Time to dig out some of my more spooky/sparky published poems.
Sounds in the Wind
I can hear in the wind
a wandering werewolf,
howling, hunting, haunting,
a jumbling giant,
barging, bashing, breaking,
a bruising bully,
pinching, punching, pushing,
a vicious vampire,
teasing, taunting, torturing,
a merciless monster,
smashing, slashing, storming.
I can hear the clouds being swept away
like mud from a clear, blue lake.
Published in The Works 5, Macmillan, 2006.
Wicked Winter Tree
Beware the Wicked Winter Tree
when it twists its twilight spell:
when it tangles itself into witches’ hair,
black and bleak as a bottomless well,
and scrapes the sunset bare.
Watch out for the Wicked Winter Tree
when it sweeps up the evening sky,
for who can tell what sneaky spell
may linger there, in its witches’ hair,
waiting for a passer-by?
Published in Moondust and Mystery, Oxford University Press, 2002.
This next one is a bit naughty! I wouldn’t encourage children in my workshops to write such unkind spells! Really, though, it’s poking fun at the silly spell-chanter.
Windswept cliff and creepy cave,
Make my uncle be my slave!
Make him serve me, meek and grave,
While I shout and rant and rave!
Spider black and cobra blue,
Make my aunt my servant too!
Make her serve me good and true,
While I tell her what to do!
Published in The Prime Minister is 10 Today, Macmillan, 2003.
(From) The Trees Behind the Teachers’ Cars
( a quartet of seasonal rhymes published together)
Behind the cars the trees have turned to treasure –
red as rubies, gold as gold bars.
If Sir was a pirate
he’d be cramming his boot with booty,
except that it’s really just leaves, of course,
Published in Read Me at School, Macmillan, 2009.
The next is presented in the book as an oval shape, like a necklace,
so please try to imagine it that way! You can start at any point. Answer at bottom of page.
Find the jewel that ends the chant.
Published in The Trying Flapeze, Oxford University Press, 2004.
This next poem is based on alleged sightings of a ghost in the wonderful Llanover Hall Arts Centre, Cardiff. The ghost is said to be that of the Lady of Llanover, who once lived there.
The Lurking Lady of Llanover
Have you ever seen a ghost
at Cardiff’s Llanover Hall?
On your way to ‘Drama’, perhaps, or Pottery?
No? Not at all?
Or have you, maybe, felt her most,
blowing a gale while the air stands still,
cold as the windswept West Wales coast?
Have you never felt her chill,
like a shudder across your face?
Or seen her standing, tall and still,
clothed in silk and snow-white lace?
Some have done.
Some have felt her in the passageway,
freezing the paintings on display,
or seen her in an empty room,
looming in the twilight gloom,
here at Llanover Hall.
But though she lurks so cool and tall,
she never spoils our fun.
Published in Fire to a Cold World, book two, Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC),
date not given.
WARNING: you need a strong stomach for this last one.
It’s only tenuously connected with Halloween too, in that ghosts could follow, if customers fail to read the crossed out words.
Death Hair Salon
How would you like to be the
deadest smartest Victorian man in town?
Treat yourself to a quick
life beard shortened!
throat hair cut!
that stupid head lanky hair drop through to the floor!
Fall down walk out through the trap front door a dead new man!
Let yourself be totally transformed
juicy meat pie man of the world!
surprise your friends on at the dinner table –
delight them with your brand new
Not even your own family will recognise you!
So, for a close shave – or
worse more – come straight inside.
mass murderer Family Barber, Sweeny Todd, is waiting to meat meet you!
Published in Hysterical Historical Poems, The Victorians, Macmillan, 2000.
Poems chosen by poet Brian Moses.
The jewel that ends my Witches’ Chant is ‘diamond’. The next word, ‘giant’, begins with a different letter, rather than being linked by a shared one.
All poems on this page are by, and copyright of, Kate Williams.
To republish any of the poems, or to book a workshop, or to ask a question, please get in touch! Contact details below.
Happy Halloween and wintry times!
Phone: 01446 760124.
(PS: Having some trouble getting website to accept my layout requirements, so apologies for the crammed up, irregular look.)