Dr Niamh's Children's Books

Childhood Imagination Sows Seeds of Future Brilliance

Post Your Poem/Story for Halloween!

Branches woven by nature,
canopied into laced dome,
splendid enough for one such as she.

Leaves rustled on forgotten ground,
in whispered collusion.

Day’s young light streamed through wooded sentinels.

She moved determinedly,
only she knew the way;
only she dared trespass upon sacred path,
toward what lay ahead

Waves of dark hair tumbled down slim, silked back,
alive in her fibre,
she trod the way of Druid lore,
stepping bravely over fallen leaf.

No bird sang that All Soul’s Morn.
Even silence keened her passing,
as she,
embraced her fitting end.

© Niamh Clune 2012 


About Dr Niamh

When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books. www.drniamhchildrensbooks.com

23 comments on “Post Your Poem/Story for Halloween!

  1. Elizabeth Castillo
    October 30, 2012

    Here ‘s one of my horror poems inspired by Bry’s mystic photoart and one of the poems featured in an anthology “Hiding in the Shadows” :

    The Ghost From Nowhere

    Up in the hills lies this daunting, abandoned haunted house
    A winding staircase leading up to a belfry,
    An eerie feeling jolts one upon entering its threshold
    As creepy sounds echo in the chilly cold air,
    Chiming in to the spookish lamentation of a ghoulish apparition.

    Anyone who dares break in the abominable silence of this uncanny place
    Will envision this ghost of a lady in white coming from nowhere,
    With blood-stained, piercing eyes that hypnotize you in a frenzy
    A soul that has gone through worldly sufferings,
    She frightens each one who threatens to own her immortal sanctuary.

    Elizabeth E. Castillo Copyright 2012


  2. Vivian Rinaldo
    October 30, 2012

    Here’s my Halloween scary story (Vivian Rinaldo):


    There was thunder but no lightning; the air crackled with electricity, making Carolina’s hair frizz out around her head. The power had gone out more than an hour ago, and she couldn’t find her emergency candles; more than that, she was royally pissed because she was missing “House”. Sitting in the dark, she reflected for the millionth time on the fact that she was woefully unprepared for any kind of catastrophe. No weather radio, no flashlight, no candles (not to mention no matches to light them with – and now she remembered why she should always have a gas stove instead of electric) no lanterns, no batteries, and about enough food in the fridge and cupboards to last, possibly, until morning, if she was very frugal.

    The wind moaned, but she wasn’t intimidated; she didn’t believe in ghosts. She considered getting in her car and driving around to see how Nashville looked in the dark, but she doubted she could find her keys, either. Besides, all the traffic lights would be out, and she had a nervous feeling that there was a semi out there in the dark somewhere with her name on its grill. A fireplace would have been nice and cozy, maybe would have even given off enough light to read by. She didn’t have one of those, either. “Damn,” she murmured softly, then laughed at her reluctance to make a loud human sound. “HA, HA!” she shouted….strange how that echoed. She’d have bet the house was more solid than that.

    She reached for the telephone, then scolded herself. “You idiot, the phones will be out, too.” Suddenly, she remembered the cell phone, and began groping around in the living room for her purse. A loose safety pin – conveniently open, of course – impaled her just as her fingers closed on the pink Sprint flip phone, and she opened it eagerly. At least she could call someone and talk. The backlight came on, then a beep, the message “Low Battery”, and the phone powered down. Dead. “Jeez, what else could go wrong tonight?” she growled.

    A touch against her leg, and she jumped several inches backward. Frankie, her enormously fat tiger tabby, rubbed static sparks against her bare calf. “Ow, Frankie! Cut it out! Stupid cat!”

    She felt him sit down on her left foot, and she knew he was nonchalantly grooming himself. The urge to boot him across the room welled up in her, but she tamped it down. “You’re lucky you are the only friend I have, or you’d be violin strings about now,” she muttered, shoving him over and making her way back to the couch. Even with the blinds up and the curtains parted, the room was cave dark. How lucky, she thought, that there’s NO moon tonight. That might have made the whole thing bearable, and we can’t have that, can we?

