Welcome to My Full-Time RV Living LifeStyle Blog!

I suppose I should mention that this is an RV blog. The picture of me standing beside a motorhome in the banner probably tipped you off to that fact already, but you know how it is with blogs, any body can put anything in the header.

Anyways, I was born, raised, and live in Maine, I have 12 cats, and some people would call me homeless. Nope, I have a home, I just don't have what people call a standard house. My house has wheels and her name is Rosebud. My backyard stretches on for thousands and thousands of miles all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Once upon a time I had a "regular home" but a flood came and took it away. Me and my cats spent the next 3 years living under a 8x6 tarp and survived through 3 blizzards and Maine's coldest winter on record when the temps hit -48F. After that me and the cats moved in a Volvo. As hard as it is to live in a tent with 12 cats, it's even harder to live in a Volvo with 12 cats, and a motorhome named No Hurry was the answer. No Hurry: my home, my office, my RV.

I plan to use this blog to share my thoughts, ideas, adventures, and advice on being self-employed, living and working a full-time RV LifeStyle with an army of cats, while boondocking in the wonderful (and sometimes sub-zero) state of Maine.

I hope to write a post a day featuring random thoughts as they pop into my head, and hopefully 2 or 3 posts per week will focus on something helpful to those seeking to live in an RV full time. If you've any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions on what sort of posts you'd like to see me write, please comment and let me know.

I hope you all have as much fun reading this blog as I know I'll have writing it.

~Wendy

Monday, July 30, 2012

Basic Problems One Must Solve Soon After Becoming Homeless


I was homeless for six years (some would argue that I still am, but that's all in how you look at it). On May 9, 2006 a flood came through and took my home and family with it. The only people I knew were at church, and I was in for a surprise when I was told I was no longer allowed in church because I was homeless, and #1 was thus unable to pay tithes, and #2 must have done something terribly wicked to have been punished by God like that, and #3 I therefore must be cast out and shunned and was forbidden to return to church. *sigh* Live and learn. I now had no home, no family, no church, and no friends.  

My struggles were compounded, by the fact that I have Autism (most just say I am retarded, - to each his own) and had never lived on my own prior to the flood, had no social skills, no life skills, no job skills, no schooling, could barely speak in full sentences, and was considered by most to be "little more than a 3 year old in an adult's body". 

Today, 6 years later, I have done what psychologists said could never be done by someone like me: I got a GED, a job, a driver's license, a car, and am now in college working towards 2 degrees; and I did it all while living under a 8x6' tarp. For some reason this is considered a miraculous feat and has resulted in interviews with reporters and me becoming something of a poster child for both Autism and Homelessness. Oh well. In any case, all this means is that I am now bombarded with questions about how I did it.

How did I do it? How did I survive 6 years under a 8x6'tarp, through 5 hurricanes, 3 blizzards, 2 ice storms, and the coldest winter on record since 1817 with temps at -48F? I don't really have answers for people when they ask me these things. I just went on with my life same as I always did, only I slept under a tarp at night. But I am asked once again, could I share some advice on what to do. I am told that the economy is rocky and people are losing homes left and right. I admit I do not understand these things. Economy and money are not things I have ever had, so I have great difficulty understanding conversations about these things. When I ask what this all means, why are people losing their homes because of economy, I was told about how people are having trouble, what with jobs only paying $24,000 a year now. ????? I am now more confused than ever. How does someone with such gigantically enormous amounts of wealth lose a house? They than explained to me that the average income of a family of 4 is $64,000 a year. Well you could have floored me with that one. I could easily live the rest of my life off $64,0000. I will be 40 years old soon, and honey, I've never had that much in my whole entire life, let alone one year! The highest my income has ever been was $2,000 in one year, and that was VERY high, most years it was only $750 a year. My income is $60 to $150 per month, most months (via Zazzle) and for 8 to 13 weeks a year (around Christmas) it goes to $40 to $75 a week at Macy's.  So, you can see why I laugh at you, the idiot who can't make house payments in spite of having way more income than you could ever possible use! The simple answer to your problem is to stop being a priss wasting money on luxuries you have no need of.

But anyways, I guess there is some sort of crisis going on, with mega wealthy rich folks suddenly having no money and in danger of becoming homeless and thus coming to me and wanting to know how I survived so long being homeless, so that they can survive too. They ask, can I at least tell them a few basics that they'll have to deal with in the first few weeks after losing their home. Well, okay. I'll tell you what I know and you can go from there, how's that?

