Some Verses Regarding the Township (and Immediate Environs) of Bear Creek
by T.J. Price, 3:49am July 10th 2022

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EDITOR'S NOTE: The following quintet of strange poems were discovered written in the remaining pages of a journal, which itself was found in the wreckage of a 1970s Chevrolet pickup truck, in the woods near Bear Creek. The truck has since been colonized by all manner of flora and fauna, not the least of which have rendered the rest of the journal illegible for various reasons. Either that, or the remainder of the pages in the journal have been ripped out by unknown hands.

 

Among the rest of the possessions found in the wreck, there is also a small backpack filled with medium-sized rocks, upon each of which are inscribed odd glyphs that do not conform to any known language or established runic system. There are enough of these rocks to weigh down the backpack, if one were to be interested in drowning oneself.

 

On the front of the backpack are the initials "TN," though whether this refers to the state of Tennessee, the initials of the owner, or some other signifier altogether, it is not clear. The truck does not possess license plates, and its VIN has been carefully shaved off. The windshield is crazed and shattered. There is no body to speak of, nor a single drop of blood to be found.

 

References made to persons living or dead may be real; there is a Voss family, for example, that live near to where the wreck was discovered, but little is known of them due to their stalwart resistance to any form of government or authority. The only Voss family that is known to us currently lives "up the holler," as it were, and refuse all interactions with strangers.

 

As to the fifth verse, we can only guess at what is meant. There is an ominous quality about the word "harrowhound," though we have heard the baying in the woods around Bear Creek at night, and we do sometimes wonder what creature's throat could possibly conjure up that noise—

 

Finally, of the sixth verse, all that remains is the title, and we are left to speculate on what it could possibly mean. Many have drawn associations with the star named Wormwood in the Book of Revelation. In addition to this, David Hellstrom, working with the National Forestry Services, claimed at one time to have videotape proof of a meteor landing in the woods to the westernmost part of Bear Creek, though there are no other reports of this occurring. Mr. Hellstrom's current whereabouts (and the evidence, not to mention said meteor's ostensible crater) are unknown.

 

 

I: Welceom to Bear Creek

Bear Creek's a pinprick of black blood on the map.

A battersigned hamlet.

Population whoever, whenever.

 

The hill, the dale.

The old scoal country. The greenglass shine.

The buzz and humm of woods all-arounding.

 

Stay a little while.

Navigate the smileroad of strangers.

The villagefolk of Bear Creek are kind, wise.

Wear toothen smiles.

Cane-hop from indoor to outdoor.

 

A hookman by the water, rodwielding.

Gripperung delft-tail, out of the sloshing riverworks.

A twisty scintillant of silverscale & grey. A huge, open eye.

A fin and a flash.

Suppertime at sundown.

 

The mottled factory, all broken brick and windows.

Dogs yilping in the backdistance.

Gilded puddles, lacy with sunlight.

 

Here: the old crag, a hag's-tooth in the wild.

Here: the rushing water. The flibbering fish.

A growlig, a yawnsk.

The old she-bear lumbers home.

 

Night falls down with a crash.

The moon wins the sun's tugowar.

It catapults to the keep of the sky.

It arranges the mothly crown over its brow.

It spreads its white glower on us below.

 

II. Procession

Widow Voss is dead.

Chain the garlands.

Sigh the songs.

Light the pyre.

 

Something huge & invisible trails the cortège.

Listen—the bees are speaking.

Little eidolons in the lilac trees.

 

III. Orison

Brightly dim, the gloam.

Fields sawn low with blades.

Stele stones poke out of the stubbled wheat.

Scarred, vuglary faces.

 

Go instead to the clasp of the woods.

Past hawkcall, thrusharel and chittlechick.

 

Prayerful, knelt amidst the stickleburs and gorse.

Stenchful, charry breeze wafting by.

The jerried horse tenses, whickering by the juniper.

Old dandelions still aloft tell false time.

 

Runneling rivulet tear carves a channel in the cheek.

 

Down by the water's lap, bend again.

Touch wet to lip and brow.

Plead with a memory.

IV. O Devill

Bear Creek, bronzeled and shiversome,

Careens from rock to shore.

Gurgles and glickers.

Fouts and darts from cleft to crove.

Wide enough, no. Deep enough, yes.

 

She drowned her babby not yet sixmold, oh.

See: the curly ringlets of the creek.

The plashy murmurate of the water.

A scold, a sigh.

Saddfell witness, oh.

 

T' Devill's been about me, she cried.

The babby's wan face afloat in the whorl.

A pale mask afloat in the whorl, oh.

 

T' Devill's been in me ear and up me skirts,

been up me stairs and in me bowls. I done

ate up t' Devill afore I ken his babble

was gestering in me stum.

 

The babby oozed outa me syruplike, tho twice as sweet.

All dimpledun glimmer and glamor.

A foxling in the eggery.

 

She said—the babby's all howls in t' hours of the owl.

Callin its feathership to the crib.

Evil bespouts from its hagrit beak.

See! Babby slides a-sleep, all smiles, oh.

Knock, turn. The owl afluts the room.

Gone afore I knob.

 

Wicket thing, spilt fromunder me skirts.

Return ye to the bubbledy venglow!

Return to brimble and gnash!

 

Yet when it is done, oh!

Yet when it is finished.

Horror-split, she cries: Oh, my poor weakly babby!

Drowned by these hands, in this creek's lushy waters, oh!

 

Her husband's axe, oh.

The bloody stump, oh.

 

In the trees, the owl twists its neck.

Hoots its dirgey croon.

 

V: The Harrowhound

Venge and rath-faced comes the demon.

Hirtling overt holler and dell.

A-quail! A-quickle!

A-hecken hidey down, down in the dirt.

Its snarfs and clawsnatches.

Can come as can catchyer!

Neath the feiry eyes the fiery claws,

The wistrous snout, the grimpling jaws!

 

And all covered o'er by the thistle of Helle,

Brackly numblit by the lamplight,

Scissor-quick past the dogsbody sleepen.

 

Is at my window, the cozel-faced vulgate,

All slaver and sigh.

So sanguine, so tattery.

 

To you? Naught but a warble in the air.

To me? A malvert horror, grinnilig and mythy.

 

Go back! I quaver.

Its vethy grin hovers in the air before me.

Each fang drippuling and salivant.

 

I struggle to writh.

 

I feare, oh.

I feare the incumbing Bheast—!

 

VI: The Wormy Star