Poem: Ghosts of the Seven Seas

I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog where she hosts Six Sentence Stories and everyone is invited to write a story or poem constructed of six sentences based on a prompt word.

This week’s word is Horizon


 

Ghosts of the Seven Seas

O lover of mine, O Lily my love, I sail to thee across the sea

‘Neath a gown of stars twinkling in a mannequin sky,

O’er tumbling waves to the beckoning lantern

Of a lighthouse tall on a distant horizon.

 

I pass Christmas islands and frozen shores,

Cross coral reefs as pink as your lips and blue as your eyes,

To find you my love, O Lily my love,

I’m so sorry I’m late – but I have been to war.

 

A war which wounded me yet claimed without success my beating heart;

For each battle with invaders, charlatans and thieves,

Each duel with a demon and dance with a devil,

Did but strengthen my love and desire for thee.

 

Is it too late? I call out across the waves to the pirate breeze,

For I feel I am a ghost upon a ghost ship,

Sailing to deliver the gold ingots of my soul,

And all the trinkets and treasures of my pining heart.

 

Is it too late? for the lips of Lily to press mine in tender kiss,

For our arms to embrace, for our fingers to caress?

Is our love so far, so stretched, so tempered, so drowned and diluted

By all this sea which cruelly divides us?

 

Replies the pirate breeze: Ye poor fool captain upon the deck

Of your vessel bereft of direction and crew,

Ye seek the kiss of your living lover? Well, let me tell you the cold truth:

Your Lily died while you were at war, and is nought but a ghost

The same as you.

 

***


Poem: by Ford.

Image: La Tartane by Francis Bergèse. Heller catalogue 606. 1979. France.

PS: I love you

PPS: **if they smile at you thru sharpened fangs*and no matter how much they dress up their lies with fake gold*know that the truth will always sting*know only you can set yourself free*and see beyond the misery of what they want you to be*question everything*question it all**

PPPS: Look after my star

24/12/20.

SSS: a micro story and poem

I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog where she hosts Six Sentence Stories, and everyone is invited to write a story or poem constructed of six sentences based on a cue word.

This week’s cue word is Clip. Last week’s was Tender. I missed last week’s due to work, so this is my double bill feature to catch up 😊


 

The Haunting of the Clipper

She was going at a fair clip across the lurching tapestry of the Atlantic Ocean, England to America, blue agate skies and lemony sun, seabirds orbiting the old ship as it sailed westward.

Mary leaned on the rails and gazed at the vast and moving plain, her thoughts turning to the dreams of joining her husband Richard at his plantation; did she love him? Yes, otherwise she wouldn’t be making this voyage, but… the but was as stark as the shrieking of a gull as it made a pass over the deck, a black and white phantom of the seas, all hungry and brutal and vital, and Mary gave a shiver.

And she saw then on the horizon gathering clouds, blooming with the menace of a fantastic storm she might later find herself sailing into; a storm as inescapable as the life she was about to commit herself to at Richard’s plantation.

That night, in her cabin, it wasn’t storms which troubled Mary – but terrible nightmares riddled with pleas for vengeance and retribution; and the moaning and groaning she heard was not the protesting timbers of the clipper, but voices weeping with pain; and the dreadful rapping at her porthole was no striking pellets of rain nor hail, but the knuckles of fists demanding her attention; and the howls which pervaded every inch of the ship were no lamentations of the wind – but people calling out to her “Avenge us” and “Free our souls”.

The next morning Mary told her dreams to the captain, who smiled knowingly beneath a seasoned beard, and through a puff of smoke from his billowing pipe he said: “Ghosts, lass, nought but the ghosts of slaves tossed overboard and now un-resting below, aye, did ye not know this route was once sailed by slavers?”

And upon that following night, while Mary slept and once more bore witness to the moans and the howls and the voices demanding her help, she found she was no longer afraid but steeled with resolve to unshackle those ghosts, and a vow made that as soon as she reached the promised land she would burn her husband’s plantation down to the ground.

***


Tender

Tender is the man who succumbs to the virus, tender becomes his limbs and lungs, palest skin, and fragile eyes as weak as glass panes in cheap picture frames.

Tender is the meat he is helped to eat, hashed and blended, almost a liquid, when not one week ago he was scramming Sunday dinner down his throat, unaided, unhindered, unblemished by the invisible fingers of a virus tapping at his shoulder.

Tender is the bed he slept upon here, de-blanketed and de-sheeted, the mattress disinfected, his worldly belongings put into quarantine before being sent to relatives tender with tears.

Tender, so tender, the placement of flowers at a socially-distanced funeral.

Tender are the sentiments we are left with to nurse: the anxieties, bad dreams, stress and grief machined into relentless missiles lined up at the open hatch of a roaring bomber in a midnight sky –

Yet hearts, made of tough steel to meet the enemy at whichever gate it chooses, strong and vital, beating hard; O virus, ye shall know our wrath in the most tender moments you can reduce us to, and by our acts and courage we shall persist.

