Tag Archives: prose

Sleeping Gods in poetry and prose

Today I thought I would try a little experiment. Consider it a challenge or prompt if you’d like. The challenge to myself was to write a short poem or rhyme, as well as a short piece of prose or free write. Both pieces had to cover the same subject or theme, and would allow the reader to see it in two different ways. I don’t know if I succeeeded in this, but here’s what I came up with. Hope you enjoy.

SLEEPING GODS

We are the dreams of the sleeping gods 

Peacefully adrift on oceans of time

Wondering if there is more than this

Being a mere fragment of the mind.

+ +++++++++

Once, when I was young, I dreamed I was a dream, and at any moment the gods would awake and I would find myself drifting off into nothing, my whole life amounting to just a figment of heaven’s imagination. In this, the futility of growing up became apparent. For after all, if we are but a dream in the minds of the gods, then nothing is permanence. At any given moment, our very world could change, even to the point where the gods wished to dream of us no more.  

Legend Of The Lachmere Witch

Halloween is just around the corner, and so I thought it was time for a seasonal tale. This children’s story, wrapped up in verse, tells the tale of two boys heading off into the woods in search of a witch. Written back in 2000 when I was much younger in my writing life, I still like how it turned out. Hope you do too 🙂


“The Legend Of The Lachmere Witch”

+++

They say somewhere in the forest of Lachmere Wood

lives an old, haggard witch always up to no good

She’d lived there forever or so that’s what they say

But no one had ever seen her til one October day

When I and my friend, that crazy Johnny B.

went out to the forest to get a good look see;

we trudged through the woods of old creepy moss

until we got so turned around, we were helplessly lost.

++

No one ever went far into the forest of Lachmere

for the witch held sway and filled everyone with fear

yet no one could tell you where she had come from

or how long she’d been there, away from the sun.

There were legends and tales we all had heard

whispered around campfires with a hushed word

but we had to go out there and see for ourselves

despite how it seemed not to be good for our health.

++

See, we’d both heard the tales of the dreaded crone

and the townfolk said it’s best to leave her alone

for she was wicked and evil and a fright to behold

these are the things that the children were told:

She had a black heart and lips dark as pitch

and cackled just like the old wicked witch;

she once killed a child, and a grown man, too

and cooked them in her cauldron of bubbling stew.

++

It was also said that she could freeze a man

with her gaze to the spot wherever he stand

and that she made candles from human skin

removed from her victims at her darkest whim,

so maybe you think it foolish just what we did

to go blindly in the forest like two little kids,

but Johnny B. and I, we were growing up fast,

in just another year our childhood would pass.

++

Now we stumbled around in the light of day,

lost and wandering while the sunlight hid away.

The tall, darkened trees nearly shut out the sun,

no wonder we were lost and coming undone.

And then we saw flickering lights along a trail

Just up ahead, we thought it the door to hell:

An archway created from felled trees and briar

while beyond it the trail was lit by dark, tiny fire.

++

We went under the archway like two brave souls,

shivering inside but not from the cold.

We noticed the tiny fires were candles of red,

and we wondered if they were the skin of the dead.

We stepped lightly along this fearsome track,

afraid of what we’d find, but too scared to go back;

and we could hear her cackling somewhere close

our faces turned so white, you’d thought we were ghosts.

++

There was a cottage ahead at the end of the path

and we heard it more clearly, the witch’s dark laugh;

we reached the path’s end right at her open door

and the laughter stopped, we knew why for.

“come in, my brave youngsters”, whispered her voice

and we did as she said as if we hadn’t a choice.

Stepping over the threshold, we went on inside

where it was just one room the whole cottage wide.

++

We saw a boiling cauldron, brewing over a fire

and bones were dangling from the ceiling with wire.

The room was near black and smelled of dark things

there on a table, a pile of feather and wings.

The witch sat in the corner, at home in the dark

but we could not see her in the blackness so stark,

“what brings you here, what did you hope to find”

hissed her rough voice to our frightened minds.

