Wednesday, October 26, 2011


by Various Poets
How happy am I when I crawl into bed --
A rattlesnake hisses a tune at my head,
A gay little centipede, all without fear,
Crawls over my pillow and into my ear.

Do you ever think when a hearse goes by
That you may be the next to die?
An undertaker tall and thin
Digs a hole and puts you in.
All goes well for about a week,
And then the coffin  begins to leak.
The worms crawl in. The worms crawl out.
The worms play pinochle on your snout!
They use your bones for telephones
And call you up when you're not home.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and howlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.
Macbeth:IV.i.10-19; 35-38
William Shakespeare
The owl is abroad, the bat and the toad,
And so is the cat-a-mountain;
The ant and the mole sit both in a hole,
And the frog peeps out o' the fountain.
from The Masque of Queens
Ben Jonson

This stone commemorates his name.
This grave received his tiny frame.
He's food for worms. To be precise,
One worm, one mouthful, would suffice.
Immanuel Frances

Buffalo Bill's
who used to
ride a watersmooth-silver
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat
he was a handsome man
and what i want to know is
how do you like your blueeyed boy
Mister Death
e.e. cummings
Under the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie:
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he long'd to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.
Robert Louis Stevenson

As I was going up the stair
I met a man who wasn't there;
He wasn't there again today --
I wish, I wish, he'd stay away.
Hughes Mearns

October turned my maple's leaves to gold;
The most are gone now; here and there one lingers.
Soon these will slip from out the twig's weak hold,
Like coins between a dying miser's fingers. 
Thomas Bailey Aldrich
Whenever the moon and stars are set,
Whenever the wind is high,
All night long in the dark and wet,
A man goes riding by.
Late in the night when the fires are out,
Why does he gallop and gallop about?

Whenever the trees are crying aloud,
And ships are tossed at sea,
By, on the highway, low and loud,
By at the gallop goes he.
By at the gallop he goes, and then
By he comes back at the gallop again.
Robert Louis Stevenson

Listen . . .
With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the trees
And fall.
Adelaide Crapsey

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling
The wind is passing thro'.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads
The wind is passing by.
Christina Rossetti

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Edgar Allan Poe


Lo! 'tis a gala night
   Within the lonesome latter years!
An angel throng, bewinged, bedight
    In veils, and drowned in tears,
Sit in a theater, to see
    A play of hopes and fears,
While the orchestra breathes fitfully
    The music of the spheres.

Mimes, in the form of God on high,
    Mutter and mumble low,
And hither and thither fly --
    Mere puppets they, who come and go
At bidding of vast formless things
    That shift the scenery to and fro,
Flapping from out their Condor wings
    Invisible Woe!

That motley drama -- oh, be sure
    It shall not be forgot!
With its Phantom chased for evermore,
    By a crowd that seize it not,
Through a circle that ever returneth in
    To the self-same spot,
And much of Madness, and more of Sin,
    And Horror the soul of the plot.

But see, amid the mimic rout
    A crawling shape intrude!
A blood-red thing that writhes from out
    The scenic solitude!
It writhes! -- it writhes! -- with mortal pangs
    The mimes become its food,
And the angels sob at vermin fangs
    In human gore imbued.

Out -- out are the lights -- out all!
    And, over each quivering form,
The curtain, a funeral pall,
    Comes down with the rush of a storm,
And the angels, all pallid and wan,
    Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy "Man,"
    And its hero the Conqueror Worm.
BIOGRAPHY: (1809-1849) A member of the Romantic Movement, Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, poet, editor, and literary critic whose writings laid the ground work for future horror, mystery, detective, and science fiction writers. In 1835, he married his thirteen-year-old cousin, Virginia Clemm, who died a few years later from tuberculosis. Poe died mysteriously in Baltimore, Maryland in 1849. He is best known for his works of the macabre.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


"The Woods" by Holly Spencer and Jason Smith

Poem by Holly Spencer 

Illustration by Jason Smith

Copyright 2011. Holly Spencer and Jason Smith. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


by Stephen Vincent Benet

Here, where men's eyes were empty and as bright
As the blank windows set in glaring brick,
When the wind strengthens from the sea -- and night
Drops like a fog and makes the breath come thick;
By the deserted paths, the vacant hills,
One may see figures, twisted shades and lean,
Like the mad shapes that crawl on Indian screen,
Or paunchy smears you find on prison walls.
Turn the knob gently! There's the Thumbless Man,
Still weaving glass and silk into a dream,
Although the wall shows through him -- and the Khan
Journeys Cathay beside a paper stream.
A Rabbit Woman chitters by the door --
-- Chilly the grave-smell comes from the turned sod --
Come -- lift the curtain -- and be cold before
The silence of the eight men who were God!


