Even A Man

wolfman
The Wolf Man (1941)

The Witch

by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

I have walked a great while over the snow,
And I am not tall nor strong.
My clothes are wet, and my teeth are set,
And the way was hard and long.
I have wandered over the fruitful earth,
But I never came here before.
Oh, lift me over the threshold, and let me in at the door!

The cutting wind is a cruel foe.
I dare not stand in the blast.
My hands are stone, and my voice a groan,
And the worst of death is past.
I am but a little maiden still,
My little white feet are sore.
Oh, lift me over the threshold, and let me in at the door!

Her voice was the voice that women have,
Who plead for their heart’s desire.
She came—she came—and the quivering flame
Sunk and died in the fire.
It never was lit again on my hearth
Since I hurried across the floor,
To lift her over the threshold, and let her in at the door.

 


 

Poetry and play are synonymous in my life.  I realize that is not true for many people, the process of reading or writing arduous to those that find little pleasure in it.  I wrote Even A Man several years ago in October as a lark. I was remembering childhood horror movies in anticipation of Halloween and looking back on those movies that had made a particular impression on me.

In the 1960s television consisted of 5 broadcast channels on our black and white tube tv in St. Paul; ABC, NBC, CBS, Public Television and one independent channel WCTN that was local programming. A highlight of the local channel was Mel’s Matinee. Mel Jass a local TV personality hosted a movie in the early afternoon and regularly showed horror movies. Fortunately he mixed them up enough with other movies that once in a while I could sneak one over on my Mom and watch a movie that wouldn’t be otherwise allowed on the rare sick day when I stayed home from school or a rainy Saturday afternoon. These were horror movies unlike today’s genre of horror, which consists mostly of torture porn with prolific gore. These were classic B-movie titles from the 1940’s and 1950’s that were more campy than scary. Movies like The Blob, The Wolfman,  Dracula and one of my all time favorites – Gargoyles.  I was shocked to learn as an adult some of these films were made in color, it was just my TV that was in black and white.

I must have watched The Wolfman 10 times as a kid. It is burned into my brain that there is a witch like character who chants a short poem several times in the movie; “Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and Autumn moon is bright.”  I remembered those lines and wondered if it was tied to a longer poem, that predated the movie. Not surprisingly it wasn’t, it was only part of Hollywood horror script writing. So I playfully set out to finish the poem, using only the first line as a prompt.

Happy Halloween!


Even A Man

By T. A. Fry

“Even a Man who is pure at heart and says his prayers at night,”*
May become a wolf among the lambs, when the moon is full and bright.
Beware the growl, a yearning yowl, that sets some men apart.
`Best you fear the danger near that comes from grizzled hearts.

It’s not purity that will restrain a man or subjugate his obsessions.
Nor the piety of his refrains,  a fairer measure of his mind’s possessions.
Many holy men declared a war; righteous virtue as their banner.
And sent to their deaths countless scores while pious in their manner.

For men will slaughter their sisters and brothers to usurp what they desire.
And enslave their children for wealth and power to build their own empire.
If only the moon could show our doom and reveal terror lurking near,
We’d damn their slurs and kill the curs and never evil fear.

But here’s a truth that in this world there is good upon these lands.
For your mirror shows a deeper woe in whose visage wicked stands.
Before you decree that you can see those worthy of your wrath.
Best hold tight and shine a light upon your heart’s true path.

*The opening line is from the 1941 film The Wolf Man.  


 

© T. A. Fry and Fourteenlines, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to T. A. Fry and Fourteenlines with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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A Sonnet Obsession

I am a life-long Minnesotan who resides in Minneapolis. I hope you enjoy my curated selection of sonnets, short poems and nerdy ruminations.

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