Three Spooky Poems For Hallowe’en

Fancy a bit of spooky fun. Once upon a time I would come up with a new poem every Hallowe’en, then for a while I fell out of love with poetry, (I just don’t take myself xseriously enough to be a ‘real’ poet I guess,) so these are oldies. Enjoy.

Sceadugengan (shadow walker)

This poem was my halloween offering for 2007, a bit gothic, a bit creepy, with a contemporary theme, and totally over the top. The Sceadugengan or shadow walker is an Anglo Saxon myth of the creatures of darkness. How many of us are followed by such creatures?
Dare you look into the shadows on Halloween night?

Image for post
Image for post

I’ll be hiding, in the shadows
when the faulty streetlights strobe,
between the bits of information
that are flying round the globe.
I’m the presence in the silence
on your telephone,
the voice that softly whispers
when you know you are alone.

You thought I’d gone forever,
at last I’d set you free,
but oh my love, you know my love
I would return one day.
I would return to claim you
and tame you after death,
I swore to you before I died
you’d face your nemesis.

I’ll be hiding, in the shadows
when the faulty streetlights strobe,
between the bits of information
that are flying round the globe.

My death, not caused by human hand
but by your will and wish.
I was surplus to your witches brew
and so you had to banish
one who loved you too intensely.
with all the love I bore
but will my decease buy you release?
Will it? Can you be sure?

I’m the swiftly moving shadow
at the corner of your eye,
the amorphous but so real threat
you cannot identify.
I’ll be hiding, in the shadows
when the faulty streetlights strobe,
between the bits of information
that are flying round the globe.

The Bargest

I always manage to come up with a just for fun spooky gothic horror offering for Halloween. Here’s one from a few years back about a demon dog that stalks the moors around the north of England. A few notes on the folklore references are provided at the end.

Image for post
Image for post

Bargest (Halloween Horror)

Who would climb the windy height
and walk the lonely moor at night
when Hunter’s Moon is high and bright
above old Demdike’s Tower,
and in the shadow of the hill
when all is silent, cold and still
wait for the darkest hour?

The weak will creep, the brave will run
but none will stay to see the sun
rise and dispel the things that shun
its warmth and light and power;
the forces that thrive in the dark
and stalk and strike but leave no mark
as they destroy or devour.

High on the moor a traveller rests,
a soldier who braved many tests,
whose scars and trophies all attest
such men would never cower
from bogle and sceadugengan
nor anything neither beast nor man,
superstition holds no power.

But in the lee of Pendle Hill
the night is heavy, deep and still
and loneliness gnaws at his will…
Below lies Demdike Tower.
And as the soldier takes a sup
of rum to shore his spirit up
doubt begins to overpower.

Helpless in his solitude
as fearful fantasies intrude
of Demdike and her demon brood
whose legend still was dour
bane upon the blighted land
so real that few would stop and stand
to look at Demdike’s Tower.

Then fear and panic paralysed
the soldier and he could not rise
and flee the Bargest’s eldritch cries
that made the hillside cower’
The demon dog red eyed, red eared
and poison-fanged; most greatly feared
hunter of the midnight hour

begins its hunt for feeble minds
as through the bush and scrub it winds
until, seeking, at last it finds
the pungent scent of fear.
The soldier feels its panting breath.
The ruthless harbinger of death
senses the kill is near.

By quarry’s edge the corpse is found:
another legend grows around
the mystery of the demon hound
that stalks the darkest hour
on nights when spirits pass between
the human realm and worlds unseen
through Demdike’s dreaded Tower.

Notes on the folklore that inspired the poem:

Hunter’s Moon: In northern folklore each moon of the year has a name pertaining to the season. The full moon that falls in October is hunter’s Moon as it was a time when all the harvests were in and the hunters were busy laying in stocks of food for January’s Hunger Moon.

Demdike Tower is almost a real place. Mother Demdike, a leader of the witches executed following the notorious Pendle Witch trials actually lived at Malkin Tower on Pendle Hill. As Demdike and her family reputedly lived in a hovel and malkin is an archaic name for a hare Malkin Tower probably refers to the high escarpment of Pendle Hill under which Demdikes dwelling was reputed to be.

Not strictly folklore but interesting all the same, George Fox, founder of the Quakers records that he was standing at the summit of Pendle Hill when the vision of a better world occurred to him that led to his founding of the Quaker movement that follows Christian philosophy dispenses with dogma and creed.

