Song of Chains

Clink, clink, clink, clink, clink

Clank, clank, clank, clank, clank

 

There’s a song inside my head

That I’d like to sing:

‘Bout birds flying free

‘Bout lettin’ freedom ring

 

Clink, clink, clink, clink, clink

Clank, clank, clank, clank, clank

 

There’s a song inside my heart

That I’d like to sing:

‘Bout how I once stood tall and straight

When once I was a king

 

Clink, clink, clink, clink, clink

Clank, clank, clank, clank, clank

 

There’s a song deep in my soul

That I wish that I could sing!

‘Bout when I was a warrior

Not some property, not some thing

 

But that clink, clink, clink, clink, clink

And that clank, clank, clank, clank, clank—

That’s the song that’s in my ears:

That’s the sound that them chains make

 

Clink, clink, clink, clink, clink

Clank, clank, clank, clank, clank

 

That’s the song that’s all around

That’s the tune they like to sing:

How they’ll keep me here in bondage

‘Til my death when freedom rings

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  © ELIZABETH MICHAUD JOHN

 

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Perfume

“Love is whatever you can still betray. Betrayal can only happen if you love.”  John le Carré

I smell something in the air

A soft delicious scent

Like floral, herbs, or spice

To me it’s heaven sent

I step a little closer

Into the confines of our space

The odor is beguiling

And yet, it’s foreign to our place

So I venture further still

And I see you there

You’re smiling

With tender words you welcome me

But the odor is beguiling

An essence does distract me

Unfamiliar to my senses

It floats on air and lingers there

And I think of past offenses:

Of little slips of paper

With words that whispered love

To those who were not me

To those whose flesh you loved

And the fragrance still is stronger

And I’m reminded of a lie

Of a promise that you made

But that you did not abide—

I smell betrayal in the air

And things do seem amiss

As you stand and start to tremble

In the wake of my soft kiss

And the essence is now bitter,

It’s becoming vile

I look to you and I do see

That you no longer smile

I know then your heart is heavy

With the burden of your guilt

And the pain that you’ve inflicted

In the name of selfish pleasure

In the name of your addiction—

The fragrance is a murmur

That tells the simple truth:

You’ve brought another to our bed

And the smell is her perfume.

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. © ELIZABETH MICHAUD JOHN

 

The Naming of Her

The night begins with darkest spell

She calls forth demons from deepest hell

She sends them out to do her will

They venture off into night’s chill

 

They set about in secret search

Upon the shadows they hunch, they lurch

But their mistress’s wish they do fulfill

And bring to her much treasured ills:

 

A pint of blood, a pound of flesh

A heart ripped from a tender chest;

Screams of innocents bottled tight

And eyes bereft of all their sight…

 

With incantation now complete

While black cat purrs at her feet

The evil bidding stirs her soul

Intent as dark and black as coal

 

She chants her words for all to hear

And one by one, they fall in fear

Her whispered words consume them all

She stands, she laughs, she lets them fall

 

With her curse her victims writhe

Her spell a scourge by which they’ll die

The night is pierced by screams and pleas

But their wretched souls are hers to seize

 

And with her bounty of skin and bone

With withered souls that moan and groan

She steals her way into the night

And cackles oft with all her might—

 

To her dark prince of down below

These bloody gifts she does bestow;

For evil’s trouble he grants a wish:

He calls her hag, trickster and

Witch.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. © ELIZABETH MICHAUD JOHN

The Wind is His Messenger

photo credit: june atkin studio

 

Wind howls at my window

And shrieks a little more

It rattles against the window pane

An ill and frightening score

 

Night cloaks its intentions

Darkness is its friend

It screams its way through the trees

I sense my time at end

 

The wind is his apprentice

It does as it is told

It whips a message through the air

And makes my blood run cold

 

The wind will do his bidding

And call out my name

It seeks for me this horrid night

It knows my guilt and shame

 

It’s building up a fury

It’s angry—don’t you see?

Its screech is strong  and high with might

It’s coming after me

 

So I dig a little deeper

‘Neath the blankets of my bed

I wish for some assistance

With this sense of fear and dread

 

‘Cause the wind is a suggestion

It hints at something more

The devil comes for me this night—

The wind blares his great horn.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. © ELIZABETH MICHAUD JOHN

Ghost

What would the Halloween season be like without a ghost story?  Or in this case, a ghost verse

Moan and wail, clank of chain

Smell of death, recall pain

Haunts this hall, brings on fright

Shackled man who lurks this night

Smoke and mist, trick of light

Floats on air, a ghastly sight!

Behind the glass, through the door

Children, hide! And look no more

Obscure face, unknown soul

Wanders past, wanders slow

Sudden chill, horrid gasp

How long shall this terror last?

Rambles through, seeks to find

Passage to another time—

Bloodless spirit forced to dwell

Here on earth, a ghostly shell

Shimmers dark, shimmers light

Brings on fear, shrieks at night

Children, flee! Run and hide

‘Lest your wish too is to die

Beast and fiend, man no more

Soul is lost, love abhors

Anger stirs, hope is lost

Demon creature will accost

Children, please!  Heed this cry

For this is no lullaby

Rage abounds, fury too

Care that he comes not for you—

Moan and wail, clank of chain

Near the end of terror’s reign

Takes a soul, guards it well

Floats them both on down to hell.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  © ELIZABETH MICHAUD JOHN

Old Tree

“Old Tree” Artwork by Sara John

Old tree

Dark tree, sinister tree

I know ‘bout you

And them secrets you like to keep

Behind leaves so green

And flowers so fresh

But that ain’t nothing but lies and falsehoods

‘Cause when the spring goes by

And that winter come

I see you for what you are

For what you done

~~~~~~~~

That’s right, Ol’ Tree

With your branches bare

With your trunk scarred

You can’t hide behind yo’ leaves

You can’t hide behind no spring renewal

‘Cause I know about you, Ol’ Tree

What you done

What you hung

From branches so strong

They held the weight of a man

An innocent man

A black man

~~~~~~~~~

Oh, yea, I remember,

Ol’ Tree

How you used to give us shade

Used to keep us from the sun

When we made love

And you pretended you was our friend,

Our tree

But you was his tree

That white man’s tree

And when that white man come

With that rope so thick

That rope so strong

You gave him a branch

You gave him an arm

And you let that white man steal a life,

Ol’ Tree

You let him take my love

Copyright 2012 © Elizabeth Michaud John.  All rights reserved.