Poetics: Outside looking in… Haunted Houses

For this Poetics Prompt I want us to be voyeurs, peeping through windows and doors of a house One that has no family connections, no memories of our own to call upon .

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Every town should have a haunted house,
It’s a requirement of Nature.
A kid’s rite of passage.

There must be porches and sunken cellarways,
Tattered curtains that filter shadows,
And always an attic.

Daring boys, in front of girls, ensures them company.
Tiptoes after dark with widened eyes,
As cobwebs ensnare the brave.

The ‘nothing’ inside holds a static charge,
Lonely walls, crowd any investigator,
And the wind does the rest.

A final dash and leap for your life
Licenses the survivors to conjure
Any tale they want- rumored ripples.

No police report of missing children needed.
Yet, year after year, they’ll grow in numbers
Until, the property is razed.

Every town should have a haunted house.
It’s a requirement of Nature.
And, all kids’ rite of passage.


32 thoughts on “Poetics: Outside looking in… Haunted Houses

  1. Lucy 08/10/2021 / 9:42 pm

    Love the feeling and vibe this brings–something chilling in memory but even more tragic in its story with the disappearance of children. It makes you wonder what went on in that house and what was inside it to make this happen in the first place. So many questions. I like how you draw us in with the fun idea of a haunted house at the beginning:

    “Every town should have a haunted house,
    It’s a requirement of Nature.
    A kid’s rite of passage.”

    And then, as you gradually reveal the inside of it, we see the horrors that lie beyond the rumors, that words alone leave to the imagination to think of what might have happened. Magnificent and haunting (sorry, had to, hahaha) writing! I enjoy reading your work. 😀

    • Susan St.Pierre 08/11/2021 / 7:16 am

      Thanks! I’m glad it was ‘haunting ‘ for you. I left a loophole on the ‘missing children’ by saying no police report was filed. Now, did they disappear? Or was that local legend that grew from rumors? 😳 We won’t ever really know.

  2. rothpoetry 08/10/2021 / 10:41 pm

    I really like your poem Susan. It sounds to me like you have been in a few haunted houses. Your images are great. Tattered curtains that filter shadows,
    and… cobwebs ensnare the brave.

  3. Vignesh S Raj 08/11/2021 / 12:25 am

    This such a wonderful description of a haunted house. Well written!

  4. ben Alexander 08/11/2021 / 12:50 am

    It’s a requirement of Nature.

    *hahaha* ~ this is so true, Susan 🙂
    Well done!!


    • Susan St.Pierre 08/11/2021 / 7:19 am

      😁 Imaginary scary things and kids, are a force of their own. Thank-you, David. ❤

  5. Laura Bloomsbury 08/11/2021 / 5:40 am

    so very well conjured – the allure of the haunted house perfectly encapsulated in “The ‘nothing’ inside holds a static charge,” but I especially loved
    “As cobwebs ensnare the brave”

  6. Ron Rowland 08/11/2021 / 5:50 am

    Love your list of “minimum requirements for a haunted house”

    • Susan St.Pierre 08/11/2021 / 7:21 am

      Gosh… they’re are standards ya know. 🤣 Thanks, Ron.

  7. writerravenclaw 08/11/2021 / 6:17 am

    I love ‘it’s a requirement of nature’, but the chilling part is the missing children.

    • Susan St.Pierre 08/11/2021 / 6:52 am

      All in their heads are the legends of missing children. No police reports. Thanks! 😉😊

  8. Ron. 08/11/2021 / 9:42 am

    We had one, down beyond the end of Hazard Ave (I kid you not). You describe it perfectly. Though no one ever vanished, they rarely revisited either.

    • Susan St.Pierre 08/11/2021 / 6:38 pm

      COOL! Well, the disappearances are usually rumors that take on a life of their own. Thanks, Ron!

  9. Helen Dehner 08/11/2021 / 3:21 pm

    We had an ancient house in my hometown, I cannot think of one kid who ventured inside. We all “knew” it must be haunted! I enjoyed your haunted house mandate ~~ yes I did.

    • Susan St.Pierre 08/11/2021 / 6:35 pm

      So pleased to hear that! Many tales must have floated around your town about the presumed creep goings-on. 😀

  10. msjadeli 08/11/2021 / 4:11 pm

    As your poem went on, I could feel chills going up my spine. Creepy!

      • msjadeli 08/11/2021 / 6:56 pm

        🙂 You’re welcome.

  11. SelmaMartin 08/12/2021 / 12:25 am

    Yes, every town should have one. Thanks for sharing this one. Enjoyed.

  12. sanaarizvi 08/12/2021 / 1:37 pm

    This is absolutely stellar writing 😀 I enjoyed the glimpse into a haunted house especially; “Daring boys, in front of girls, ensures them company. Tiptoes after dark with widened eyes, As cobwebs ensnare the brave.” 💝💝

    • Susan St.Pierre 08/12/2021 / 2:34 pm

      You made my heart so happy!
      It pleases me, from head to toe, that you enjoyed it! 🥰

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