Folktober Sonnets by Paul Brookes

Autumnal Green Man

Spiders thread my lips lightly together.
My leaves become their actual colours
and fall from my face, red, yellow, ochre.
My voice rustle of green leaves is no more.

I am the scent of ripe apple and pear.
I am the rain on sodden bark, slow time.
My days shorter, dark sooner, light rarer.
I am burning leaves. Face of Harvest time.

After the fires, my mouth nose and eyes spout green
shoots, new leaves bud and grow on my barkskin.
I flourish once more. An aspect of dream.
Memory of ice. Warmth without, within.

In stone, wood or paper I decay lose
definition, but still my image grows

2. Erl-King

Hear the gust music my air blows through this reed?
Inhabits your ear, delights all your senses.
A new birdsong, fresh animal track, beads
a sprightly beat, warm summer days, tenses


new sugar tastes on your tongue, blood hums your bones.
Now you see me, in rich purple, rare blue.
Your mouth opens, I reach out, touch your grown
laughter, imprison your youth in situ.

I am your first child who needs shelter, hugs,
clothes, your patience and long conversations.
I am your elderly parents that tug
at their recall more and more frustration.

Enticed by freedom find yourselves in chains.
I laugh and play a sprightly flute on your pains.


3. Freybug

"Be not afraid of fray-bugs which lie in
the way." so English martyr describes me
1555. I'm a frightening
 obstacle to overcome. Popery

railed against, authority imprisoned
him, requested he recant, he refused.
They ordered him burnt He welcomed
hugged stake said it was cross of Christ. And loosed,

" Welcome Everlasting life!" Not afraid
of me when he met me in various
ways. Burnt February of year he made
mention of me his words always pious.

Some say I'm reason, today's way who blocks
fanaticism, shows easy paths plot.


4. I, Ginny Greenteeth

I, Ginny Greenteeth invite all of you,
boys and girls to dance and play on this green
mat, I've laid out especially for you.
Look how the sun shines on it. The wild sheen

invites your feet to press upon it, fetch
football to its wonderful pitch, not
scuffed up and muddy but fresh and fine, stretch
your legs, leap on this cool turf goal spot.

Don't read those old, battered out of date signs.
Don't listen to uncool mam and dad bleat
to you about playing safe. Where's the fun time
in that? Risk it for a biscuit. Compete.

I will take you where you can play all day.
Step on this duckweed, don't do as they say.

5. We Were Green

tending to flocks of mother and dad's big cattle,
we hear clapping of bells, a call
to colour of bells, we fell into twig
of twilight, a dark cave of hammers fall.

They said our words were not understanding,
so we went with them, our garb they were not
knowing, and we were green and lazing
They took us with them to a big door knock.

Inside they passed foul tastes bruv and me were
having none of until we could split pods
roll the bean inside our strange tongues slur
and soon we were pink again and their god

taught us their way of understanding to
I can say these things. Am servant and do.

6. The Marden Mermaid

Bell banging, clattering keeps me awake. 
so rope that held it snaps and it rolls here. 
Sunk into my home this bright stream's intake. 
I wrap myself inside it, searchers near. 

I sleep while twelve white freemartins with yokes 
of sacred yew and mountain ash bands dredge 
and men bind rope to bell, drawn out by folk
in needful silence. Raised to river's edge, 

I asleep inside. Excited driver 
calls out, "In spite of all the devil's in 
hell, now we'll land Marden's great bell.", diver 
with bell I announce "If it had not been

for your wittern bands and your yew tree pin, 
I'd have had your twelve freemartins in!" 

*Freemartin was a sterile cow 

7. Sheela Na Gig

I sit in stone above this church door. 
You must crane your neck to see me carved here. 
I am bald naked my pendulous raw 
breasts hang just above my spread legs. Come near. 

Life enters and returns to me. What 
is it about me that fascinates you? 
Celebrate my fertility and shock 
of my age. Once I was hidden from view. 

I was in darkness, a cloth thrown over 
me. Somebody was ashamed of what they 
saw in me. Cloth lifted, life unsmothered. 
Folk passing through my door see my display. 

I don't know why I was placed so high up. 
I look down, vulnerable, opened up. 

8. I, Owlman

I, Owlman fly above the church steeple 
in corrugated cardboard wings made by mum, stapled and brown sellotaped in full. 
Didn't mean to scare those girls who walked by. 