BIO: Stephen Vincent Benet (1898-1943) won a Pulitzer Prize in 1929 for his book-length poem, John Brown's Body.

Monday, October 10, 2011


by Thomas Hood
Oh, very gloomy is the house of woe,
Where tears are falling while the bell is knelling,
With all the dark solemnities that show
That Death is in the dwelling!

Oh, very, very dreary is the room
Where Love, domestic Love, no longer nestles,
But smitten by the common stroke of doom,
The corpse lies on the trestles!

But house of woe, and hearse, and sable pall,
The narrow home of the departed mortal,
Ne'er looked so gloomy as that Ghostly Hall,
With its deserted portal!

The centipede along the threshold crept,
The cobweb hung across in mazy tangle,
And in its winding sheet the maggot slept
At every nook and angle.

The keyhole lodged the earwig and her brood,
The emmets of the steps has old possession,
And marched in search of their diurnal food
In undisturbed procession.

As undisturbed as the prehensile cell
Of moth or maggot, or the spider's tissue,
For never foot upon that threshold fell,
To enter or to issue.

O'er all there hung the shadow of a fear,
A sense of mystery the spirit daunted,
And said, as plain as whisper in the ear,
The place is haunted.

Howbeit, the door I pushed -- or so I dreamed --
Which slowly, slowly gaped, the hinges creaking
With such a rusty eloquence, it seemed
That Time himself was speaking.

But Time was dumb within that mansion old,
Or left his tale to the heraldic banners
That hung from the corroded walls, and told
Of former men and manners.

Those tattered flags, that with the opened door,
Seemed the old wave of battle to remember,
While fallen fragments danced upon the floor
Like dead leaves in December.

The startled bats flew out, bird after bird,
The screech-owl overheard began to flutter,
And seemed to mock the cry that she had heard
Some dying victim utter!

A shriek that echoed from the joisted roof,
And up the stair, and further still and further,
Till in some ringing chamber far aloof
It ceased its tale of murther!

Meanwhile the rusty armor rattled round,
The banner shuddered, and the ragged streamer,
All things the horrid tenor of the sound
Acknowledged with a tremor.

The antlers where the helmet hung, and belt,
Stirred as the tempest stirs the forest branches,
Or as the stag had trembled when he felt
The bloodhound at his haunches.

The window jingled in its crumbld frame,
And through its many gaps of destitution
Dolorous moans and hollow sighings came,
Like those of dissolution.

The wood-louse dropped, and rolled into a ball,
Touched by some impulse occult or mechanic;
And nameless beetles ran along the wall
In universal panic.

The subtle spider, that, from overhead,
Hung like a spy on human guilt and error,
Suddenly turned, and up its slender thread
Ran with a nimble terror.

The very stains and fractures on the wall,
Assuming features solemn and terrific,
Hinted some tragedy of that old hall,
Locked up in hieroglyphic.

Some tale that might, perchance, have solved the doubt,
Wherefore, among those flags so dull and livid,
The banner of the bloody hand shone out
So ominously vivid.

Some key to that inscrutable appeal
Which made the very frame of Nature quiver,
And every thrilling nerve and fiber feel
So ague-like a shiver.

For over all there hung a cloud of fear,
A sense of mystery the spirit daunted,
And said, as plain as whisper in the ear,
The place is haunted!

Prophetic hints that filled the soul with dread,
But through one gloomy entrance pointing mostly,
The while some secret inspiration said,
"That chamber is the ghostly!"

Across the door no gossamer festoon
Swung pendulous, -- no web, no dusty fringes,
No silky chrysalis or white cocoon,
About its nooks and hinges.

