Paper Dolls

Last night, I couldn’t sleep. It was hot and humid, the cooling fan wasn’t working, and the minute I opened the window, the entire cast of “A Bug’s Life” flew in for a reunion! By 02:30 a.m. I had all but given up, and so got out of bed and went to the living room. Not wanting to put on the main lights, I instead flicked on a small table lamp in the far corner, before going to the kitchen to get a cool drink. On my return, I was startled by how strange and eerie the living room appeared, lit by the single bulb of a small lamp. As I sat on the sofa, I started to think of something that Soul Gifts said to me in a comment on my short horror story Awake, in that things can appear so scarily different in the nighttime. In that moment, the line “Ethereal shadows playing tricks with the light” came into my mind, and from there, this following poem was born. 

Paper Dolls

Ethereal shadows playing tricks with the light,

Inanimate objects come to life in the still quiet of the night.

Scary is as scary does, are the thoughts that weave and wind,

In never ending circles in the recess of my mind.

The light fades ever further, and over in the corner,

A shadow moves – I’m sure it did – and a voice says “You should warn her”

“Warn me? Why?” I think out loud, as the rising ebony mass,

Unfolds itself from the shadows and preens in the looking-glass.

I hold my breath, my mouth goes dry; perhaps too scared to swallow,

And in my midnight fancy I hear a voice so deep and hollow.

“We are what we sow. What ye sow, so shall ye reap”

I turn my face to the pillow to hide the tears I silently weep.

The candle on the window-sill gutters; on the wall, shadows leap and dance

Like paper dolls in grotesque arabesques, as I pray for an end to this trance.

A breeze alights from the shutter, the candle flickers once more and then dies,

And I am plunged into darkness to await my fate, to come before the sunrise.

Seconds pass like minutes, the minutes tick by like hours,

I close my eyes and imagine a field filled with infinite flowers.

I pick one and inhale its perfume, as a voice says “The cockerel! He crows!”

And I open my eyes to the blessed sunrise, as the light through my window it flows.

The light emboldens my spirit; I raise myself from the bed,

To face the terrible ebony mass that had inflicted such fear and dread.

In spite of myself I cannot help but smile; a laugh takes the place of fright,

For there is naught to see but discarded clothes, and things that go bump in the night.



6 thoughts on “Paper Dolls

  1. Great poem! And thanks for the link to my blog. I really appreciate it. Just a tip about pingbacks which I learnt not that long ago – if you link to the home page the owner of the blog does not get notified (as in this case – I just happened to see it when I came to read). It is nice to know if your blog is being promoted or mentioned – and to pop by and thank the person. In order to do that, the pingback needs to be to a specific post. Nice poem BTW 🙂 I hope you slept better the next night.

    Liked by 1 person

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