This blog's poems are from my published poetry book Star Steeds and Other Dreams: The Collected Poems (CFZ Press: Bideford, 2009) and are © Dr Karl P.N. Shuker, 2009. Except for author-credited review purposes, it is strictly forbidden to reproduce any of these poems elsewhere, either in part or in entirety, by any means, without my written permission.

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Saturday, 6 August 2011


'The Country Cottage' (Sydney Currie)

Haunted houses are normally ten a penny, nothing special – but the ghost-associated cottage in this poem is very special, very different indeed, as you will discover…


Deep in a green woodland vale wrapped in sunbeams
Stands a small cottage, alone and afar;
Windows still shining, transparent and lucent,
Each pane alight like a shimmering star.

Over the walls clings a shroud of green ivy,
Crisp arrowed leaves shot with yellowing veins;
Emerald spear-heads outsplayed in the sunlight,
Beaming and gleaming from warm noontide rain.

Briars glisten softly with wet, fragrant roses,
Sending forth beauty in sweet-scented bliss;
Each one half-opened as if still in slumber,
Waiting for Summer’s awakening kiss.

Swallows skim swiftly from chimney to gable,
Mazarine star-bolts with waistcoats of flame;
Aerial gymnasts each vaulting o’er cloudlets,
Chasing and racing in sky-diving games.

Spiders spin curtains of gossamer fabric,
Hanging serenely from windows and walls;
Light as the soft gauzy drapings of Faerie,
Murals suspended in Oberon’s halls.

Blossom drifts gently down over the cottage,
Apple and cherry cast far from above;
Fragile and fragrant it sails on the zephyr,
Borne on the wingtips of Nature’s warm love.

So it seems strange that this cottage is haunted –
For, if we enter its small shaded rooms,
Phantoms ne’er loom forth to frighten or mutter,
Nothing appears from the shadows and gloom.

But if we let this small cottage’s image
Out of our sight for a moment or less,
When we look back, we will search for it vainly –
For it has gone, we will have to confess.

Although no spectres appear in its bedrooms,
There is a phantom of which it can boast.
And its strange secret it holds to this day – for
This lonely cottage itself is the ghost.

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