++

“We came to see if there was a witch as we heard

and now that we know, we’ll leave without a word”,

so we both turned to go and get out of there

and that’s when the witch slowly rose from her chair.

“and what did you hear”, she so sinister asked

so we told her the town tales and legends intact.

The witch still in darkness, she cackled out loud

“Oh my, It’s a wonder what time does allow”.

++

“I had thought”, she now spoke, “they would be wise

and had found something new they could despise,

instead of me who never caused them much harm

except in their tales to cause their children alarm”.

And she stepped out of the shadows, into the light

we froze to the spot, hypnotized by the sight

of a beautiful woman with black hair and dark eyes

her lips painted black and smiling so wide.

++

“Why, you’re not a crone”, I said, “like we were told

you seem nice and beautiful, and not wicked and old”

she sighed at last and said “do you want the truth

of the Lachmere Witch and the sins of her youth?

Look around this room closely what do you see?

Certainly not the things you were told to believe”.

So we looked around the cottage with closer eyes,

and we saw things more clearly than at first disguise.

++

The bones from the ceiling were white candlesticks

not made of human flesh, but from wax and wicks.

The dark things we had smelled were just incense alit

and we were no longer scared, not even a small bit.

The feathers and wings on the table we first saw

was only cloth and material she was making into a shawl,

and in the boiling cauldron was the most wonderful stew

of beef, peas and potatoes, and a few carrots, too.

++

“Now let me tell you the real story the townsfolk won’t tell,

about why I’m a witch without nary a black spell.

See, when I was a young girl, I was carrying the child

of the local Reverend whom I was in love with so wild.

He wouldn’t admit that the child was his own

for it would mean he’d have to give up the life he’d known.

So, he charged me a witch, and in a way that I am,

For I was a student of nature, not of Satan, nor damned.”

++

“Now the Reverend knew the truth would get out soon,

so he held me prisoner and locked me in a cold room,

where I miscarried, as he coaxed a confession

of witchcraft and evil, and even demon possesion.

I escaped the jailed room on a dark hallowed night

and fled to the forest in a mad, desperate flight.

He came after me alone for I was condemned to hang,

and I killed him in defense as the churchbells rang.”

++

“That’s why they say I killed a child and a grown man,

but they made up tales to justify the reverend’s plans.

They didn’t pursue me in the woods again as he had

and I made a home here far from a township gone mad.

They didn’t want anyone to ever discover the truth

so the tales grew larger as they told them to their youth,

that’s all right with me, I prefer conversation with the wind

than the lies and corruption in the black hearts of men.”

++

“The Lachmere Witch is content here all alone

with the forest and the trees and the comfort of home”,

She smiled at us, we knew what she said was true.

“But now the legend of me rests entirely on you”.

Johnny was speechless as she kissed us on the cheek,

and I have to admit, I too couldn’t speak.

“you better go and return home”, she then said

“don’t glance back, keep your eyes on the path ahead.”

++

So we left the cottage and back on the candle path,

laughed about the town stories of the witch’s wrath,

Despite what she said I looked back walking away

I guess she didn’t want us to see her smile as she waved.

but I smiled back and thought, soon I’ll return again,

to sit with the witch and maybe help her heart mend,

and as we arrived back at our homes in the town,

the people knew where we’d gone and gathered around.

++

“The witch is dead”, I said, “If she ever existed at all,

only thing out there is dark woods and the owl’s call”.

The adults nodded their heads and they were satisfied

but all the children knew Johhny B. and I had lied,

and it wasn’t long before I took all the kids to see

The witch wasn’t what our parents made her out to be,

And the woman of Lachmere, not a witch to us anymore

was always happy to see us when we came to her door. 

© 2000 Paul D. Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Kristen’s Lullaby

Note: many years ago when I first started writing poetry online, I received a request to write a poem for a new born baby girl. The poem below was the product of that request. I was informed the poem ended up in a frame over the child’s crib. It was such an honor for me as a writer just beginning to share his work, and I have often wondered where the child and her parents were now. Hope they are well with angels still watching over them. 