Bogle and Sceadugengan: A bogle is a very ordinary, run of the mill creature from the dark side, sceadugengan or shadow walkers are much more interesting. Who has not felt at some time, a threatening presence close to us when we are alone in the dark. Most of us grew out of it as we leave childhood but even so the sensory deprivation of being in a dark, still, silent place can produce feelings of unease. It is a very primal instinct and not one of which anybody need be ashamed. Nothing wrong with whistling in the dark.

Bargest or Bargeist, the demon dog that represents fear. It is a creature of the moorland heights of northern England and Scotland (photo: Troller’s Ghyll, home to a bargest legend) and is also found in Germany and Scandinavia. There are many local Bargest legends, most involve lone travellers being stalked by a Bargest and either falling over a cliff, scree or into a quarry. The red eyes and ears of the one in the poem are a bit of poetic theft. They rightfully belong to The Hounds Of The Morrigan, a different breed of legendary dog owned by the Celtic Goddess of Retribution, The Morrigan.

I think that covers everything.

Beloved Succubus (a Gothic horror poem)

There seems to be quite a fad for Vampires, Werewolves, ghosts and monsters at the moment no wonder beloved Succubus is my most popular poem at AD. Its just a love story about an undead girl seeking a willing blood donor (not!) This poem should be performed by a male and a female voice (indicated in blue text) to the accompaniment of Danse Macabre by Camille Saint Saens

Image for post
Image for post

(Picture: The Succubus — mysticinvestigations.com)

Though I spend the long day seeking
in crowded streets where memories teem
she only comes while I am sleeping,
in the stillness of my dreams.
“Come to me my one true lover,
bravely walk beyond the dark divide;
take my cold hands or I must rest here,
There is no way back but by your side.”
At dawn the image stays; repeating …

“Please my love, please do not desert me,
endless darkness fills my heart with fear.
But the shadows can never hurt me
if I could only feel you near.
Find me in this love — forsaken desert,
caught between the living and the lost,
kiss once more these cold pale lips, caress
cheeks death’s insubstantial hand has blessed
Hold me, warm me and reclaim me.”

I feel her here in children’s laughter;
soft wind? her kiss upon my cheek.
A movement at the edge of vision,
hint of perfume; her Mystique.
But she is gone, her light extinguished,
dead; with no goodbye or parting kiss.
Fate has aborted all we wished
and now she cries for my catharsis
Should I cling on or follow after.

Shadow words like sharp little knife cuts;
her message fading on silver screen;
“I need your love to quell my hunger,
sacrifice your blood for me.
Come warm me with your vital body,
let new life flow in these dry veins.
else reject me, cast off your ennui.
One tiny drop love, will sustain,
Life cannot end where love survives.”

Her photograph’s changing expression,
(foreknowledge clouds bright, laughing eyes.)
Brushes shifted on her dresser,
curtains move without a breeze.
A spot of blood staining my pillow
trackmarks, purple on my neck.
These dark ringed eyes say I must follow,
discover some way to bring her back.
Is love beyond death a transgression?

The months of yearning have fatigued me,
I grow more pale, my soul is weak.
I cannot turn from her completely
One embrace is all I seek.
In darkest hours she waxes stronger,
her compelling pleas never desist.
Every night she feeds my hunger,
The darkness calls, I cannot resist………
Instinct protests but will cannot resist.

Her photograph’s changing expression,
(foreknowledge clouds bright, laughing eyes.)
Brushes shifted on her dresser,
curtains moving without a breeze.
A spot of blood staining my pillow
trackmarks, bruising purple on my neck.
These dark ringed eyes say I must follow,
discover some way to bring her back.
Is love beyond death a transgression?

The months of yearning have fatigued me,
I grow more pale, my soul is weak.
I cannot turn from her completely
One embrace is all I seek.
In darkest hours she waxes stronger,
her compelling pleas never desist.
Every night she feeds my hunger,
The darkness calls, I cannot resist….
Instinct protests but will cannot resist.

Poetry pages — Greenteeth Digital Publishing
Audio poems page
MORE POEMS from Ian Thorpe:
Ian’s poems at Authorsden

Written by

Opted for comfortable retirement before I was fifty due to health problems and burn out. Now spend my time writing and goofing around. Home: northern England..

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store