    Carolina pulled a knitted afghan off the back of the couch and covered her legs; she didn’t feel especially cold, but there was something extremely shiverish tonight about being in the dark in the silent house. Finally, she could stand the creaky stillness no longer, and she got up, groped around for her sneakers, and headed toward the front door. Her purse gave up a very small pen light; she tucked a key to the house into her pocket, locked the door behind her, and headed down the sidewalk toward the National Cemetery.

    “May as well visit the dead,” she muttered to herself. She loved the Cemetery, with its more than 16,000 Union soldiers’ headstones, the sad, forgotten graves of the ‘unknowns’, and the lonesome wail of the L & N as it bisected the grounds. She reveled in the shocked responses of her faraway relatives to whom she revealed that most areas of Tennessee actually stood for the Union Army during the Civil War. For many it was the first time they’d ever thought about Tennessee as anything other than backward, bib-over-alled, cousin-marrying, gun-toting, tobacco-spitting hicks. Very satisfying.

    She got to the gates, visible only because the heavy cloud cover parted briefly, and found them closed and locked. “Damn!” In the dimness, she could see but not read a sign that probably explained why. Carolina turned to head back toward home, hesitated, looked around, then realized that the stone wall surrounding the Cemetery was only about four feet high. She couldn’t help giggling to herself over the fact that the gates were wrought iron topped with vicious-looking spikes, but the wall that held them up on either side was so low she could easily jump – well, at least step – over it. “Maybe it’s not to keep me out, but to keep them in!” she said softly, then burst into brays of laughter caused at least as much that idea as by the eerie shadows of the willow branches along one side of the wall that swayed gently in the humid breeze.

    Carolina tucked the pen light into her pocket, threw one leg up over the rock wall, hoisted herself up and over and landed with a jolt in a sizable hole on the other side. For just a moment, she entertained the horrific thought that she had climbed deliberately but unknowingly into an open grave. “Come on, now, get a grip,” she scolded herself. “It is highly unlikely that anyone would dig a grave this close to the outer perimeter of the graveyard.” Pulling the pen light back out of her pocket, she pressed the button and looked around her. “Oh, my God, are you a big pansy,” she grumbled. “It’s just where they dug up an old tree stump. The roots were probably growing under the wall and cracking the stones. Jeez!” Hoisting herself up out of the hole, she brushed off the dirt and leaves that clung to her jeans and headed deeper into the Cemetery.

    Humming along with the music the-dj-in-her-head played, she moved slowly between headstones, touching one here, brushing grass off another there, carefully not stepping directly on the graves themselves. She paused for a moment, considering why. Certainly the dead don’t care, and horror movies to the contrary, corpses hardly ever rise up and grasp the legs of the unwitting. She giggled again. “Oh, my girl,” she encouraged herself, “you really need to get out more. You’re bringing talking to yourself to a whole new level.”

    A momentary break in the clouds allowed her to see a concrete bench near one of the beautiful old willows, and she headed for it. It pleased her just to sit and think sometimes among people who could neither praise nor criticize. She pulled a much-used tissue out of her pocket and brushed away the crusty remains of pigeon gifts before sitting down. The dj in her head was now playing some nearly forgotten tune by WHAM!, and it was driving her crazy. She couldn’t remember the name of the song, and the same phrase repeated itself in her mind – “I don’t want your freedom…” What the hell, she thought, and tried a trick her mother had taught her when she complained about the music. Out loud, she sang with great gusto but less than perfect pitch, “Mare-zee doats and dozee doats and liddle lambs eedivee. A kid’ll eedivee too, wouldn’t you?” Taking a deep breath, she repeated the refrain, then moved on to the chorus. “If the words sound queer, and funny to your ear, a liddle bit jumbled and jive-ee, sing Mares eat oats, and does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy. Oh…” She broke off suddenly, aware of another sound that was certainly NOT coming from her. It was a strangely familiar sound, sort of like a train whistle or the lonely cry of a wolf separated from its pack, but she couldn’t quite tell what it was. She closed her eyes and focused her attention, listening so hard her ears began to ring with the silence that now fell.