 Homelessness can be very uncomfortable until you solve some basic problems.

Basic Problem #1: Where am I going to sleep tonight?
Basic Problem #2: What am I going to eat tomorrow?
Basic Problem #3: How will I keep clean?
Basic Problem #4: What do I do when I need to use a toilet?

Basic Problem #5: How will I keep warm in cold weather?
Basic Problem #6: How will I keep dry in wet weather?
Basic Problem #7: What if I get sick or hurt?
Basic Problem #8: Where can I store my belongings while I am at school/work/shopping?


Basic Problem #9: How do I protect myself from the people who make a hobby of beating up and killing homeless people?
Basic Problem #10: What will happen to my body if I die?
Basic Problem #11: How long will I be homeless?
Basic Problem #12: How do I get out of being homeless?
Basic Problem #13: How will I keep from being bored?

Notice how I did not mention things like phones, TVs, etc. Why? Well, simple fact is I ain't never had a phone, not once in 40 years, so no amount of prissy fit stamping your feet, demanding I tell you how to deal with cell phone service while homeless, is going to do you a bit a good, seeing as you know about phones, and I couldn't tell you hide nor tail of a phone let alone figure out how the heck to use one, so, sorry, I can't help you out on the whole phone issue, and besides, you asked about basics, not luxuries. Keep in mind that I had Autism, and went most of 40 years without talking, find talking to be nothing more than pointless drivel, and can see no reason why anyone would want to waste their time talking into a machine. You got phone issues? Honey, if you are homeless, and you have a phone, than you got something seriously wrong with your priorities. Toss it. You don't need. A phone is a want, not a need.

MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE OF ALL: Get over yourself! Figure out right now, that things you want are rarely things you need, and things you need are rarely things you want. Learn to live only with the things you need, get used to never again having anything you want, and remember you are asking advice from a person who has never once in her entire life ever had anything she wanted. I have wanted many things in my life, I have never had a one of them. What do I want? A friend would be nice. A family. A husband. A baby. Someone to love. Someone to love me in return. These are real wants and now that you are homeless, they are thing you will never have and you will be told this, every day, told this by people who you formerly thought were family and friends. You won't be homeless long before you learn the difference between REAL wants (like friends) and stupid petty wants (like clothes and phones and foods that actually taste good).

So, let's get back to the basics, shall we?


Basic Problem #1: Where am I going to sleep tonight?

First day homeless, I sat around clueless, like a deer in the headlights. It wasn't until the sun started setting that I realized "Hey, I need to find a place to sleep." That first night, I slept on the dirt. No pillow. No blanket. Several roots in my back. I woke up at 4AM, blinded by the sunrise and soaking wet from the morning dew. I spent day #2 with a shovel and a 5 gal pail, digging and carrying soft sand up the hill to the spot I had slept the night before. Night 2, I slept in a pile of soft sand. Wonderfully comfortable, but very, very cold, like I was packed with ice! Again wet in the morning. Day 3, I found the cushion off and old lawn chair, one of those 6 foot long ones. It was rotted and molded, and had hard plastic buttons that cut my knees, and made me realize I needed a first aid kit. (It would be December before I would have saved up enough money to buy a $10 kit). The cushion on the sand was softer than sleeping on the dirt, not as soft as sleeping on the sand, but warmer than both. That night I would have slept better had it not been for the thunderstorm that sent rivers of rain all around me, washed away my sand, and turned my cushion bed-thing into a sopping sponge.  Day 4 I got a ride to the bank, took out the (there was less than $100 in the account) and than got a ride to Reny's in Saco where I bought an 8x6' tarp, a clothes line, a pillow, and a sleeping bag. I tied the rope between two 150' pine trees, threw the tarp over that, and anchored the corners with cinder-blocks that had once been the "foundation" of our house. That would be my home for the next 6 years.

Do note here, that while I was homeless and had no house to live in because a flood took it, I still had the land on which the house had stood. My advice is only going to work if you are homeless from natural diaster and not from greed and stupidity. If you are loosing your home because you bought something you did not have money for, than you will be without both a house and land. I can not advice you on how to find land to sleep on, as I had my own land, which was a farm, and still had barns, gardens, sheds, and a yard full of farm implements at my disposal. I was homeless, not yardless.

