new, especially nothing unsettling. Now that life is limping along again, the creepy, ghostly stuff seems easier to write. This one can be for the earthweal prompt.

Singing to the wind

I sing my songs in the winter wind,
I sing them for the plucked and skinned;
bless them Father, for they have sinned.

My sins are pale and holy songs
that sweep away all rights, all wrongs
and leave the rest where it belongs.

In dark of moon and dark of night,
I sing the songs of holy light,
and pluck the stars that died of fright.

Come, watch me pull the moon around,
in her empty belly, no saviour’s found,
this year will die without a sound.


Halloween special poetry reading

I didn’t think to look for a link to Damien Donnelly’s latest media event yesterday. Here it is in time for the big evening. Have a listen. As well as Damien, you can hear Merril Smith and Sarah Connor (and myself) among a star-studded cast. Thank you, Damien for putting this together. It was great fun.

A candle shines out bold

A cascade poem for the dverse Halloween monster prompt.


A candle shines out bold into the dark,

The sign that beckons, leading dear ones home,

For some were never dear that still are dead,

Not all the dead who walk this night find rest.


I shuffle down the lonely lane this night,

The night the veil drops between life and death,

I search for warmth to chase the dark earth’s chill,

A candle shines out bold into the dark.


I feel them flutter past to sit once more,

Among their loved ones, drawn like moths to flame,

I follow, shambling in their phantom steps,

The sign that beckons, leading dear ones home.


I howl with pain that no one thinks of me,

With anger that all doors are bolted, barred,

Against the likes of me, shunned from the feast,

For some were never dear that still are dead.


I paw the door and beat the window pane,

Cajole and whine, the dogs bark, none will come,

Take care to leave no casement wide for me,

Not all the dead that walk this night want rest.

No fear of the dark

Today is the first of Colleen Chesebro’s November prompts. The words to use are Night and Fright—or rather their synonyms, not the words themselves. Since today is also Samhain, or Halloween if you prefer, I’ve written a seasonal haibun, and dedicated the first haiku to Colleen.

Today marks the turning of the year into the dark, the beginning of winter, hunger and cold. We build our fires high to symbolise the sun, and send the flames high into the night as a token of our faith that light and warmth will return. Tonight, the walls grow thin between this world and the other, and we listen, avidly, for the voices of those who have already gone through the door, hoping to entice them back among us for this one night of the year.

No fear of the dark

except for the trembling mouse,

waiting for fox pounce.

Do not listen to the words of the priests who took away this day from our lost loved ones and gave it to their worthy saints. Ignore the candles they light to chase the fearful shadows in their gloomy churches. Tonight is Samhain, when the dead reach out a hand to the living and say, live, love, and remember.

Owls will hunt tonight,

silent-winged, keen-eyed, with souls

gathered in their wings.

Microfiction challenge Isle of the Dead: the entries

I had a feeling this painting would get the horror juices flowing, and it did! Great stories this week, very much in keeping with the season. I enjoyed reading these stories very much and hope you did too.



Lorraine (Frilly to some of you)

JD’s Microfiction Challenge, Isle of the Dead: Amphitheater of the Spirits: revised – My Frilly Freudian Slip


Microfiction Challenge: Isle of the Dead – Ann WJ White E


Microfiction challenge #20: Isle of the Dead | Morpethroad


neelwritesblog/microfiction-200wordstory/isleofthedead/#02/29/10/2016 | neelwritesblog


Isle of the Dead: Microfiction | Yesterday and today: Merril’s historical musings


Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge: The flight of Little Wren – Word Shamble


Isle of the Dead – Leara writes and other creative things…


Regulation 14/234 of 96 #microfiction | TanGental


The Isle: A Microfiction – Clockwork Clouds


Microfiction: Last rites – Jane Dougherty Writes

And Bill gets left until last place again because of the spooky white space he trails after his link.

Moon Watch


Microfiction challenge #20: Isle of the Dead

A nice cheery subject this week. That’s the title of the painting, which I think is eerily beautiful. It’s a pretty small island if it’s meant to stock all the dead ever, so maybe it’s like the Tardis? Or the portal to another dimension? Where is it, and who is in the boat?

There’s lots to get your Halloween teeth into with this one. What I would suggest, if you want to keep on good terms with me, is not to mention pumpkins, or werewolves, or vampires. Keep it classic, please.

Post your stories in the comments below before next Thursday, and have fun!


Poetry challenge #3 :the entries


The third challenge on the theme of Samhain attracted another beautiful crop of poems. Darkness, death and the otherworld/afterlife obviously have great appeal.
Here are your sept poems, in order of appearance.

Peter Bouchier was first (again!)

then Jim, who I’m pleased to say has left a twitter link this time—thanks Jim 🙂

fest we leave
gifts to Aos Śi
to protect
our foods

@the _release_101

Ben Naga created a whole sequence. Spectacular!


Samhain’s come
The Dark Season
Breathes a chill

And yet
Has no warmth
I’m shivering
What’s that sound?
A door

T’is the sidhe*
The Otherworld

Oh my
May I dare?
Go find her there
My heart’s love
Passed on


*pron. shee.

Kat Myrman’s contribution

Kris the Bard. His blog link is here.

You play
Lost in time
While I await
My love’s

This one is from Deuxiemepeaux

Of the
Flame, find them,
Raise them, once more
To life, lust,
Thirst for

Sky darkens
While flames flicker,
Hearts flutter,

You can visit Damien’s blog here for more poems.

Jennifer Knoblock’s entry is here

Next Elusive Trope:

Mound of Hostages

of fog
shape of man
passage denied
this one night

A trickortreater from rivrvlogr
rings your bell
on Halloween
he’s there for
bars from

Ali Isaac contributed two septs, very originally titled 1. and 2. 🙂

leap high.
As sun slips,
darkness hovers
with the ghosts
and lost

rode the
sky, laughing.
Queen of the night.
But no more.
Now she

Another classic Halloween entry from vhosking for whom I can’t find a link 😦
And I now have a link!

Pumpkin carved
Shapes create

A scary duo from Janice

bass strumming
warns danger lurks,
Rain lashed strings

figure lurks,
Eerie chimes bend,
bell rings

Finally, The Secret Keeper sent this one in

Thank you all for the fun and the beautiful poems. The next challenge will be posted tomorrow. See you then.

Microfiction for Samhain: Candlelight

Painting by de La Tour

Night falls and the wind rises. The poplars along the stream bend and whisper, and night voices in the wind catch her attention as she sets the table for two. The room is silent except for the crackle of the fire in the hearth and the even ticking of the clock. She prods the potatoes in the pot with a fork, while the bacon waits patiently for the pan to heat. Six rashers—he always had a big appetite.
The candle on the window ledge gutters, bending in a sharp draught and straightening up again. The cat on the chair by the fire bends one ear, half-opens narrow eyes. The dog by the door whimpers. Night deepens. Darkness thickens beyond the window, and the wind rattles the latch on the door.
Tap tap tap.
The cat’s eyes open wide. The dog stands, tail wagging. She opens the door, and the night enters, warm and soft and gentle. The cat leaves him his place by the fire, the dog curls up at his feet, and she takes the cold hands in hers, holds them as she used to. Just for this one night of the year, they are warm again, warm as her heart.