    “Humph,” she grunted. “Must’ve imagined it. Must be time to head home; I’m starting to hear things.” Looking around her, she doffed an imaginary hat to those she was leaving, and turning to go, she sang out, “WOULDN’T YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU?” And then, there it was again, just a trace of a sound underneath her own caterwauling. She shut up abruptly, but at the same moment, the other sound stopped, too. “Okay this is just stupid,” she groused. “I’m imagining things, it’s creepy here, the wind is blowing, it’s too dark to see, I’m in the middle of a graveyard…” There! There it was again.

    She turned slowly and headed back toward the gates, using the pen light sparingly – its faint flicker told her the battery was nearly exhausted – to avoid running over the head stones that now loomed like a grisly obstacle course in front of her. And now she longed for the dj in her head to play something happy – loud, too – but he obstinately refused to accommodate her. There was a deep quiet inside her, a quiet that rang with intensity. Her feet felt suddenly heavy, and a tiny squirm of panic began to grow. Where the hell was the wall? Where were the gates? How had she gotten so turned around? All she could see as she pivoted slowly on her heels was a vast ocean of stones. “Oh, for God’s sake, get a grip on yourself, Carolina Parmenter. You know the way out of here; you’ve been here before and there is nothing – abso-fucking-lutely nothing scary about a field full of dead people. It’s just a weird crop that Farmer God planted over the last hundred and forty-three or so years. Just dust and hair and a gold filling or two to show for His work.” She shrugged the tension out of her shoulders and tried to get her bearings. “If the moon would peek out just for a second until I could figure out where I got turned around!”

    It was the sound again. Low, but there. It drove her crazy that she couldn’t identify it; she was certain she’d heard it before…but where…how…when. She just couldn’t place it. Carolina pressed the button of the pen light again, but the beam was now so weak that it didn’t even illuminate her own feet beneath her. She shoved it back in her pocket, and a trembling laugh seeped out of her mouth as she imagined herself back at home, putting the pen light in the junk drawer that also held dead batteries, pens that had run out of ink, scotch tape rolls that were stuck to themselves, and pencils with no erasers. What a treasure trove, she thought. I should bring all that crap here and bury it along with all the useless junk in this place.

    The wind kicked up a bit, the clouds parted briefly, and she could see the gates no more than 150 yards to her left. Baffled, she started toward them, but the wind died down again, the clouds massed together, and she had a frightening feeling of being disoriented in space. The distance between her feet and her head was so vast that she could no longer tell she was moving. For just a second, she considered the idea that she might be having a seizure, experiencing a psychotic break, or maybe suffering a mini-stroke.

    She stopped where she was, squatted down, wrapped her arms around her bent legs, and rested her chin on her knees, closing her eyes. Rocking gently back and forth, she murmured, “It’s okay now. It’s going to be okay now. It’s okay. Just calm down. Nothing’s wrong, nobody’s hurt, you’re not lost, the world isn’t coming to an end.” The wind stopped blowing suddenly, and she could hear a train off in the distance, faint but clearly recognizable – and in no way the same sound as what she had heard before in the graveyard. She knew that, not sure how she knew, but certain she was right. The ground beneath her seemed to ripple slightly, and she tumbled over, releasing her knees and thrusting her hands beneath her to catch herself. It was a slow-motion collapse, but once she was down, she realized how horribly tired she really was. At once frightened and exhausted, she opened her eyes and, on hands and knees, began to crawl toward the gates. She could still see them, but she didn’t seem to be getting any nearer. It was like walking on a treadmill – she could feel the earth beneath her moving under her hands and knees, but she was getting nowhere.