Basic Problem #2: What am I going to eat tomorrow?

I was homeless 4 or 5 days before I got hungry enough to start worrying about food. Blueberries were not even green yet, strawberrys were weeks off, fiddle-heads already gone by...there was plenty of wild food in the woods, but none of it was in season. I found a trash can filled with old rusted cans, about 30 of them, most had expired more than 2 years prior, all were rusted, some were swollen ready to explode, many did not have labels, most were soup, some were vegetables. There was also a box a Bisquik full of tiny black bugs. I had a metal trash can than had survived the flood, so stored the box and cans in that. I also had a saucepan that I found which had survived in the rumble, and also a wok. (I was one hell of a gourmette cook before the flood, back when I had a kitchen to cook in, and eventually dug out many of my old cookware out of the rumble and sludge of the flood). I filled the wok with sticks and and shreded newspapers (also brought back from trash picking) into long strips and with a box of matches bought from the dollar store, I set up a mini portable woodstove, over which I cooked dumplings made out of Bisquik and rusted soup. By cooking and eating only one meal a week I made that box and those cans last 3 months, adding to them other food scraps found in the trash. I also lost 30 pounds in those 3 months.

By late August I had wild fruit, fruit from our trees and bushes, and vegetables from our garden starting to ripen, making access to raw fresh food easier, but still limited as the crops had been badly damaged by the same floods which had taken the house in May.

By October I had my holiday temp job at Macy's, and with it a paid lunch at the McDonald's across the street from it. This resulted in my having an additional 3 meals a week, from October to February, each year for the past 6 years.

Basic Problem #3: How will I keep clean?

I had no running water, or did I? The brook ran, did it not? And it ran into the ocean which ran up and down the coast. I bathed fully clothes, to wash both myself and my clothes at the same time. I did not have soap or shampoo, just dirty muddy brook water which left my clothes smelling like a peaty swamp or sticky salty ocean water which left my clothes gritty and my underwear full of sand, which was a problem seeing as I had only one pair and thus could not change them. I would not have a change of clothes until October when I got my job at Macy's and they provided me with a gift card to buy a change of "all black dress suit" change of clothes to wear to work.

Macy's provided me with a $75 a week income, and the ability to buy stuff like deodorant, feminine pads, toilet paper, body lotion, hand cream, and toothpaste. You have no idea how important these things are until you live 5 months without them.

And don't ask me about frivolities like hair gel or makeup. I don't even own a brush, my hair has not been brushed or combed in near on 7 years now and my skin is free of chemicals, which explains why folks keep mistaking me for a 16 year old kid in spite of being 40 - I got news for you honey - make-up CAUSES wrinkles.

Basic Problem #4: What do I do when I need to use a toilet?

One word: trees. Bushes and trees are your friend. In populated areas, get into the habit of exploring every single business and know where every single restroom is, and keep track of which ones are open to the public, and which ones require you buy something at the business before you can use it. Commit this information to memory.


Basic Problem #5: How will I keep warm in cold weather?

I bought 2 sub-zero sleeping bags and put one inside the other. 

Basic Problem #6: How will I keep dry in wet weather?

You don't. Get used to being wet every morning, and even wetter every time it rains.

Basic Problem #7: What if I get sick or hurt?

One word: Don't! You get sick or hurt, you are done for and no doctor or hospital will treat you, because all they care about is how much money you have and how soon you'll give it to them. How do I know? Because when thgs beat me up and broke my hip I was not allowed into the hospital at all.

Basic Problem #8: Where can I store my belongings while I am at school/work/shopping?

I had my own land, on which there was a shed with a locking door. If you having got that, get a car. I did not have a car. I would not have a car until December 16, 2006, and than I would not have a driver's license until September 2011. Those 2 things changed everything. With them I suddenly had mobility and oppertunity.



Basic Problem #9: How do I protect myself from the people who make a hobby of beating up and killing homeless people?

I am a farmer, trained to protect my flock from bear and coyote with a staff, harpoon, and machete.


Basic Problem #10: What will happen to my body if I die?


A few miles from here a skeleton was found behind a dumpster. Police say it was an elderly homeless man who had died a few weeks earlier of natural causes, and his body had been stripped of it's flesh by slugs, bugs, maggots, and seagulls.