***


Micro story and poem by Ford.

Image: Suzy la Revoltée. Par Tani et Souriau. Lisette N° 24, 1946.

October horror shorts: The Boutique for Lost Souls


I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog, where she hosts Six Sentence Stories, and everyone is invited to write a story, poem or article constructed of six sentences based on a cue word given.

This week’s cue word is Boutique


 

Editor’s note: I’m placing my note this week up front instead of at the end. This is so I can thank in advance our wonderful word hostess Denise for allowing me the honour of choosing this week’s cue word (thank you so much, D, joy 😁). The word I have chosen is boutique – I love how sweetly it rolls off the tongue. A French word – but one used in the English language.

My entry for boutique goes down a somewhat typical route for me: a dark and ghostly tale, but one I think is ever so tender and loving. The Boutique for Lost Souls is a tale about ghosts and running and dancing and falling in love. It’s origins are in a story I was once working on about a secret shop in which the visiting customers had to shrink to the size of a mouse before entering. It was loosely inspired by tales such as Tom Thumb, Thumbelina, and The Borrowers. The Boutique for Lost Souls has ended up a much different beast, though it still explores the theme of being or becoming small. And so here I present to you two versions of it: the long version, and the short version.

Enjoy.

Ford 🙂


The Boutique for Lost Souls (long version)

I once was a dancer who learned how to run, to run from a monster who was after my blood, and each time I turned he was one pace closer, and I felt his vile breath like fingers on my back, as I ran and ran until I thought I might collapse, on and on, and on, the monster always there, bigger than I, taller, wicked and agile, with spinning discs of barbarous eyes, with cutlas teeth and grotesque smile, a tongue versed in spells and ancient rhymes – it was all I could do but run for my life, like a dog with its tail set alight.

And at last, near-destroyed, my lungs seething with fire, I came to a town at the end of the world, and in it a boutique with windows aglow – a hideout I prayed might save my soul; a shelter, a safe house, a temple for the pursued – and so I pushed open the door and asked for refuge.

And inside was a woman who smoked a cigar, and her eyes brimmed with wisdom, perception and guile, and she said to me: “You’ll be safe here in my little boutique, if you hide somewhere good and don’t make a peep!”

And I saw many objects of antiquity and art: instruments and barometers, timepieces and charts; optical lenses for near and far; microscopes for bugs, telescopes for stars; violins and cellos, pianos and harps; paintings and drawings, books and cards; and a music box which when opened by the woman, held a tiny ballerina spinning to Swan Lake, and I – a dancer alike – beheld this twirling figure with my lovestruck eyes, as the woman urged me on: “Hurry up and join her, there isn’t much time!”

And I duly obliged, and scampered inside, not questioning how I shrank to such a small size, as the woman closed the lid and stepped aside, and puffed on her cigar as the beast stormed inside her little boutique at the end of the world, and how he hollered and bellowed and boomed and yelled: “Where is that fool dancer, tell me, old crone, or I’ll break your boutique into thousands of pieces, and then one by one your snappity-snap bones!”

And the woman pointed a finger to a door which said: LAST EXIT FOR FOOLS, and there the beast fled into a boundless chase of the phantom of a dancer which I once was – and may he chase my steadfast ghost as the fool master of the hunt he will always be – while I, safe forevermore in the music box, with my ballerina soulmate dancing at my side, ballerina, ballerina, O angels did you see her, how she mended my heart when it was broken in two, and a pirouette later, said: “My beautiful dancer, I so love you.”

***


The Boutique for Lost Souls (short version)

“Take heart if you are running from an ancient curse

For here is a love story set in verse

About monsters and ghosts and a charming boutique

And how love and dancing may set you free

Do not despair you will find that place

Of sanctuary and a loving soulmate.”

***


The Heavy Metal Kettle Special

Heavy Metal. Starlog Japan. 1981.


I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog, where she hosts Six Sentence Stories, and everyone is invited to write a story or poem or article constructed of six sentences based on a cue word given.

This week’s cue word is Kettle


There once was a lady who lived in a kettle

Who loved to listen to Heavy Metal:

Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and AC/DC

And many more groups besides these three.

Yet she also loved other styles of music:

Gothic, Post-Punk, New Wave, New Romantic,

Classical, K-Pop, Hip-Hop and Be-Bop,

Ragamuffin, Reggae, and Lovers Rock.

There was Afrobeat, Zouk, Funk and Jazz,

Country and Western, Honkytonk and Bluegrass,

Shoegaze, Electro, Jungle and Grime,

R&B, Disco, Folk and Ragtime.

Then Punk, Ska and Rock, and Congolese Rumba,

Chicago Blues, Gospel Blues, Swamp and Delta.

And all this she loved, did that lady in the kettle,

Yet none so much as her dear Heavy Metal.

Her dear Heavy Metal, her dear Heavy Metal –

None was so loved as her dear Heavy Metal.



Thank you for rocking the metal kettle with us 🙂 \m/