F 1.10. dullahan-irish-headless-horseman
F 2.10. Basilisk
F 3.10. Sekien Jorogumo
So Patrick smashed the stone head with a hammer
They made him gruesome,
his own severed head in hand,
and they named him Crom Dubh, the dark,
twisted one, and they gave him a horse.
He was once just a head, Crom Cruach,
(they revered heads in those days) and a god.
In those days, a god reflected what is,
a god was not a magician who made wishes come true,
if only we were good enough, prayed enough,
paid our dues to the regulators.
A god was what is, the night, the day, thunder
and the sun, rain and plenty, floods and famine.
A god was, because what is, is.
To respect what is, is subversive.
Who knows where it might lead.
We might cease to believe that we are responsible
for holding the cables that anchor the world.
That without our sacrifice and obedience,
the world will drift into chaos.
We might lift our deferential, fearful eyes
from the ground, and we would see the stars.
The ancients knew, that what is, is. We are.
We can only watch in awe, and nothing we can do or say
will change the turning of the seasons or the sickness,
let the child live or stop the body’s aging.
Unless, of course, we know of magic well water,
Or have the ear of a wise salmon.
The Basel Cockatrice, 1474
From a rooster’s body I was laid
incubated by a toad, confused
from birth, “how was I made?”
My featherless wings of soft skin
disgust my feathered kin: I am not them,
but my wattled head revolts batty things.
“How can I grow? How can I change?”
I was tried; my lawyer defended but the court ruled
I couldn’t be. In Kohlenberg they lit
a fire and—whatever I was—I died.
Now memorial fountains of the mis-born cockatrice
pepper the city; if you’re burning — there’s water there.
a man killed in battle, a ghost
doomed to ride through foreign lands–
or a demon, a dark fairy, calling the name of those
about to die–
perhaps he is Death himself—
perhaps he rides, not only a horse, but a donkey, or camel,
or may travels on foot, or rumble on a motorcycle—
no need for a helmet–
he holds his head at his side,
if he summons you, ignore him, look away–
no one lives who sees his face.
-Merril D Smith
Dark Horse (F1.10 Dullahan)
Black against the ghoulish moon,
The horse looms, mid-stride, his bones
sodden with silvery sluice of fog
jagged and splintered.
His head – once proud-
is held stiff, resigned, eye blank.
Blind to all, he is fiercely unknowing,
gazing inward away from the breathing world.
Heedless of his headless rider.
Flinty hoof poised, he seems to pause
in delicate balance before he strikes the ground.
sparks flying. A flash of lightning.
He explodes into motion, ignited.
Galloping, pounding, racing at hellish speed
As though chased by the devil.
Bios and Links
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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 Ten. 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, 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.”
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