#folktober #ekphrasticchallenge. Day Eight. To celebrate the launch of my new poetry collection “As Folktaleteller” I am downloading 93 folklore art images, 3 per day in October and asking writers to write poetry or a short prose inspired by one, two or all three images. Please join Kirsten Irving, Gaynor Kane, Ankh Spice, Jane Dougherty, Kyla Houbolt, Jessica Whipple, Jacqueline Dempsey-Cohen, Chris Husband, Eryn McConnell, Dave Garbutt, Merril Smith and I, plus those who react to the images on the day, as we explore images from folktales.

F 1.8. Banshee

F 1.8. Banshee

F 2.8. Menehune_Bank_from_1946

F 2.8. Menehune_Bank_from_1946

F 3.8 Elizabeth_Bathory_Portrait

F 3.8 Elizabeth_Bathory_Portrait


A wish for peace (inspired by F1:8, the Banshee)

I would say, be still, Mother,
they have no power over you,
the dour-faced, black-clad men,
nor does he call you, their dead god,
a withered fruit hanging in a winter tree.

I would say, listen, Mother,
to the soft-voiced owl on the roof beam,
the silent seals waiting among the waves
at the imbrication of the worlds,
this, that, animal, human,
the same round blue enfolding us all.

I would tell you, take back your youth, Mother,
the golden days, the young hound and the horse,
race with them across the green.

And I would take the Bean sí by the hand,
wipe away her tears and tell her, Mother,
the owl calls you too,
take the feathered path home,
and leave your sorrow by this door.

-Jane Dougherty 

The Banshee Tells All

Well. I finally escaped. Now I have to find some decent clothes, I mean, just LOOK at these rags they made me wear! And I must get my hair done. I am I cannot tell you HOW tired of this scraggly do, and all for performance’s sake! I mean. I don’t know any of those dead people, and there were always several of us wailing around in the air at the same time anyway so it’s not like I will be missed. I mean, there aren’t Old Gods Police or anything, to come after me. So, basically, I just slipped away one night, and now, here I am in Hawaii. Or maybe it’s Tahiti, you have to forgive my ignorance of geography, they didn’t teach us much, just sent us on up into the air to screech and moan if someone was about to die. Not a life for someone like me, someone with a bit of spirit and a yen for some excitement. It gets extremely boring, all that anguish and yowling all the time. I tell you what, I am ready to PARTAY! But first like I said, I have to get spruced up some. Do you know any good boutiques that don’t discriminate against the discarnate? Let me know! I’m just going to hover around this bar for a while, imbibe some spirits etherically if you know what I mean, and then I think I’ll stroll on the beach. Well, if I can pinch a bikini from somewhere first. There are some advantages to being only partially visible. But it’s good to feel ground under my feet for a change, instead of all that empty air.

(for October 8, 2022, Folktober)

-Kyla Houbolt

The Banshee of Downing Street

I am back so soon
Who calls me?

It is coming
Death by thousand cuts

It is coming
death by 10 million votes

It is coming
Death by the letter openers
of ex-colleagues

Listen and fear
listen and run.

-Dave Garbutt

Beware the Banshee (F1. 8 Banshee)

Shriveled dream
Withered hope
She arrives in fiendish glory
Her face a devil’s scrivening
Dessicated gouge of tears

Her curdled locks reek of rot
Her fingers stink of graves
Her gown a shroud,
Her soul entombed,
She paves the way for death

Hell’s fire eyes blind
with hissing grief unfurled.
She slips through keyhole slits –
slithers under parlor doors –
to scorch with piercing shrieks.

She wails the woe of a million souls,
Screams a shroud of ghouls,
Augurs death with keening howls
that prick the spine with ice

Beware her dirge of looming death –
Lest it scrape and scour your spine –
Her song will steal away your breath
And her touch will steal your mind

-Jacqueline Dempsey-Cohen @dempseycohen http://www.MudAndInkPoetry.art


Screams sliding over the frost
Even the trees shiver in fear
The Banshee. She has come
Fingers trailing over dark branch
Her mouth opens to emit a keen
Her mourning has begun.

Eyes rimmed red, swollen
Her weeping leaves silvered trail
On her pale snow-white face
She comes to mourn her dead
O the Banshee, the faerie dame
The first to mark our passing
She is dead, she sings. She is dead.

-Eryn McConnell 

My Beseeching Note to Menehune:

(Inspired by Image F 2.8 Menehune Bank From 1946)

O, Mythical dwarves
The admirable “Superb Craftsmen”
dwelling in the
deep forests and hidden valleys of the
Hawaiian Islands
I beseech you all
from the bottom of my heart
to pierce my mommy’s heart
by arrows of all of you
for I have charred a lot in her wordless-wrath
Standing on the threshold of becoming charcoal with
guilt for constantly lying to her
To glow with stimulus
I need a rekindling
of her sanity
towards me

-©Spriha Kant


Fairy maid or fairy crone,
woman of the mound,
you may hear her lamenting song

or in the night
a keening cry, a howl, a shriek, a wail.

Dogs will whimper and bark,
soldiers flee from battle spots,

and you will feel an icy spike
centered in your heart,
sharpen than any surgeon’s scalpel
as it cuts–

and you’ll wonder if this is a harbinger
of what will be,
or explanation of what was.

-Merril D. Smith

For My Followers

This is the #realdeal, guys. Blueberries, caffeine, haemorrhoid cream – ditch them if you want to stay cute. First twenty likes get the bathtime set. Iron-intensive, extra-virgin, fresh from the gynaeceum. I’m in such trouble for sharing this. Not an ad. Not being paid. Just don’t want my Minibeths to miss out. We’re at 9999. Let’s get to 10K. Keep it juicy, Bessies. Keep it #natural.