The spider shunned the interdicted room,
The moth, the beetle, and the fly were banished,
And when the sunbeam fell athwart the gloom,
The very midge had vanished.

One lonely ray that glanced upon a bed,
As if awful aim direct and certain,
To show the Bloody Hand, in burning red,
Embroidered on the curtain.

BIO:  Thomas Hood (1799-1845) was a British humorist and poet.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


by Ann Radcliffe

From haunt of man, from day's obtrusive glare,
Thou shroud'st thee in the ruin's ivy'd tow'r,
Or in some shadowy glen's romantic bow'r,
Where wizard forms their mystic charms prepare,
Where Horror lurks, and ever-boding Care!
But, at the sweet and silent ev'ning hour,
When clos'd in sleep is ev'ry languid flow'r,
Thou lov'st to sport upon the twilight air,
Mocking the eye, that would thy course pursue,
In many a wanton round, elastic, gay,
Thou flitt'st athwart the pensive wand'rer's way,
As his lone footsteps print the mountain-dew.
From Indian isles thou com'st, with Summer's car,
Twilight thy love -- thy guide her beaming star!

From The Mysteries of Udolpho, 1794.


Now the bat circles on the breeze of eve,
That creeps, in shudd'ring sits, along the wave,
And trembles 'mid the woods, and through the cave
Whose lonely sighs the wanderer deceive;
For oft, when melancholy charms his mind,
He thinks the Spirit of the rock he hears,
Nor listens, but with sweetly-thrilling fears,
To the low, mystic murmurs of the wind!
Now the bat circles, and the twilight dew
Falls silent round, and, o'er the mountain-cliff,
The gleaming wave and far-discover'd skiff,
Spreads the grey veil of soft, harmonious hue.
So falls o'er Grief the dew of pity's tear
Dimming her lonely visions of despair.

From The Mysteries of Udolpho, 1794

                      --Oft I hear,
Upon the silence of the midnight air,
Celestial voices swell in holy chorus
That bears the soul to heaven!

From The Mysteries of Udolpho, 1794


Sweet Autumn! how the melancholy grace
Steals on my heart, as through these shades I wind!
Sooth'd by thy breathing sigh, I fondly trace
Each lonely image of the pensive mind!
Lov'd scenes, lov'd friends -- long lost! around me rise,
And wake the melting thought, the tender tear!
That tear, that thought, which more than mirth I prize --
Sweet as the gradual tint that paints thy year!

Thy farewell smile, with fond regret, I view,
Thy beaming lights, soft gliding o'er the woods;
Thy distant landscape, touch'd with yellow hue,
While falls the lengthen'd gleam; thy winding floods,
Now veil'd in shade, save where the skiff's white sails
Swell to the breeze, and catch thy streaming ray.
But now, e'en now! -- the partial vision fails,
And the wave smiles, as sweeps the cloud away!
Emblem of life! -- Thus checquer'd is its plan,
Thus joy succeeds to grief -- thus smiles the varied man!

From The Mysteries of Udolpho, 1794
BIO: Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823), known as the Mistress of the Gothic Novel, wove an effective blend of psychological fear and poetry into her stories, profoundly affecting the writings of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters.  

Friday, October 7, 2011


by A.L. Bixby

There's no evidence of guilt,
Lizzie Borden,
That should make your spirit wilt,
Lizzie Borden;
Many do not think that you
Chopped your father's head in two,
It's so hard a thing to do,
Lizzie Borden.
You have borne up under all,
Lizzie Borden.
With a mighty show of gall,
Lizzie Borden.
But because your nerve is stout
Does not prove beyond a doubt
That you knocked the old folks out,
Lizzie Borden.

Published during Lizzie Borden's 1893 trial

Alleged murder weapon

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
And when she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.

Traditional Nursery Rhyme

Lizzie Borden Fan

by Dawn Pisturino

Lizzie Borden (1)

When Lizzie got awfully mad,
She hacked up her stepmom and dad.
The ax at her feet, she giggled and bleat,
"Why am I so terribly bad!"

September 26, 2011

Lizzie Borden (2)

When Lizzie got awfully mad,
She hacked up her stepmom and Dad.
Amazed by the mess, she had to confess:
"What a rip-roaring party we had!"

