Friday 26 January 2007

Down in the Hollow

Down in the Hollow was written for the PPP edition last Samhain: it's my very own ghost tale. For me it's interest and hence inclusion today is personal and private; it's based on a personal experience. Obviously not as desrcibed; but the inspiration came from an experience I once had. Ever wander into land that doesn't want you there? or where reality seems to bend under some force? If so, you'll know this could be true.......

Down in the Hollow

There is a hollow
near the river, half in the meadow
half in the woods.
I do not go there
in the daylight, nor the twilight
nor the dusk
I will not walk there
in the moonlight, or the dawn
or full of day
For there is no time
bright or dimming, when the angels
there hold sway.

Cold the Hollow
Damp and gloomy, smelling of the
Secret grave
Musk pervades it
Death invades it: stench and rot
In rising wave
Chokes the spirit,
Weakens limbs, shakes the heart
And makes men faint
‘Til all around it
Who can, avoid it: anxious to
Escape its taint.

Lucy smith and
Mary Curley, heeded not the
Solemn tales
Took a dare
And merry were they, setting off
Across the dales.
Where are they now
Those pretty lasses? Never more
The girls were seen
Except by lone
and forlorn travelers: on wild nights
in haunting dreams

I will not walk there
I would not tarry, not for gold nor
Fame nor Glory
Of all the tales they
Tell to scare you, doubt not the truth
Of the Hollow story.
Do not leave the
wide smooth road, nor follow sounds
that tempt the ear
Young girls laughter
Children’s singing, tempt the stranger
to draw near

Once only went I
To The Hollow, once only crossed its
Crawling floor.
The night that Lucy
Smith went missing, my mind was lost
My heart was sore
We searched the dales
We searched the woods, the riverbed
And flowing streams.
Sometimes caught we
distant laughter, but more often did it
sound like screams.

As dawn broke dark,
The others failing, I screwed my courage
To the bone.
I pushed my way
In blind despair, into the Hollow
All alone.
Ask me not
Why I am trembling, ask not why
My tears do fall
But if you must
Pass by the Hollow, answer not
Its evil call

Nay stop your ears
And close your eyes, from sights you
Should not see
And never stray
Or wander off, no matter who calls
Out for thee.
And when you’re past
And safe away, stop and say a
Prayer or two
And thank the gods
That the fate of others, came not this day
Or night, for you.

Geraldine Moorkens Byrne


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