Basic Problem #11: How long will I be homeless?

It's going on 7 years for me now...

Basic Problem #12: How do I get out of being homeless?

I spent 6 years saving every penny until I had $2,000 and than I bought a motorhome:











Basic Problem #13: How will I keep from being bored?


I found 61 Star Trek books for .25c each at a local flee market. And I do this to my car in my spare time:





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Good morning Starshine! Liked this post? Looking to connect with me online? I love social networks and am on most of them. You can find me on: BloggerEtsyFaceBookGoogle+KeenMySpaceNaNoWriMoProBoardsScript FrenzySpoonflowerSquidooTwitterULC Ministers NetworkWordpress, and Zazzle Feel free to give me a shout any  time. Many blessings to you, may all your silver clouds be lined with rhinestones and sparkle of golden sunshine. Have yourself a great and wonderful glorious day!

~Rev. Wendy C. Allen aka Empress EelKat of Laughing Gnome Hollow



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This post was written by Wendy C Allen aka EelKat, is copyrighted by The Twighlight Manor Press and was posted on Houseless Living @ http://houselessliving.blogspot.com and reposted at EK's Star Log @ http://eelkat.wordpress.com and parts of it may also be seen on http://www.squidoo.com/EelKat and http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com  If you are reading this from a different location than those listed above, please contact me Wendy C. Allen aka EelKat @ http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=viewprofile and let me know where it is you found this post. Plagiarism is illegal and I DO actively pursue offenders. Unless copying a Blog Meme, you do not have permission to copy anything appearing on this blog, including words, art, or photos. This will be your only warning. Thank you and have a glorious day! ~ EelKat



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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What The Ocean Gives Me by Rev. Wendy Christine Allen aka EelKat (Advice for Horror Writers)



Literature and the Environment                               

What The Ocean Gives Me
by  Rev. Wendy Christine Allen aka EelKat

In Class Writing Assignment for July 23, 2012:
Write a Journal entry to answer the question:
What does living near the ocean give you?
Why is living near the ocean so great?   
                                             
What does living near the ocean give me? Why is living near the ocean so great? I love the ocean. I was born and raised on the ocean, by people who likewise were born and raised on it, for many, many generations. I ocean is in my blood. What does it give me? Shells to collect, peace of mind at the end of the day, serenity, beauty, a sense of place. The ocean waves crashing ‘round my body are like hugs from an old friend. Why is it so great? The sights, the feels, the sounds, the smells. The glistening blue, the cloudy green, the deadly grey, sand in my toes, sand in my hair, the cleansing salty grit contrasting with the frigid cold wetness, the cry of the gulls, the screams of the loons, the shrill call of the killdeer, the salty, misty, musty fog, drenched is hints of seaweed and crab. I love my ocean in all it’s glory.

The ocean inspires some of my best writing. Inspiration, that is what the ocean gives me. It can inspire me to write soft beautiful romance, with its hot summer days and lovers in the sand; or it can inspire me to write simple stories of the simple joys of children building sandcastles while puppies chase frisbees in the gentle surf. I could write those things, most people do, it’s not very hard, I have done it before, but more often than not, I don’t. Dark brooding stories of blood and death. Drowning victims, bodies washing up along the shore, mermen strangling young women with seaweed, monsters from the deep surfacing to swallow you whole, tourists trapped at hide tide, dashed to death on the rocks, falling from the slippery cliffs to lay shattered on in a shell lined grave bones picked clean by gulls and crabs. That’s what I write.

I could write about seaside carnivals, I often do. But what side of the carnival to I choose? Happy. Joyful. Couples laughing on the ferris wheel overlooking the Pier? Children their faces sticky with cotton candy, waiting in line to ride the Shooting Stars? Or their demise, as darkness falls, and moon rises over the cool black waters, revealing the ride operators for what they truly are: brain sucking zombies, the carnival a trap to lure in tourists for food, like sheep to the slaughter. Why do I write, the dark things I write? Why does the ocean inspire such terror?

