William F Dougherty

Freshman - 542 Points (West Hartford, CT)

Lamia In Blackburn Wood - Poem by William F Dougherty

[In the form of traditional folk ballad.]


In Blackburn Wood a maid betrothed
that rode a garlanded mare
by cutthroat maimed for maidenhood
writhed in crimson there.

Dislimbed beneath a shrieking sun
and left for carrion-kite,
the savaged maid survived their beaks,
and slithered into night.


By summer's end, to Blackburn Wood
a sheath of night returned;
beneath its hood and tapered robe
maiden vengeance burned.

'Disrobe and yield or fall in blood,
this blade rejects all pleas:
I leave a maid a looping asp
that will not lift her knees.'

'I'll shed my robe and hood that am
no maid to fear such thing;
to chill your blazing blood I bear
a maiden's righteous sting.'


A lethal hiss cut short his grunts,
bestial snarl hardened to stone,
as ramping venom drained him faint
and pale as weathered bone.

Up from a clump of blasted weeds
there rose in mid-day light
from cutthroat's ribs and skull, pecked clean,
a flock of swollen kite.

A field away a sheath of scales,
resembling robe and hood,
curled round a broken garland
redeemed in Blackburn Wood.

*(Lamia in Greek myth is a serpent with the head
and breasts of a woman.)

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 6, 2012

Poem Edited: Monday, July 2, 2012

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