It’s my favorite time of year: National Poetry Writing Month! Kicking NaPoWriMo 2019 off with the early-bird prompt: a self-portrait in the guise of a historical or mythical figure. Links to prompts will be found at the end of each poem.
Portrait of a Queen
Had I been born of Catherine of Spain,
my tongue would have clicked, twisted,
and rolled in my mouth like an acrobat,
my hair would have flocked to my shoulders like ravens.
Or had I been born of sweet Jane,
my hair would have glowed like the sun,
like the golden crown I’d have been born
to wear without ridicule, rumor, or question.
But I am born of the woman who bestowed me with
sharp tongue, quick wit, and poetic heart.
I am the daughter who fought
for crown, thrown, and scepter,
who painted her face white and kept
her flesh celibate to keep them.
I was born with my mother’s heart
stitched to my sleeve,
my father burning in my fiery hair,
a virgin queen destined to rule fervently
and leave behind a legacy bearing no heir.
As All Hallow’s Eve looms closer, the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead thins, until the one night of the year that spirits can step from their realm into ours—at least according to the Celtic traditions that evolved into modern day Halloween.
In celebration of all things creepy, crawly, and spooky, I’m reading Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey. In it, Dickey delves into the creaky floors, endless halls, and hidden staircases of America’s most famous haunted houses, hotels, churches, graveyards, cities, and public spaces.
A Brief Introduction to Ghostland
Even though Dickey explains in the “Author’s Note” that Ghostland is not about proving or disproving the existence of ghosts, he does, in a way, dispel their existence. That is, he offers historical explanations of the supposed ghosts’ former lives and the stories that people created about them. He clears up rumors, sets the stories straight. In a lot of cases, the lives of haunted houses’ former residents were exaggerated after suspicions of paranormal activity arose. Continue reading Ghostland’s Exploration of the Effects of Spiritualism on Women’s Rights & Female Stereotypes