    Carolina was frightened, truly frightened, and now she began to weep softly; the dj in her head began to mock her – no longer satisfied to play music that would drive her mad, he had become at once her judge and her tormenter, her critic and her disappointed parent. His words were barbs, rusty but still sharp, piercing her heart and forcing her breath out in sobs.

    * * * * *

    “And the incredible irony of it all is this: she loved cemeteries; she talked about how sweetly romantic the headstones could be, how grim, how hopeful the epitaphs. She died right here, folks, scared literally to death.” Voices murmured in shivery delight, and leaves crackled beneath the feet of the Ghostly Tour participants.


    • ontheplumtree
      October 30, 2012

      OOOOOOOOH! Vivian. Great story! Full of wit and humour and I love the song. I knew it as Little Annsey Divey….(not sure if that is the spelling though.


  3. JLBCreatives
    October 30, 2012

    Twas a crisp autumn day – blue skies, lingering brilliant colors dotting the thin lines of tree limbs, preparing for winter. The door bell rang. She smiled as it was the only night of the year when she received visitors. The elderly woman did not care that they were masked, in fact it made it even better as she could imagine the beggars to be whomever she wanted them to be. Some brought memories to her of her wondrous days when she dreamed of being a princess. Others led her to deeply buried memories of those she had met throughout her life who had been like demons, mocking – hurling snide remarks – and setting traps to snare her – but nonetheless she happily dropped sweetness into their treat bags too. She would talk and laugh with them, and compliment them on their homemade disguises.The peculiar visitors only lasted for a couple of hours. But she did not mind; it was the only two hours out of a year that people came to her door, asking for something sweet. And that something sweet she gave them brought back the warm feeling of tangible compassion she had been able to give in the past so freely. She watched the last tiny goblins disappear into the fog-ridden night. She closed her door for the last time that evening. “How could anyone not like Halloween?” she thought to herself. “For I see it as a time of giving and receiving. For the small tokens that I give, I receive such wonderment. I know behind those masks are children with grand imaginations. They’re filled with dreams, just as I once was. And if I can be but one person in their lives who gives them a smile, and the encouragement to never stop being creative, then I’ve accomplished what I am on this earth to do. My work here is done for another year.” She leaned on her walker and went to her bed. Oddly, she always slept with a smile on this one supposed frightful night every year.


  4. Susie Bertie
    October 30, 2012

    Snap of leaves and crackle of night
    the scent of pumpkin fires
    branches bereft of summers green
    as tonight our dreams take flight

    masked & marked the goblins play
    kicking up the the dust of fall
    weary the spirit that lingers too long
    as midnight tempts the fey

    thru the streets the trail weaves
    pocked by crumbs of candy corn
    hauntings & howlings under moon’s spell
    tonight on All Hallows’ Eve


    • ontheplumtree
      October 30, 2012



      • soziebird
        October 31, 2012

        thank you Niamh … sorry I couldn’t get the picture to load correctly : s


  5. Juliette
    October 30, 2012


    Fridays are usually my lunch hunt date. I switched things up this week and took Cody, my young “Vampire in Training” out with me on Thursday.

    Lunch dates are fun ways for Vampires to hunt right out in the open. They involve fun, flirting, a bit of seduction and just enough blood to get you going for the weekend ahead. And regular humans never even suspect. They just leave the situation feeling warm and fuzzy, a little tired, and they think they’ve, well, you know.

    Cody and I had arranged to meet an old friend of mine at my office with an associate of his. They were Lobbyist for the farming industry (after all we’re in the State Capitol and in the largest agricultural state). Mike and Melissa. I’m in public relations and do work for them from time to time.

    Cody is shy by nature, a sweet likeable young man, but when it comes to hunting he is extremely shy. Most new Vampires can’t wait to get hunting, but with Cody it is more of a sweet romance, rather than just taking what one wants.

    So to make a short story long, a guy in a suit shows up at the door. He looks like he’s been to hell and back then I recognize him as Mike. Behind him is Melissa, who is usually the perkiest blonde I’ve ever met, looking ashen and un-perkey.