“Kristen’s Lullaby”
Hush now my little child

There’s no need to weep,

I will watch over you

in your bedroom as you sleep;

Mother loves you baby

and Heaven loves you too,

Both day and night fade away

but my light will shine on you.
Beneath the shelter of my wings

beneath my halo bright,

no harm can come to you my child

for I’m with you every night;

and though you may never see me

still I am here,

maybe sitting by your bedside

or just hovering near.
But the real angels in this life

are not I, no not I,

maybe a stranger’s prayer

or the gleam in your mother’s eye;

so remember this for always

that when you lay to sleep,

an angel is always close

for your dreams to softly keep.

© 2002 Paul D. Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Poetry Archives

Hushed Whispers 

Hushed whispers in the corner store

“Be quiet, here she comes”

A girl walks through the door

Pregnant and young.
She braces herself for the silence

That’s always in the air

Rumors are worse than violence

When people stop and stare.
Life here in such a small town

Everyone knows everyone

The gossip can wear you down

With talk about what you’ve done.
She’s been made to feel ashamed

Ever since she began to show

“I wonder who the father is?”

“I bet she doesn’t know”
She fights back the rising tears

And forces them not to fall

Harsh critics were once friends

Who used to visit often and call.
Everyone has their pride to hold

She tries to hold hers up high

Though the world’s ugly and cruel

Beauty she nurtures inside.
Hushed whispers in the corner store

“Be quiet, here she comes”

A girl walks through the door

Just the same as everyone.
Poem by Paul D Aronson. 

Photographer unknown. 

To read more of more poetry, click the link below:

Poetry Archives

Columbia

“Columbia”

If every star should fall from the sky,

Let not the tears fall from your eye,

You are not alone;

And in the vast expanse of space,

time and meaning converge in one place,

I am home.

I’ve lived a life of courage proud,

For the good of mankind in the crowd,

And what could be;

Though we may ask “why” to a higher power,

None of us know the day or hour,

We’re coming home to thee.

Don’t look into the skies and weep,

Let not your heart fall asleep,

Live, love as you can;

Seven stars will twinkle bright,

In the skies upon every night,

We are not sand.

Now here’s the message from the Christ,

We don’t live once, but twice,

No man is of stone;

And in the vast expanse of space,

Time and meaning converge in one place,

I am home.

© 2003 Paul D. Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

You &  Me & Everything We Could Be

I wish we could find a room with a view

of nothing but you and me

and everything we could be;

I caught a glimpse of someone

kissing you in the rain

and looking closely

I realized it was me inside a dream

I could never make on my own

without your smile in my head.

And I don’t think I have ever felt

quite this naked before;

My clothes, and skin,

my very soul laid out for you,

to touch whenever you want

to hold close to you forevermore

if only in this silly little dream

of you and me

and everything we could be.

And in the heart of someone

who looks remarkably a lot like you

I would feel safe under the protection

of once dormant passions

now springing awake

like dawn against the dew, me against you,

to make love out of sorrow’s moment,

to take the shadows

of tragedy’s great conviction,

and turn it into faith –

A new religion of you and me

and everything we could be.

Poem  & photo/digital art by Paul D Aronson.

Models: Paul & Heather.

Watching

“Watching”

The moon shone down on the lovers

And we watched them, enrapt

Remembering the best joy of living

Was finding another just like ourselves.

The man touched her face

And we held our non-existent breaths

We closed our eyes just as she did

And longed to lean into a lover’s embrace

We sighed as she nestled in his arms

Trying to fight her true emotions

And we wanted to tell her

Not to deny herself of love.

And as he kissed her neck so lovingly

Breathed softly at her ear

We remembered our own lives

Wasted away for nothing.

Oh love, oh sweet breath of love

How we wished at that moment

To just say close your eyes and love

For there may be no tomorrow.

But they know this

They have been here

Just as we have been here

And maybe once long ago

It was them who watched us

Wishing to be free from death

Alive and in love again.

Poem by Paul D Aronson.