Since 1978 I have written 200+ short stories, 2,000+ articles, a couple of comic book scripts, a few dozen short play scripts, 5,000+ blog posts, several dozen sermons, countless political rants on the injustice of *insert current political topic I’m ranting about here*, and a few books on folklore, alien abduction, cryptozoology, fulltime RVing, and life on the streets. The ocean takes center stage in all of it. I write every day. That’s 31 years of writing every day, or 11,315 days of writing on average 7,000 words a day, except during The National Novel Writing Month contest when I write on average 15,000 words a day for 30 days. I’ve already written more than 7,000 pieces on a range of topics, and the ocean takes the lead in nearly every one, not simply as scenery, but as an ever imposing character, overbearing and bearing down on everyone it crosses. Darkness, sci-fi, gore and horror. Most folks look at the ocean and see warm summer days, children, laughter, lovers, family vacations, and fun in the sun. I look at the ocean and write pages dripping with blood.

Why do I write what I write? My readers ask me this all the time.  Perhaps the question itself is the answer to which I seek. Maybe we can answer this question and get this assignment written at the same time, by looking at two questions my readers have sent me:

QUESTION #1: “You are such a prolific writer, you seem to be able to write about anything. I wish I could write like that, but I never know what to write about. Where do you get your ideas?”

“Where do you get your ideas?” It’s one of the most asked questions I hear. The answer is simple, I get my ideas from the ocean, and not just any ocean, mind you, but the Atlantic Ocean, specifically, the cold North Atlantic along the coast of Maine, usually, specifically Old Orchard Beach, though in the Twighlight Manor stories, Old Orchard Beach has had Otter Cove, The Thunder Hole, Quechee Gorge, and The Flume all dropped into it. You will not find gorges, waterfalls, caves, or neck breaking cliffs in the real Old Orchard Beach. I take great artistic liberty with grabbing natural places from all over the world and dropping them down in Old Orchard at random.

QUESTION #2: “Is Old Orchard Beach a real place? Why are all your stories set in this town?”

Yes, it is a very real place. The Town of Old Orchard, Maine (originally known as The Garden By the Sea, Quebec, until 1821 when Maineland, Quebec was stolen by America, ripped off of Canada, remained Maine and declared a very reluctant American-hating territory of The United States), is the actual name. Old Orchard Beach, is not the name of the town, but rather is a 7 mile long beach which stretches from Biddeford, through Saco, running the whole length of Old Orchard, and ending in Pine Point/Scarborough. I was born and raised in Old Orchard, Maine, as were both my parents. My father’s grandfather was the first fire chief, and his many times great-uncle, Thomas Rogers, settled the town in 1548, and I still live on that original piece of land. One branch of my family literally built this town. No, I don’t set my stories anywhere else. I’ve never been anywhere else. I write what I know, and this town is the town I know. I know this beach, it’s every curve and wave. I know what it’s like to stand on the shore with a 70MPH hurricane whipping all around me, my skin covered in tiny glass cuts caused by the blast of sand. I know what it is to stand on the shore during a February snow squall, with temperatures -48F. Locals call me “The Sea Witch of Old Orchard Beach”. My mental, spiritual, and emotional connection with this beach is unfathomable. Here is where I meditate, pray, commune with the spirits. I know the tides, the snails, the sandpipers, the gulls, the tourists.  The French Canadians in Speedos, the elderly Floridians in straw hats, the fast talking New Yorkers. The deafening sound of the fireworks, every Thursday night mingled with the crashing waves. The pitch black of night and the thick choking fog rolling in and blotting out every sight, soaking your clothes wetter than a pouring rain, and filling your nostrils with the pungent smell of uprooted seaweed and dead crab. Once in awhile we get the excitement of watching the Coast Guard dredging for dead bodies washed down from the Saco River.

Dead bodies wash up on the beach more often than town officials would like to admit, 5 a year, not uncommon, never less than 3, as many as 10 some years. Not just bodies washing down from the river. People drown in the gully. Parents turn their back on toddlers, letting them swim alone in the gully. Locals don’t go near the gully. They know better. Tourists don’t care. The tourists don’t think about it, I wonder if they even know the danger they are in, should be in the gully, when tide come roaring back in? Do the read the warning signs? Clearly posted, in bright red letters. Swim at your own risk. Dangerous rip tide. No swimming after dark. No one thinks about it. Not even when the bodies wash ashore. Neighboring towns don’t care. The papers never say where the body was found, only where it fell in, in some little town no one ever heard of deep in the forests of Northern Maine.

