2020 - Spring

The Marsh House

Image: Mist 194/366 by Blue Square Thing on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Author: Laure Cepl

The Marsh House



Nineteen-thirty, the year she felt the breeze

Caressing her pale porcelain face. Blushing

In the dimming daylight of New Year’s freeze,

Her cheeks are covered by a wrinkled skin.


Time streaked it like thunderbolts, frail, outstretched.

Samhain’s sun sets over her glazed eyes.

With a crescent of violets, they’re decked.

Weary eyelids quiver to the twilight skies.


The forgotten Dame of the Marshlands,

Who was left to sink into oblivion.

She gives me a smile as I shake her hand,

And squeaks a “Bienvenue à la maison”.





The burgundy tapestries feel so warm,

The old wood scent tickles my nostrils, while

I sit on the dusty chesterfield. White

Laced threads above my head – spectral textile.


My host asks the grand maestro, Petrof –

Dear old friend of mine, forgotten but missed,

To sing me tales of men who fell in love

With the Moon. Nostalgia, who my soul kissed.


I find myself dancing in her embrace,

While she lulls me to sleep in her nightgown.

“Remember…Remember, I was the face

Who rocked you when no one was around.”


Black widows in the shadows join the waltz,

They swing on the chandeliers as we dance

Languidly to the sound of the The Kiss Waltz

Drunk with Shalimar, exotic fragrance.


Hair on her shoulders, like flames flickering,

Red velvet petals brush my neck saying

Bewitching words, casting spells, whispering

“Bring your lips close to mine while we’re swaying”


A silky curtain softly veils my eyes.

Hypnotized, my senses forget slowly

As the music fades and the fire dies

The chimney’s shadow rising behind me.





But once the night falls, the marble, icy

Chills my feet and turns them into grey stones.

In the growing darkness, I start to see

Unfamiliar figures, all skin and bones.


Oh horror! Oh, their ghastly glance, tarnished!

Rags hanging on their limbs, wearing grim grins,

Silent creatures, staring at me, famished,

while I shiver against the cold dead skin!


Out of their frames, the ghostly shadows crawl

Across the halls, echo bellows of woe,

Opened jaws, scratched walls, watch them scrawl.

Cold tears of sorrow roll down the windows.


Seven ghoulish foes dancing around me

Putting curses and stamping on the ground

Macabre ritual! They torment me!

“Come with us”, they say, “to the Underground!”


I break the circle and fall on the floor

“Let me out! Let me out!”  I implore

She moans and groans as she shuts the door –

“Stay in my company, forevermore!”


Hear her mourn! Lonesome soul, she grew cold!

Vanished, they have all spirited away.

Plagued by dreadful grief like a dark foul mould,

The Dame of the Marshlands dwells in decay!


Daughter, Sister, Mother and Grandmother.

She is haunted by the absence of some

Who once loved her enough to call her



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