    I wonder if someone died, then realize, somebody has. They don’t smell right. They don’t look right. My stomach turns. Even Cody is picking up on something.

    I step back.

    “Juliette” says Mike “You have to help us.”

    He puts his hand on my arm and I immediately feel it – ZOMBIES.

    Funny, likable and extremely smart Mike, a sixth generation California farmer, graduate of UCD (THE Farm School) and successful advocate for the farmer is now…for all practical purposes DEAD.

    And don’t give me any crap about being a Vampire. My flesh isn’t rotting and I’m not craving human brains for lunch. Plus I know where my soul is.

    I’m confused. Both Mike and Melissa look good, all things considering.

    Plus I thought all the Zombies had been confined to a compound in the Mojave Desert outside of Barstow.

    “We’ve taken massive amounts of antibiotics to help prevent the rot and we’ve been drinking a lot of embalming fluid. That keeps the smell off and slows down the rot.” Mike told us.

    The pair was driving across the Imperial Valley when they were stopped at a roadblock. Little did they know what seemed to be police were actually rogue Zombies. Later that night they were picked up by the authorities and brought to the super secret Area Z, where Zombies are kept to be monitored and studied.

    I thought of long afternoons with Mike and how sweet his blood tasted. I thought of the slow seductions and languid after glows. Now here he was, doing everything he could to keep his skin from falling off in sheets. Holy crap, this was bad.

    “What do you need?” I asked.

    Mike put a hand to his face, adjusting his left eye back into the socket. “I want you to turn us into Vampires.”

    OK, this is where the sound effects do a screeching halt. The very idea of a Zombie is revolting but putting my lips on the flesh of a Zombie and sharing blood. Putrid rotting blood.

    “Has this ever been done?” Asked Cody.

    “No, or at least never that I’ve heard of.” I said. “So much could go wrong.”

    “Nothing could be worse than it is already.” Melissa wailed and watched as her thumbnail fell to the floor along with the tip of her thumb.

    I thought about it for a moment then spoke in secret to Cody. I had an idea. If it worked we’d be heroes. If it didn’t we’d have to kill the Zombies, no matter that they were our friends.

    I took Cody into the small kitchen area of the office where we bit into our wrists and let our own Vampire blood drain into two coffee cups.

    The Zombies drank and before our eyes their skin went from gray to the color of their former living flesh (peaches & cream and coffee & cream – Vampires always think of everyone in terms of food, we can’t help it).

    “I won’t turn you, not yet, but see if this helps. Don’t tell a soul, or anyone without a soul. Don’t tell anyone or I will hunt you down and kill you myself. Do you understand?”

    They said they understood. I thought my stomach was going to drop out and my head would explode as they left the building.

    Cody was about to speak when I told him. “The same goes to you Cody. If you tell a soul I will kill you and it won’t be fast or painless.”

    “Got it.” Said Cody. I thought of my favorite movie line and said to Cody. “This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

    Cody smiled. Then and there I knew he’d make a great Vampire.

    I’ll keep you posted on Mike and Melissa – when and if I hear anything.


    • ontheplumtree
      October 30, 2012

      Sound of loud clapping! Wonderful and witty!


    • the secret keeper
      November 1, 2012

      to vampiremaman: what an enthralling story. how vivid & curiously delightful. a supporter of vampires but not particularly a fan of zombies but to convert them, what a miracle. how amazingly surprising that it was successful. J.K. the secret keeper ps. just couldn’t refrain from making a comment.


    • soziebird
      November 1, 2012

      Love this 🙂 !!!!


  6. Steve Corn
    October 30, 2012

    Icy Fingers Grasp

    Steve Corn

    The bright full moon, piercing
    like a searchlight, transmits
    its’ a primeval signal.
    No clouds to obscure or insulate
    us from it.

    The first freeze thrived
    as the heat escaped the Earth
    drawn to Helios to warm him
    in old age.