My feathers are all soggy in the rain, fall 
apart. Soon owl will go, leaving just me. 
Mum took sharp scissors and curled all 
these brown paper strips now all soggy. 

Kitchen roll tubes are like a skeleton 
under my wings. My claws weren't very sharp, 
so I used kitchen knives after she passed on. 

My late mum is an owl now with a harp. 
I used to only go out in the dark 
as an owl. Now I, Owlman in my heart. 

9. Every Woman Needs To Be a Dryad

I am all my tree, and my tree is me.
Cut my bark, and I bleed. I float on leaves.
Lay your back against my skin, tell story
after story. Words are my memories.

I asked to be a tree when He refused
to leave me alone. Endlessly chased.
I got tired of always being abused.
He says my sexiness makes him sex crazed.

As if it is my fault He feels like that.
Told Him I don't make Him do anything.
He's responsible, His choice how He acts.
As a tree I hide, watch all happenings.

Every women needs a secret place.
A place where she has no fear to face.

10. The Standing Stone

I am just stood standing here. Don't know why? 
Folk gawk at me, as for a miracle. 
Run their fingers through spirals chiselled by 
someone who had a reason to channel

their beliefs into my solid body. 
Probably same folk who quarried and moved 
me here, raised me up here meaningfully. 
Stone doesn't hurt, doesn't bleed. Pressured

into what I am. You make me something special. Set me up for some strange purpose. - Once I must have had some meaning. 
I find meaning in holding up the skies range. 

I may topple over at some near time. 
Till then I'm stood standing, a weathered sign. 

11. A Jabberwock

Welcome, Welcome a frumly Jabberwock. 
Put away your leptimous gronky blade. 
Its harkless flames are spidgeons on umnous clock. 
Mouth your impsy words flunty pullisades. 


Welcome, Welcome a durkast Jabberwock. 
Offer it afterswoon tea and lockly scones, 
raise a swabbly glass to its fibblywock, 
raise another to its true coddlemoan. 


Lets celebrate one another's jull, 
in this grameless land where pomelders play 
amongst sundblast and tough crockly mimples, 
Sleep mafely in the grummidge of today. 


Only when we grell of ourselves in horkly, 
can we live gethertookness in borkly. 

12.  I'm a Hobgoblin

I help you out round the house at nighttime. 
I'm naked but for all these hairs on me. 
"You mucky bugger." Your wife sees my grime. 
"Your hairs all over the bloody bath. Look .See." 

She does not know me, per our old agreement. 
"Have you been washing livestock in this bath? 
These hairs are too coarse to be yours. I've spent 
too long cleaning up, after you. All faff. 

I'm better off on my own. You make work." 
Your wife's rant might mean I don't get fed. Neat. 
I'l sour your milk. Clog your drains. Can't catch jerk. 
I'm an ornament, I'm a bucket. Fleet. 

Can't trust you when you lie to your fine wife. 
She should marry hobgoblin, get a life. 

13. I, Blackthorn

My leaves in autumn yellow, winter fall 
leave me a stark twisted black skeleton. 
I dwell on woodland edge as thicket wall 
hedgerow. Hawthorn, Elder companions. 


My barkskin rough, scaly, bright orange flood 
under my dark grey surface, thickets dark, 
dense, thorny, sapwood light yellow, heartwood 
brown. Thorns long and sharp if pricked, turn septic. Mark

musk-scented small, delicate, white flowers 
oval petalled cluster into a star 
shape early spring. Blossoms, thin, rounder 
tooth edged white, with red-tipped threads. Globular


small blue-black or deep purplish, round lip glossed 
summer berries ripen after first frost. 

14. I, Nucklalevee

My mouth is wide, I breathe on your ripe crops 
make them wilt, breathe plague into your horses. 
My vein and muscle is not wrapped and topped 
by skin, poisoned and scalded by doses


of water from the black sky I retreat 
into saltwater waves back to mother 
who tries to keep me close bound to her sweet 
all the length of the hot days in summer. 

Come winter my hooves canter ashore, two headed, 
my horse head a living wave, tall 
as if a rider my body grown through 
the horses back, my other head, one eye ball, 


wide mouth agape, my arms trail down touch earth, 
I bring drought, disease, your prayers and worse. 






Sonnet Series: “Wombwell Cemetery” by Paul Brookes

About Bats: The Chiroptera Sonnets by Paul Brookes

Arachnida Sonnets by Paul Brookes (an occasional series)

The Insect Sonnets by Paul Brookes

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1

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