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dVerse — Poetics — The Ballad of Hillscomb

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The Ballad of Hillscomb

Folks claim when Red rode in one dusk the sky poured blackish green;
That green of corn crept black and that their apple cheeks drained ash;
The steed Red wheeled was white as death, with apparition’s sheen;
Her burdened mules’ poor staggered steps as if to be their last.

They say that Red looked meaty, yet no shadow did she cast;
Beneath the beaver hat and cape were naught but reddish eyes;
Her bluish locks flowed like the Styx all down along her back;
She paused to ask where Hillscomb was with velvet magnet sighs.

Young Hillscomb died the year before, struck down in prime of life;
Since then his manor dozed there empty but for dust and webs.
The rumors swarmed like ravens and conjecture sliced like knives;
Church belfry bats, under full moon, swooped graveyard stones instead.

A misshaped cur appeared one day to keep the furred beasts fed;
He bought effects at Tucker’s Feed, with strange gold coins he paid.
The only mark of life at Hillscomb when the clock was bled,
A single flame in window where Young Hillscomb’s corpse once laid.

Miss Pollyann did soon succumb to nightmares that chilled, of
Her once beau, Mr. Hillscomb, in a dance in moonlight’s air
With lovely Red in satin gown, pale flesh, and orbs of blood.
They didn’t sense her watching them….. but then they turned to stare.

She screamed to wake herself, sat up, then found blood in her hair;
She washed the clot away, and then she peered into the glass
And spied four tiny puncture wounds along her neck so fair.
Each eve the same unholy scare til thirteen rounds did pass;

The fourteenth, mother whiffed her, sprawled, a lifeless form, aghast;
Old Doc Smith wheezed, “Anemia,” but didn’t squint too close.
Her funeral, the first one held since when, a year, exact
Young Hillscomb pruned in prime of life, a wilted mottled rose.

Miss Pollyann’s fine polished pine, installed in graveyard’s rows,
Her lonely resting berth ignored except on sermon days.
No one will notice right away her newborn hunger grows;
Yet soon they’ll see the window panes in Hillscomb are ablaze.


Update as of 6pm EST:
What you see here now is the revised form of it after “editing like a cat.”  

Lucy is today’s host of dVerse. Lucy says:
We will write a poem about the transient notion of life to death, or topics germane to the theme. With a twist. We are going to write a ballad. This will/can include dark, gothic themes and imagery as it pertains to the theme. It’s October and we’re looking for some dark poetry, publies.

49 thoughts on “dVerse — Poetics — The Ballad of Hillscomb

  1. A very, very stunning ballad Lisa. I’m blown away at the amount of description and imagery that constructs this heartbreaking story. I also had to read it aloud and it flows so well. This is well-written and evocative to the October theme, grief and death. Amazing writing, as always! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That’s an epic ballad, Lisa! I like the way you switch the colours in the opening lines: ‘the sky turned blackish green’ and ‘green of corn turned black’, and the irony that your character’s name is Red. I love ‘rumors swarmed like ravens and conjecture sliced like knives’ – wonderfully dark similes!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Oh Lisa! This is sooooo good, well-crafted, and eerily precise! What a ballad for an October night! I enjoyed the heck out of this. This line stood out to me: “The rumors swarmed like ravens and conjecture sliced like knives;” OOOOOH. Love it. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I read it, and then I sang it through with a bit of a Celtic aire. I’m sitting on my hands to not pull out the guitar, since I really have to go to work now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alexandra, the thought of you singing it while playing guitar delights me. I hope when you have a day off from work you can do just that (and record it and share it, of course!) So cool!


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