-Kirsten Irving

Bios and Links

-Jane Dougherty

lives and works in southwest France. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poems and stories have been published in magazines and journals including Ogham Stone, the Ekphrastic Review, Black Bough Poetry, ink sweat and tears, Gleam, Nightingale & Sparrow, Green Ink and Brilliant Flash Fiction. She blogs at https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/ Her poetry chapbooks, thicker than water and birds and other feathers were published in October and November 2020.

-Eryn McConnell

is a poet originally from the UK who now lives in South Germany with their family. They have been writing poetry since their teens and is currently working on their second collection of poems.

-Spriha Kant

developed an interest in reading and writing poetries at a very tender age. Her poetry “The Seashell” was first published online in the “Imaginary Land Stories” on August 8, 2020, by Sunmeet Singh. She has been a part of Stuart Matthew’s anthology “Sing, Do the birds of Spring” in the fourth series of books from #InstantEternal poetry prompts. She has been featured in the Bob Dylan-inspired anthology “Hard Rain Poetry: Forever Dylan” by the founder and editor of the website “Fevers of the Mind Poetry and Art” David L O’ Nan. Her poetries have been published in the anthology “Bare Bones Writing Issue 1: Fevers of the Mind”. Paul Brookes has featured her poetry, “A Monstrous Shadow”, based on a photograph clicked by herself, as the “Seventh Synergy” in “SYNERGY: CALLING ALL WRITERS WHO ARE PHOTOGRAPHERS” on his blog “The Wombwell Rainbow”. She has been featured in the “Quick-9 interview” on feversofthemind.com by David L’O Nan. She has reviewed the poetry book “Silence From The Shadows” by Stuart Matthews. Her acrostic poetry “A Rainstorm” has been published in the Poetic Form Challenge on the blog “TheWombwell Rainbow” owned by Paul Brookes. She also joined the movement “World Suicide Prevention Day” by contributing her poetry “Giving Up The Smooch” on the blog “The Wombwell Rainbow”, an initiative taken by Paul Brookes.

-Gaynor Kane

from Belfast in Northern Ireland, had no idea that when she started a degree with the OU at forty it would be life changing.  It magically turned her into a writer and now she has a few collections of poetry published, all by The Hedgehog Poetry Press Recently, she has been a judge for The North Carolina Poetry Society and guest sub-editor for the inaugural issue of The Storms: A journal of prose, poetry and visual art. Her new chapbook, Eight Types of Love, was released in July. Follow her on Twitter @gaynorkane or read more at www.gaynorkane.com

-Dave Garbutt

has been writing poems since he was 17 and has still not learned to give up. His poems have been published in The Brown Envelope Anthology, and magazines (Horizon, Writers & Readers) most recently on XRcreative and forthcoming in the Deronda review. His poem ‘ripped’ was long listed in the Rialto Nature & Place competition 2021. In August 2021 he took part in the Postcard Poetry Festival and the chap book that came from that is available at the postcard festival website. https://ppf.cascadiapoeticslab.org/2021/11/08/dave-garbutt-interview/.

He was born less than a mile from where Keats lived in N London and sometimes describes himself as ‘a failed biologist, like Keats’, in the 70’s he moved to Reading until till moving to Switzerland (in 1994), where he still lives. He has found the time since the pandemic very productive as many workshops and groups opened up to non-locals as they moved to Zoom. 

Dave retired from the science and IT world in 2016 and he is active on Twitter, FaceBook, Medium.com, Flickr (he had a solo exhibition of his photographs in March 2017). He leads monthly bird walks around the Birs river in NW Switzerland. His tag is @DavGar51.

-Merril D. Smith

lives in southern New Jersey near the Delaware River. Her poetry has been published in several poetry journals and anthologies, including Black Bough Poetry, Anti-Heroin Chic,  Fevers of the Mind, and Nightingale and Sparrow. Her first full-length poetry collection, River Ghosts, is forthcoming from Nightingale & Sparrow Press.  Twitter: @merril_mds  Instagram: mdsmithnj  Website/blog: merrildsmith.com

-Jacqueline Dempsey-Cohen,

a retired teacher and children’s library specialist, considers herself an adventurer. She has meandered the country in an old Chevy van and flown along on midnight runs in a smoky old Convair 440 to deliver the Wall Street Journal. She is a licensed pilot, coffee house lingerer, and finds her inspiration and solace in nature in all its glorious diversity. Loving wife and mother, she makes her home in the wilds of Portland OR. www.MudAndInkPoetry.art 

-Kyla Houbolt’s

first two chapbooks, Dawn’s Fool (Ice Floe Press) and Tuned (CCCP Chapbooks), were published in 2020. Tuned is also available as an ebook. Her work has appeared in Hobart, Had, Barren, Juke Joint, Moist, Trouvaille Review, and elsewhere. Find her work at her linktree: https://linktr.ee/luaz_poet. She is on Twitter @luaz_poet.

2 thoughts on “#folktober #ekphrasticchallenge. Day Eight. To celebrate the launch of my new poetry collection “As Folktaleteller” I am downloading 93 folklore art images, 3 per day in October and asking writers to write poetry or a short prose inspired by one, two or all three images. Please join Kirsten Irving, Gaynor Kane, Ankh Spice, Jane Dougherty, Kyla Houbolt, Jessica Whipple, Jacqueline Dempsey-Cohen, Chris Husband, Eryn McConnell, Dave Garbutt, Merril Smith and I, plus those who react to the images on the day, as we explore images from folktales.

  1. Pingback: Folktober challenge day 8 – Jane Dougherty Writes

  2. Pingback: Folktober Challenge, Day 8 – Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

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