September 27, 2011

More Lizzie Borden Folklore

The big question: Did she or didn't she? This question has puzzled police and researchers for more than 100 years! The ax murders of Lizzie's stepmother and father on August 4, 1892 in Fall River, Massachusetts have been dubbed the perfect unsolved murder.

Copyright 2011 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


by Ariel Pisturino

The ghosts are out doing their tricks.
The werewolf is howling.
The bats are scowling,
The goblins creeping,
The witches at their brew,
The cats meowing.
The pumpkins are glowing.
It's a HALLOWEEN NIGHT! for you.

                                                      Age 9 years
                        Published in Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans, 1994

Don't Cry for Me

You know I'm dying,
No one's crying,
They aren't even trying,
But now I'm flying,
To another world,
Away from you.

I am gone,
But all is done,
And I have won,
To fly away,
With my wings.

I am here,
It is clear,
One last tear.

Don't look back,
But now I lack,
But I'm still here,
It is all clear.

Age 13 years
Published in Chasing the Wind Anthology, 1997


I fly through the air
On God's hand of Truth;
I fly like an eagle
On the hand of God,
For He has touched me
And made me wise;
For I can see hatred
In people's hearts,
I can see love too.
The people who have hatred
In their hearts,
They have not been kissed
By the wind of God.

I play on the beach
While God's light
Shines upon me,
While I dance,
In the moonlight,
The clouds race by;
The moon watches me
Like a big watchman
While I fall asleep
In the cool sand
And dream dreams
Of the truth.

Age 13 years
Published in A Treasury of Famous Poems, 1997

BIO:  A graduate of the University of Southern California, Ariel Pisturino holds a Master's Degree in Vocal Music. She has performed with the Long Beach Opera, The Repertory Opera Company of Pomona, Martinez Opera, and the Pacific Opera Project. She can be found at
"Don Giovanni" Rehearsal clip:

Copyright 2011 Ariel Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Halloween in a Suburb

by H.P. Lovecraft
Halloween in a Suburb

The steeples are white in the wild moonlight,
And the trees have a silver glare;
Past the chimneys high see the vampires fly,
And the harpies of upper air,
That flutter and laugh and stare.

For the village dead to the moon outspread
Never shone in the sunset's gleam,
But grew out of the deep that the dead years keep
Where the rivers of madness stream
Down the gulfs to a pit of dream.

A chill wind weaves thro' the rows of sheaves
In the meadows that shimmer pale,
And comes to twine where the headstones shine
And the ghouls of the churchyard wail
For harvests that fly and fail.

Not a breath of the strange grey gods of change
That tore from the past its own
Can quicken this hour, when a spectral pow'r
Spreads sleep o'er the cosmic throne
And looses the vast unknown.

So here again stretch the vale and plain
That moons long-forgotten saw,
And the dead leap gay in the pallid ray,
Sprung out of the tomb's black maw
To shake all the world with awe.

And all that the morn shall greet forlorn,
The ugliness and the pest
Of rows where thick rise the stones and brick,
Shall someday be with the rest,
And brood with the shades unblest.

Then wild in the dark let the lemurs bark,
And the leprous spires ascend;
For new and old alike in the fold
Of horror and death are penn'd,
For the hounds of time to rend.

In a Sequestered Providence Churchyard
Where Once Poe Walked

Eternal brood the shadows on this ground,
Dreaming of centuries that have gone before;
Great elms rise solemnly by slab and mound,
Arch'd high above a hidden world of yore.
Round all the scene a light of memory plays,
And dead leaves whisper of departed days,
Longing for sights and sounds that are no more.

Lonely and sad, a spectre glides along
Aisles where of old his living footsteps fell;
No common glance discerns him, tho' his song
Peals down thro' time with a myserious spell:
Only the few who sorcery's secret know
Espy amidst these tombs the shade of Poe.

BIO:  H.P Lovecraft (1890 - 1937) wrote horror, fantasy, and science fiction. He is best known for crafting "weird fiction" or "cosmic horror." He believed that life cannot be understood by the human mind and that the universe is largely unfriendly to human beings. He has had a profound influence on modern horror authors, including Stephen King. His Cthulhu Mythos and fictional grimoire, the Necronomicon, have endured to become classics of American horror.