Tuesday Poem: Afraid of the Dark

Best not to walk
these woods
in darkness.

The mind projects
its own horrors
on the blank screen
of the night.

A rapist crouches
fingering his garotte
or kitchen knife
promising the fate
worse than death

and monsters with yellow
eyes that burn -
the worm
who flies by night
and sucks your soul

out of your skull
and leaves the husk
to wander
as a mindless zombie.

Watch your back
as the dusk
begins to smudge the trees,
drifting across
the river bank like smoke.

I've always been afraid of the dark, since I was a small child living in a house without electricity and with too much imagination! We took candles to bed and the shapes and images the flickering flames made and the shadowy corners of the rooms were always peopled with terrors. I'm still afraid of the dark, though logically I know I'm safe, particularly in the country where there are only the wild animals in the fields and woods.

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  1. This made me shudder. I loved 'the dusk beginning to smudge the trees' - so evocative. Interestingly there is not that quality of dark in town - not even in this small town.

  2. I knew I would love this as soon as I read -- "best not to walk these woods in darkness" such a beautiful way to set up your rather chilling poem :)

  3. Love the poem - also think Neil's book covers are very special.
    A x

  4. Thanks all three of you. I shouldn't be such a scaredy cat! A grown woman? Afraid of the dark? The odd thing is I love being out in it when I've got company.
    Thanks for your comments on the book covers Avril - Neil will be pleased.

  5. I usually love the dark. Like you I spent much of my childhood with no electricity.
    But I guess the clear skies I lived were lit with the wonder of stars, or by the magic of lightening dancing over tropical stormclouds


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