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A Note from the Poetry Judge: Here's a special Poetry Gallery in honour of the Tale of Woe! Enjoy!
Dare You Dig?
the monogram of age
set upon this slab of slate in
the form of cobweb-fan cracks; see
this mark of they who had once trod like
you. Neovia's grim memorial: even the
weeds are a wash duller here, the oaks
downcast in their eternal guard. The
stone has perished, wind-bitten and
time-touched; the inscriptions are
but much. Etched in an unnamed
vernacular: a warning to heed, or
a prompt to proceed? The Spirit
of Slumber lies waiting in this
yard. Think twice, digger, and
perchance thrice, of what may
be loitering dormant 'neath this stone.
When My Grave Was Dug (Up)
I'd led a fairly normal life
With joys and woes and a little strife.
I'd spent my days among the trees
Of Haunted Woods, in relative ease.
I don't remember when I died;
I think there were many pets who cried.
Though really, it isn't the least bit strange
That a pet should die, that times should change.
They dug for me an underground bed,
And hundreds of years of sleep I'd had,
Till one strange day there came the sound
Of shovels and cries, above the ground.
I heard my neighbours' rest disturbed!
My misty spirit rose, perturbed,
But the raging diggers carried on,
And soon my tomb was pounced upon.
For days I wandered in despair,
Shivering and lost in the living air,
Till finally, when I thought all hope was gone,
They came back in the glimm'ring dawn.
They had with them a book of names,
And they restored each spirit: Bobby, James,
Maud, William, Caroline...
I was so relieved when they wrote down mine.
Many memories came to me
The day my spirit floundered free.
I'd forgotten much since I died, it seems,
But now my sleep is filled with dreams.
I remember my life, the things I'd shared;
How I'd hoped and how I'd cared.
Now I'm at peace, my name inscribed
In the stone above, and deep inside.
A Traveller's Guide to Neovia
Phantom town, my ghosts
Of years so long past,
Roaming the streets in devilish glee,
It is that sombre look he has,
And in his waistcoat pocket lurks the past.
They walk the streets in twos and threes,
The child pets go about,
Do not run, but rather scamper;
Their red hair-ribbons all too dark;
And in their eyes a haunted look,
A gift from generations past.
The laughter all sounds false,
The levity has died hard,
And long live the saddened stares
That grace that Gelert's face.
Oh, Neovia, it seems your legacy's to last;
And although those dark years long gone,
The memory has yet to fade,
And the shadows remain a pall;
To this town, calignosity has laid claim.
The charm is just an illusion,
A facade for tourists as they come,
Drawn by curiosity,
For in us all there lives a secret awe,
Greed and dark go hand-in-hand,
And we all wonder.
See the broken windows,
See the curtains edged with shame;
Where mist curls the corners,
And ruin clouds the stones.
You gaze and question,
Fascination wars with guilt,
As footsteps traverse this ruined town;
Do not feel sorrow, travellers,
For though Neovia is a warning,
It is one that we shall never heed.
Neovia, ghost town cursed,
Caught so deep in this
Black tangle of tree limbs
That it has forgotten the sight
Of the sun, the heartbeat of the breeze --
Now only the pulse of rain remains
As it drips, sad memory, from leaf to leaf.
Darkness is a lapse, a void
And Neovia endures it,
Dreaming, perhaps, that it is only
A long night, and that soon
The slow rain dripping like quicksilver
Will turn, sun-blessed, to shades of gold.
Neovia, a shadow amid
Darker shadows, a mute among
The long-voiceless, a spectre among
The already lifeless, clinging to
Existence amidst rotting trees,
Numb roots, dying leaves --
Neovia. No traveller stops there
To bring a fleeting breath of sky
Or sun -- we turn our faces
The other way, and journey on
And lose it to distance
And to darkness.
The Grave-Digging Song!
Let's get ready to dig some graves,
Get out your shovels, not your staves!
There's plenty of work to be done,
And while we do it let's have some fun!
Grab your potions, grab your book,
Ignore the caretaker's funny look...
Search the index, graveyard ho!
Take your things and off we go!
Let's make our way to grave number one,
Dig it up, there's much to be won!
