Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Something that scares me, for Izy's out of standard and Hallowe'en

At the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, Izy's Out of Standard this week invites us to write about something that frightens us, preparatory for All Hallows' Eve.
Wikimedia Commons

Ernst Josephson
"Woman dressed in black"
who are you?
why can't I see your face?
I see your black dress,
and the blood-red of the wall.
I see your hair,
your high collar,
your black veil,
show yourself, I beg you...
I cannot see your face!
why do you sit there
staring at me
through your half-formed eyes?
why can't I hear you breathe
through your half-made nose?
why can't I hear you speak
through your half-mouth?
who are you?
why can't I see your face?

This poem was inspired by my problem eyesight and also by a song I probably heard first in the late 1950s when it was recorded by Lefty Frizzell. The song was covered by many singers after Frizzell, and the one I remember best was Johnny Cash's solo version. However, the above link will take you to the first night of the Johnny Cash Show in 1969, when Johnny sang it as a duet with Canada's Joni Mitchell.
No matter who sang it, the song itself didn't particularly scare me, but the chorus frightened me when Johnny Cash sang it. Something about that voice, that got under my skin, right down to where I live.

"She walks these hills, in a long black veil.
 She visits my grave, when the night winds wail.
 Nobody knows, nobody sees, nobody knows, but me."


grapeling said...

Kay, that IS spooky!

Susan said...

Who, indeed! And how dare she!? I love this version of "A Long Black Veil." I wouldn't want to be on that path. Fun.

Fireblossom said...

Joni Mitchell is a big favorite of mine. I like Johnny, too.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Such an excellent premise, Kay. The painting you chose matches your words perfectly.

PS. I'm pleased you like the Dylan Thomas - how cool that it was published in the year you were born!

Herotomost said...

Kay, I love the Johnny cash version of that song. The song, the painting and the poem all coalesce into an awesome take on this prompt. Loved it.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Definitely very spooky!!!!

Susie Clevenger said...

What a wonderful trio you have put together...your poem is haunting and you found the perfect image for the video!

Sam Edge said...

Spooky with a side order of cool. Very nice.

whimsygizmo said...

Ooooo. Chills up the spine, for certain.

Marian said...


Friko said...

A brilliant song, I love it. And Cash and Mitchell are great together too.

And so is your scary poem.

hedgewitch said...

I couldn't tell if you knew that Long Black Veil is a traditional folk ballad, from the Appalachians, probably, brought here from the UK two hundred or so years ago, so forgive me for going on about it if you did. It was one of the first songs I learned to play on the guitar in my folkie days--it is chilling, primal, and really basic, like all folk ballads. Your poem touches on the reasons why this one is so disturbing. Loved the link also, Kay.

Patricia A. McGoldrick said...

Scary poem!
The Cash song, to me, was a haunting kind of ballad.
If you are looking for a scary movie, Woman in Black, the original is such a film.
Have a great Hallowe'en!

Isadora Gruye said...

i like how you incorporated many inspiration points into one piece. viva la

manicddaily said...

Hey Kay--this touched me in part because of the song - one that I also used to play and sing--and also because my vision is so so terrible and getting worse. A very scary thing indeed. Thanks. k.

Hannah said...

Your notes bring this poem another dimension and really brings it to life. Well written, Kay!

Heaven said...

Yikes, spooky indeed ~

Ginny Brannan said...

This is definitely an eerie little ghost tale. Nicely done!

Lolamouse said...

That is spooky! Poor eyesight can really play tricks on you. I'm legally blind without glasses or contacts, and I've "seen" some pretty weird things!