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Sunday, 14 April 2013
A Very Private Monster
Outside my childhood bedroom window,
a tree of unknown species --
the family at variance.
I don't recall I ever saw it in full leaf,
though leaf buds came and went,
but never blossom and no fruit.
It had a scar down one side from a lightning strike.
On windy nights my phantasoid*
might take possession of the tree,
the tree become a miscreation in disguise.
The creature's bony fingers scratched
across my window pane in search of -- always searching --
for that one elusive crack, a weakness, a way in.
Sometimes it found it, and its digits or its arms
would wind their way across my ceiling,
down the walls, and even scrawl
their patterns on the pages of the book
that I'd be reading with my torch.
It had, I came to realise, as many arms
and fingers as its work required.
No point in counting them. Their numbers changed
from one look to the next. In constant flux,
I would have needed to know calculus
to calculate the sum. Two heads it had --
that much seemed constant -- black and grey.
The grey one scowled or roared, the black
just smiled, as if to say Good day!
On stormy nights when all the elements
turned really wild it aged enormously.
I called it then my phantaswick* -- because
it had a beard (on its grey face)
that stood up to attention like a wick.
A monster of a mystery, it never frightened me,
but next day if the storm had passed, I'd go and look:
the tree was quite unchanged, the miscreation
quite restored and unpossessed -- and far too far
away to ever scratch my window pane. Nothing
of note to catch a small boy's interest, except
two birds' nests side by side -- one black, one grey --
and maybe something weeping from the scar.
Written for Brian Miller's prompt at dVerse Poets Poetics ~ Monsters
* My names for