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Tuesday, 8 November 2011

In Brompton Cemetery

It was that time of day
when shadows are most apt
to play their roguish tricks.
We took the short cut
through the burial ground
beside the oratory. Stones
took on a new significance.
The monuments
loomed up at us
like stage sets
and their ivy drapes
looked sinister
in that half light.
I thought for certain
we would hear an owl,
but no sound came
except for gentle
rustles in the wind
and footsteps - soft
for lack of anyone around.
What did seem changed
from how they looked by day:
the tombs, small houses
for the dead, complete
with gardens, railings,
iron gates and doors -
and windows, glass,
but thick with grime
and spiders webs
we thought were made
of string. We dared not
peer inside - although
my friend maintained
he'd looked and seen
a skeleton laid there.
I thought not then
and think not now.

Then close beside
the catacombs
a monument
to outdo all the rest,
and just beyond
another house - and now
we could not miss,
much less explain away;
framed in the window,
back-lit by the moon,
two heads: the furthest
from us, plain as plain
could be, a wolf's;
the nearer one a bird
of some sort, black beaked,
head framed in feathers
black as the blackest
window glass we'd seen.
"Egyptian figures?" asked
my friend, excitement
mounting with the fear.
We'd stopped. Not noticed
that we had, but there
we were, hard-rooted
to the spot, for at that
very moment both
the heads had moved.
A moment later they
were walking down the path
towards us as we gaped.
The bird a woman in a long
black dress, the wolf
a man. They stopped and kissed -
black beak and long wolf fur
and all - and then moved on
along another path
towards the moon.
Two ex-reflections
risen into solid form.

I am submitting this for this week's Gooseberry Garden challenge and also for this week's Magpie Tales Challenge.

28 comments:

Jim Murdoch said...

I think the short lines were a good choice here. They encourage a certain kind of reading that enhances the experience. Despite the ending, which I would have remembered had you done it before, the first part of the poem did feel familiar.

sunny said...

H Mr Dave,you have a flow of poems in your mind,how can you do that,i am amazed,wel done:)

WINDOWLAD said...

..ah, graveyard’s like a big city of lights where so many quiet languages are spoken... always a mystery to me.. thanks for the poem!(:

Good day!

~Kelvin

Marbles in My Pocket said...

Nice one, Dave! A vivid and tense story, told very well. I enjoyed reading this!

http://charleslmashburn.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/the-wonder-of-you/

Brian Miller said...

smiles. def nice storytelling...nice play on the magpie tale dave...

tinkwelborn said...

I simply love this poem! It's rich with texture, color, and meaning. Great job on this piece.
I'm very glad to have read it.

ArtistUnplugged said...

Oh wow, it feels like I am right there! Really enjoyed this one!

Mama Zen said...

I love this. The flow is absolutely flawless.

anthonynorth said...

Excellent imagery and a great tale to be told.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Excellent choice of words, really conjures great and vivid images.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Certainly the hairs on my neck were standing up like the hairs on a gooseberry by the time I had read this Dave.

I remember those half-open vaults from my childhood, when we dare not peer in for fear of what we might see.

Helen said...

If a cemetery can be brought to life, you resurrected it!!

The Noiseless Cuckooclock said...

you never fail,
what a creation.

Blossom Vydrina said...

the imagery painted quite a vivid picture in my mind while reading, excellent piece!

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

"Ghoulishly" powerful.

The Orange Tree said...

very divine walk in your words.

Hannah Stephenson said...

Eek!! Scary! Very Turn of the Screw stuff, I think...

Windsmoke. said...

A spooky and scary walk through the cemetery when haunted critters come out to play :-).

Zoe said...

this is good - very evocative and almost haunting. Nice read!

Margaret said...

Rougish shadows, indeed! Perfect for this time of year.

Morning said...

beautiful.

haricot said...

Your writing on the world of black is velvety, being beamed by the moon...

Tess Kincaid said...

Wonderful. My favorite line? "Stones took on a new significance."

Bee's Blog said...

Eerie and scary conjuring up quite frightening images. Well done! All I can add is that I'm glad my father is buried in Hither Green and not Brompton!

David said...

Your poem reminds me how much I'd love to relive this year's Halloween. :) Indeed a nice piece of writing.

Mary said...

That definitely is quite a tale, Dave.

Dave King said...

Jim
You've triggered a dim memory. I think you may be correct in thinking I've posted something of this before. I had completely forgotten and haven't traced it yet. You're right on both counts I am sure: I wouldn't have written on this ending. This time, of course. that was what the poem was all about.
Much thanks for the remark on the short lines. That is both helpful and encouraging.

sunny
Thanks a lot. Good to have your thoughts.

WINDOWLAD
Hi, and a warm welcome to you. Thanks for the very thought-provoking remark.

Marbles in my Pocket
Good to have your visit and your feedback. Thanks for both.

Brian
Good to hear that you thought so. Thanks.

tinkwelborn
Welcome to my blog and very many thanks for your kind remarks.

ArtistUnplugged
Thank you for the kind words.

Mama Zen
Thank you. A generous remark indeed.

anthonynorth
Thanks so much.

Rachna
Really good of you to say so. Much thanks.

The Weaver of Grass

Yes, this one brought back all those old escapades. Peering under the raised stones etc, half-expecting a ghoulish hand to appear!

Helen
Thanks Helen. I didn't venture into the catacombs, though!

The Noiseless Cuckoo Clock
Really good of you to say so. Thanks.

Blossom
Good to welcome you to the blog. Many thanks for your kind feedback.

Tommaso
Good of you to say so. Thanks.

The Orange Tree
A warm welcom to you. Lovely remark. Thank you.

Hannah
It was a heart-stopping moment. Then we felt quite silly. Butthinking about it, found it quite intriguing.

Windsmoke
Indeed! Thanks.

Zoe
Hi Good to have your kind comment. Thank you.

Margaret
Lovely to have your company. Thank you for saying.

Morning
Many thanks.

haricot
Your comments are always eagerly anticipated. Thanks.

Tess
Thank you for the comment. Most interesting.

Bee
I'm actually quite fond of Brompton - and Highgate. Afraid I don't know Hither Green, though. Victorian cemeteries do seem to have a special something.

David
An interesting thought, to be sure! Thanks.

Mary
Really good to have your thoughts.

HyperCRYPTICal said...

Ah, I always sigh with pleasure when I read your beautiful descriptive words Dave. Lovely stuff!

Anna :o]