    The peppers tomatoes and herbs
    have given back all.
    Yesterday, standing shiny and tall –
    today – black wrinkly death is all.
    Wilted, withered, weathered, spent.

    The grasses are sprinkled with pixy dust.
    Glints of rainbow colors
    sparking into and out of existence.
    A gaze moves against
    the rising warming rays
    prisms of frozen diamonds – Radiate

    Fiery reds are dead now.
    Yellows and browns
    shrinking islands of pea soup
    bubble in the rusty canopy .

    The cauldron brewing
    the fruits of the final harvest;
    everything Nature provided
    over three fruitful seasons.
    is combined and stored.

    Ancient rites – All – mark this
    Majick season.
    The veil is thinning.
    Jack Frost has made it so.


  7. the secret keeper
    November 1, 2012

    In the dark
    By Jennifer Kiley

    in the dark
    used to light
    light at night
    never out
    dark has power
    light has shades
    quite shy but bright
    still strong
    it holds power
    that lurks
    outside light
    in the darkness
    in the light
    in the light
    of the night

    behind space
    light untouched
    rare shadows are found
    at night that light
    has missed
    darkness hides
    in the mist

    always there’s light
    no matter how faint
    but don’t forget now
    it’s the night before saints
    it’s all hallows eve
    where magic does live
    so without notice
    no readiness planned
    while you’re alone
    and the tv drones on
    the ultimate blackness
    that touch on your face
    no hand is seen
    no sight to see
    all senses fail
    confusion’s free

    no one’s ready
    for what’s to be
    our lives in darkness
    blackness free
    all light has gone
    no way of knowing
    too soon to die

    what if power and the sun
    have vanished from sight
    blackness is born
    a devils’ delight

    what strength has been won
    a world once so bright
    the light it is gone
    forces take flight

    will there be a way
    for the world to return
    where sanity was
    or from evil we learn

    discover the depth
    of good inside evil
    dark or light
    takes your breath

    can it be
    this would happen
    an acceptance by all
    or will death take our lives
    and darkness will fall

    will life slip away
    to exist nevermore
    will the blackest of darkness
    ending light there’s no cure

    © Jennifer Kiley 2012


    • ontheplumtree
      November 1, 2012

      Existence and non-existence are archetypal absolutes…as far as we know. Or is there a veil? Some of us imagine there is. Some of us have experienced the absolute black.


      • the secret keeper
        November 2, 2012

        I would go with the veil, a thinness of separation from the being and the nothingness, the blackness and the light. The thought of being in the nothingness, if that is possible, seems scarier than any existence. The absolute black would be terrifying. That is why death brings on fear. It could be it leaves you in the absolute black for eternity. I don’t wish to believe this is true but my wishes can’t change or alter what has always been infinite. There is something in the absolute black to fear and that there is not visibility one can not tell what it is one is fearing.


  8. the secret keeper
    November 1, 2012

    Hi Niamh, Posted All Hallow’s Eve poem on 10.31.12 @ 9:35pm EST in on the wire. Writing with one eye open should count. Finished editing a few minutes before posting. Putting on “the secret keeper” with music and .gif. This is a grand idea for a Post. Make it a tradition every year. Maybe you already have. It was fun writing this poem last night and editing tonight. Not easy when you can’t really see. Put loved every minute. Happy Halloween. Hope you had a good night last night you time. J.K. ps. Let’s keep the spirits out for one more night. Why can’t the Spirits and the Saints celebrate together. YEAH!!!!!!! Lots of Love from Shawn and I. She helped me edit poem. Gave me a great deal of help all day long.


  9. thiskidreviewsbooks
    November 1, 2012

    Love your poem!
    By Erik

    Halloween is here,
    It’s a scary time of year,
    Come and get creeped good!

    Monsters everywhere,
    Ghosts come down to scare us,
    Witches fly their brooms!

    Halloween is here,
    It’s a scary time of year,
    Come and get creeped good!


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