folktober #ekphrasticchallenge. Day Seventeen. 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 Jane Dougherty, Kev Sealby, Jacqueline Dempsey-Cohen, Dave Garbutt, Merril Smith and I, plus those who react to the images on the day, as we explore images from folktales.

F 1.17

F 1.17. Cu-sidhe

F 2.17. Skinwalkers

F 2.17. Skinwalkers

F 3.17. La Mala Hora

F 3.17. La Mala Hora

La Mala Hora

In front of me she did roam
Slowly but I was not surprised
Her dress a bridal one
Almost taking her balance

Chestnut hair flowing in the night
Windless though it was
Something not quite right
Her face too veiled for evening

Sweet words carried on the wind
A bell clanged dull and dank
Terror now my belly did find
And of a sudden I realised

There were no feet striking ground
A floating woman was what I now saw
My eyes drawn to feet turned round
Toes point to me and blood went cold

My evening jaunt did wait that night
For she was sucking in the light
Drinking souls if she could catch
My door was barred lock and latch.

-©Ailsa Cawley 2022 / Bananach
the cells, vlink
plus is a shield, minus
a spear, * is a sword: our cash
falls down
the great
hole of nothing —bitbucket of
battlefield, the trench, stake-wall
after the banshee, you
spread shroud

-Dave Garbutt.

Howl, in the eye of the beholder.

A ramped wedge, masculinity
The howl
Distains the gauntlet’s civility
Cloud, billows
A voluminous second fiddle

Redded tooth borne
The howl
Four planted paws
Force grown through stone
Feral, a peasant

In defence of the born
The howl
Guttural, roared
Out paternal
A beast, so called

-Kevin Sealby.

Howling / Skinwalkers / Dancing death

Howling my home—its
here, my family, tails, rock dens.
We are here, don’t come.

We walk in other
skins and what we do —you can
not know— non-Navaho.

I dance and the clack
isn’t steel heels, castanets
but bones smiling—wink

-Dave Garbutt

Entre chien et loup (inspired by F1: 17.)

Crepuscule, between the lights,
sun and moon, the crossbeams of gold and silver,
l’heure bleue, when the sky is a blue so intense
it touches the depths of the universe.

In the half-lights of waxing and waning,
who can tell friend from foe, dog from wolf?

And the uncertain light has a voice,
the long, slow, ripening ululation
that prickles the skin and pricks the ears,

when dog blood remembers wolf,
and we, creatures of the light,
listen in awe or fear, to the questions
whose answers we will never know.

-Jane Dougherty

The Howl:

(Inspired by the image F 2.17 Skinwalkers)

Wood embossed with
coyote’s footsteps,
Traces of
large orange circular and blue spherical lights
in the sky, and
Stenches of
incinerated dogs and cored out dismembered cows
from ranches—
all notifying that the
howl at last night
was of
that shape-lifting witch.

©Spriha Kant

Monsters (Inspired by all three images)

Evil walks in many forms
shifting shapes, forecasting doom,

the warning clear—stay in the light,
avoid rural roads and city streets
don’t walk or drive alone at night.

Here harbingers of death
hover, hop, float, fly, and slither.
Watch for backward toes, a tail,
a wolf with eyes you recognize,
your girlfriend who is not—

evil hides behind false smiles,
beneath the skin–
fear the monsters, they are here

-Merril D Smith


Wolf’s Milk (F1.17 Wolf)
Cailleach arrives on a wolf’s back
spilling winter from her womb.
She swaddless the sky in
snowdrifts of clouds
her icy fingers misting the firth.

Beneath her blizzard of sky
a wolf howls a coronach to her.
A yearling’s wail mourning
her mother’s breast.
Throat song
prickling necks, chafing skin.

High above, the moon wakes,
spilling lilting notes of light
tipping the clouds milky white

Cailleach, goddess,,
protector of wild things.
Wolf mother’s lullaby

-Jacqueline Dempsey-Cohen @boscoedempsey

Bios and Links

-Kevin Sealby.

Poet and musician. Writing around a few pet subjects, the environment, society, class, masculinity.Often trying to merge music and poetry…mixed results!

-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 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 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

-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.

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,, 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:

-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. 

-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: She is on Twitter @luaz_poet.

2 thoughts on “folktober #ekphrasticchallenge. Day Seventeen. 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 Jane Dougherty, Kev Sealby, Jacqueline Dempsey-Cohen, 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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  2. Pingback: Folktober Challenge, Day 1 – Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

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