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

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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

Let the Sounds Be a Warning

 

Listen, children, to this night

It bears a warning of great fright

The boom of thunder is fanfare

To night’s terror:  Hark! Beware!

Hear not you the demons stroll?

With menace creep, with menace roam

Lightening cracks—oh children see!

Horrid things will come for thee!

Sounds abound and pierce the dark

Creatures come to leave their mark

Phantoms wail and monsters too

A wolfhound howls—

It honors moon

Tombs do open:

Hear scratch and scrape!

Untold horrors make quick escape

Groans emit from these undead

It brings forth fear

It brings forth dread—

The witch’s cackle is oft heard

And black crows caw

Their sound absurd;

Death is inferred—

Ghouls and goblins swear and hiss

Evil’s night is their sweet bliss

But behold this night song’s end

Do take heed of word I send

The final sound we’ve yet to hear:

A scream of death

A scream of fear

Run, run children! Flee and hide!

Before the sounds do you they find.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. © ELIZABETH MICHAUD JOHN

And because I wanted to have some fun, here’s the “video” version of my poem.

It’s poetry in motion.

Sort of.

Mwah hahahahahaha….

Saying “Boo!”

As a writer, I love to write.  At any moment, at any time, whenever the inspiration hits me.  In the springtime, if it’s raining and the rain splatters on the rooftop in just the right way, I may write a poem.  When it’s hot and muggy outside and the mosquitos and the flies are buzzing around, I might grab my pencil and turn out a lazy bit of prose to match my summer day.  I’ve been known to tweak out a verse or two based on lyrics of a song that intrigued me.  And bearing witness to an act of kindness or malice has often demanded that I make my way to my computer and adapt my testimony into words of warmth or tales of woe.  On my phone I have a note pad app that allows me to tap out a line or two when I’m in my car and a bright idea hits me (when I’m stopped somewhere, of course!), and in my purse, I have a small, spiral-bound writing journal that I always keep handy so I can write when I take the kids to soccer or to Barnes & Noble (I mean, it’s Barnes & Noble, for Pete’s sake!  How can you not find inspiration there???)

Yea, I’m always ready to write, and lots of things move me to do it.

But nothing so much like the month of October.

October signals the time for witches and goblins, ghosts and ghouls.  It’s time for scary movies, horror specials, and dark novels.  It’s when the monsters in the closet seem a little more real, the creatures under the bed are more determined to get you, and that obscure shadow in the corner is not really a shadow at all…but something far and significantly more sinister.  Friday, October 13 is the ominous date on the calendar, and crossing the path of a black cat is a little creepier.  When the window is open but a crack, you hear the wolf howl at the moon and in the light of a fire—campfire or other—flames dance and prance the steps of the wicked.

October marks the time for fear.

As any horror writer will tell you, October is the month for our craft.  This is the season when people are not as afraid to take on the dark; in fact, they challenge it, consequences be damned.  We allow ourselves to fear with both amusement and trepidation, with both giggles and shudders.  We squeal with dark delight at the terrors that flicker across our TV screens in the safety of our own homes, but at night, we shake with anguish when the floorboards creak and the windows rattle.  And it’s this curious mixed acceptance of fear that horror writers thrive on and makes it easier to write than any other time of year.

Ah, October.

It’s the beginning of the celebration of the macabre.

In the mind of the horror writer—at least mine, anyway—this month is almost sacred.  There is a heightened sense of terror during these four weeks, and I am keenly aware of the darkness and treachery that is lurking.  Things speak to me during this month and I find inspiration everywhere:  from the little old lady hanging giant spiders on her porch to the dime-store monsters on sale at the local drugstore to the pint-sized ghouls that roam the streets forever in search of Halloween treats.  Michael Jackson’s Thriller plays on a loop on the radio and its spooky beats help set the mood for thirty-one nights of chills and thrills.

October.

Terror abounds in this corner of the calendar, and for those of us who like to pen dark, twisted tales, it’s ripe for the picking.  Sometimes the ink in our pens spills a classic story of evil witches looking to dine on naughty children.  Other times our pens will speak for the dead, recount their haunting, and deliver their revenge.  At still other moments, our pens scribble the random, incoherent thoughts of the insane, only to leave the sane wondering, bewildered and terrified.

More than any other month in the year, I am inspired by the whispers that float on the air, the undertones of death that waft on the breeze, the stark, bleak silhouettes of bare trees backlit by the ghostly light of moon and the owl’s haunted hoot.  They are stage and prelude to a symphony for the damned, where the screams of innocents and the slippery slide of blood upon the walls are the grand overture.

And I am inspired to write.

But more importantly, I am also even more inspired to share.  Because let’s face it, who doesn’t like to share the fear?  Who doesn’t like to go into the haunted house with friends so we can all scream together, laugh together, be scared together?  Who doesn’t like to sneak up on their best buddy and say “Boo!”?

Because really, that’s what horror writers do—certainly that’s what I like to do.  Writing horror is about sneaking up on someone and saying boo!—in the grandest way possible—and the month of October makes it both legitimate to do and lots of fun.

Yep, yep, I love October.  It motivates me like no other time of year, and despite all that I have going on and the troubles that plague me, October is calling me, winking at me, telling me it’s time to write.

There is inspiration everywhere and it’s time to say…

BOO!

EMJ