What's this, nothing? Let's dig some more,
The second grave is a boneyard store!
Take your potion, drip on a bone,
It disintegrates, you loudly groan.
But don't worry, there is still much to see,
Let's now move on to grave number three!
And then graves four, five, and six,
Until we move on with our dulled picks.
Oh goodness -- is that a roar?
No, Bruno's stomach is just sore.
Sophie's temper is getting short,
(She's quite annoyed by this sport).
Now where is that accursed bone,
Hidden under dirt and stone?
Suddenly a bone glows bright,
About time, and what a sight!
Looks like we found the Spirit's rest,
Now wasn't that an exciting quest?
The Portraits Are Fading
The memory drifts to sepia,
The truth to myth doth fade.
A legend of a town so cursed,
And trust so fast betrayed.
Neovia seems peaceful now,
Abandoned, lost to all.
But fact is found in portrait grand,
That hangs on crumbling wall.
Serene the smile Alice holds,
Sign of contented heart.
Naive of danger yet to come
And tear the town apart.
Young Bruno, fated to be cursed,
Shy features fade to brown.
A single wish, a moment rash,
Would drag his family down.
Reginald, a book in hand,
Small Sophie, smiling bright.
They soon would flee, run for their lives,
And vanish one cold night.
Bold Edmund in the background stands,
Pride shines in faded eyes.
A look that later wasn't seen,
As happens when trust dies.
The perfect family, portrait holds,
Trapped in a breath of time.
Happy, filled with innocence,
Before old Krawley's crime.
A nightmare that would come to pass,
As days to years did change.
Witches, faeries, spells, and tricks,
Asylum, rather strange.
A potion filled with hopes and dreams,
That left a town distraught.
Promised all that one could want,
But horror it has brought.
A story of a haunted realm,
Of loss and endless woe.
The portraits fade, but still we know,
Of curse cast long ago.
a hiss and a whirr
a ghostly sound
twisted limbs of oak
past broken windows
a half-lit moon
pale fingers of rain
icy cold palms
such fragile minds
whispers of night
echo black inside
so cling to sanity
with your fingertips
the sun must surely
hurt your eyes
drink up the potions
swallow the night
a meep in the dark
a chill and a bite
The Dance of the Ghost Meepits
I wonder if you have, perchance,
Ever seen ghost Meepits dance?
They congregate at Ilere's gate,
Too occupied to bite your face.
Having sipped Ghost Meepit Juice,
Their limbs are hanging lank and loose.
Enter a circle and circle dance
Seven ghost Meepits, as though entranced.
"Dance, friend, and enter," states
The inscribed runes atop the gate.
Seven Ghost Meepits submit to dance
To unlock Ilere's residence.
Around the circle and around again,
A tumble of glowing fur and fang
Under the inky deep Woods skies,
The only light their flaming eyes.
Twirling, wheeling in the round,
The circle encircled by wooded surround.
Bare trees bear witness to the dance,
Branches grasping like fevered supplicants.
Tail follows nose follows tail follows nose,
As revolving seven ghost Meepits go
In time to a silent tune and beat,
Until the gate and Meepits are released.
Their Fate in His Hands
Spirit of Slumber
Bringer of dreamless peace
That took the city.
They cried out to him
Desperate to be saved
From their torture.
It was a high price
That they paid for their release
From twisted wishes.
Wind blew through the street
And claimed the town for his own
Leaving only stone.
Some remained there
As pale faded memories
That haunted their homes.
He just disappeared
Into faint myths and legends.
Along with the town.
Spirit of Slumber
You delivered them from one
Curse to another.
It's my Neopoints they want,
My Neopoints they're not going to get!
I eye them all with suspicion,
To me everyone is now a threat.
Taking that Mr. Krawley's potion
Was the best thing I ever did.
Now I can see the bad in everyone,
From my workers to my kids.
Sure, Sophie and Bruno are good,
And Reginald is quite smart.
But I can see their true intentions,
Deep within their hearts.
Alice has always stood right by,
Said she'd always be by my side.
But she cannot take my Neopoints,
She couldn't take them if she tried.
My business wasn't always good,
But now it's not that for which I am afraid.
It's how everyone is challenging me,
I'm scared of being betrayed!
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