A Poem for Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow

I wrote this one year ago today on Armistice Day. It’s been gathering metaphorical dust in the computer since, as my focus has been more on my health, other personal matters, and our current dystopia this year than poetry submissions. Thus, I decided I might as well share it here for you fine folks and what better day than today? I didn’t set out to write this poem. It just kind of tumbled out, likely after listening to “The Green Fields of France”, “Christmas in the Trenches”, and “Zombie” one too many times. (If you haven’t heard the modernized version of “Zombie” for the 21st century, go listen to it now.) Continue reading

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Entering the Dark Half of the Year in Dark and Difficult Times

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[A candle in a teal lantern on the windowsill burns against the darkness and backlights the silhouette of a small pumpkin as two dala horses cast shadows]

I don’t have the words tonight, with so much death, hate, and sorrow weighing on the world, but, especially in such a dark time, I want to honor and acknowledge those beyond the veil, be they at peace, searching for something before they can move on, or hungry for justice and a reckoning for the wrongs history has yet to right or is all too eager to commit again.
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Samhain: Summer’s End

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Hope you all had a great Halloween, whether you partied, passed out candy, binged Stranger Things, went to a haunted house or a ghost tour, marched in a Halloween parade, danced in the grove, or spent a quiet night at home. And who says the fun has to be over? You can curl up with a spine-tingling tale of the ghostly and the Gothic long after all the candy has been eaten and the zombie make-up has been washed away. Halloween may be over, but the dark half of the year is here to stay and it brings with it no shortage of superstitions or the supernatural. Continue reading

In-Betweens, Thin Veils, and a Ghost Story or Two

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The infirmary at Canterbury Shaker Village, Canterbury NH, photo by Shannon Barnsley, October 2012.

“It was Gate Night, the night before All Hallows’ Eve. Distant memories of the old stories nagged at me. During All Hallows’ Eve the veil between the world of the living and the word beyond was lifted. Our world and their world all blurred together like ink running on a page in my old primer when we schoolgirls would try to run home in the rain, shrieking and splashing up mud all the way.”

– Shannon Barnsley, Beneath Blair Mountain Continue reading

Gate Night: The Veil Grows Thin

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The fairies be out that night and they would take you away with them if you were out at that evil time. It is also said that the devil shakes his budges [fur] on the haws and turns them black and according to the old people if you eat a haw after Hallow Eve night you will have no luck (qtd in “Halloween in Irish Folklore”).

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Persephone, Lara Rae, and Other Lost Girls of the Underworld

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Much like Persephone from Greek mythology, Lara Rae Brecken, the main character of Beneath Blair Mountain, finds herself trapped in the underworld after wandering through a crack between worlds one cold October night. Irish mythology was at the forefront when I wrote this tale, but I consciously had Persephone and other analogous tales and figures in mind. Continue reading