No one knows the dark side of Old Orchard Beach. They see the signs, but no one cares. Danger. Warning. Beware. Riptides. Stay behind the fence. No swimming after dark. Tourists ramble past, not giving the signs a second glance. Why should they bother read a sign? They are here for fun in the sun on their great big family vacation. We don’t want to think about the dangers. Who cares that we’ll be flying one of our own back home in a coffin. It’s the beach, I’m here to swim. They come. They swim. They die. It’s the same thing every year. Tourists are stupid. They have no respect for the ocean and the dangers it brings.

The only people who really know the dark side of our beach, are those of us, fewer than 2,000 year round residents, who live here on it and actually see the Coast Guard pulling up the bodies. The red and white helicopters, big red ships, little red dignies, yellow police tape closing off the beach....”Nothing to see here, folks, nothing to see,” say the soldiers as they push back the crowds. For many years I have sat in my bedroom window watching bodies being pulled out of the gully, wrapped in red body bags, and loaded into Coast Guard helicopters. There’s a reason why no one who lives here on the beach, actually swims in the ocean. We know the danger. We’re right off the Saco River delta so, any body that falls in the river from here to Canada, is eventually going to wash up on our beach. The Great Saco River and its infamous Saco River Curse. World’s most haunted river. Claimes more bodies than any other. And here is where it dumps them. The Saco River coughs up bodies on our beach, like a cow coughing up its cud.

The Saco River Curse is a local legend based on a strange and unexplained series of deaths that have occurred here at the Saco River Delta where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean. The history of the Saco River Curse goes like this:

The York family moved to Saco (Maine) and built a house on the tiny island overlooking a huge waterfall where the Saco River dumps into the Atlantic Ocean. They named the place York Manor of York Hill. On the other side of the river was Saco Island (today known as Factory Island at the Memorial Bridge Crossing). On Saco Island lived a tribe of Native American Indians who worshiped or rather feared a local river demon, Memegwesi, a type of Faerie or water dwelling trickster. On the mainland just a few hundred yards away, was the port where sailors docked (and still dock to this day - and is where I park my Volvo when you hear me talk of parking on York Hill when I visit my dad at his Biddeford apartment).

One night, in 1547, three drunken sailors rowed across the river to Saco Island, kidnapped a baby from the Indian tribe, than rowed across to York Hill, where they threw the baby into the waterfall, claiming that Indians were born able to swim, thus it would survive the fall. The baby's mother followed desperately after them, and jumped into the falls trying to save her baby. Both the mother and the baby were crushed to death on the rocks below. The husband/father was also the tribe's medicine man/witch-doctor/shaman/holy man. Infuriated at the white men for killing his wife and child, he went to the waterfall and called upon the river demon asking it to punish the white men, by killing three white men in the waterfall of York Hill, every year for eternity, so that no one would ever forget what these men had done to his beloved wife and child. To date, no year has passed since with less than 3 deaths in the waterfall at the Saco River Delta on York Hill.

Marquis de La Fayette, resided here during the American Revolution. A vast fort was built on the islands surrounding York Hill. The English Lobsterbacks were rumored to have meet a watery grave at the hands of the river’s demon. Local Fisherman claimed we had won the war against England because the Memegwesi it had been English soldiers who’d killed the baby so long ago.

By the late 1700’s church groups began congregating on York Hill, some claiming to have encounters with not a demon, but rather an angel, others claiming communication with the spirits of long dead Indian chiefs, some claiming Faerie communications, at least one claimed to talk to men from the sun, another said a man from Venus, and some began to call the Memegwesi “The White Salamander” (Salamander being a type of Welsh shapeshifting Faerie), while still others gathered to bless the river and exorcise its demon. Hundreds of attempts were made to remove the curse, and many new (mostly short lived) religions sprung up. The most famous of which was Jacob Cochran, and his devoted follower Joseph Smith Sr, who founder of the Cochranites aka "The Society of Free Brethren and Sisters”, which was later renamed “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” aka The Mormon Church, by 14 year old Joseph Smith Jr. after the group moved to New York and took the story of the Saco River’s “Indian Ghost” (whom young Smith now called Moroni instead of Memegwesi) with them. Other groups which sprung up included The Salvation Army and The Shakers.

By the 1800’s our little haunted river, with its white sands beach, had begun receiving tourists. During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln came to Saco Island, hoping to get a glimpse of the river’s “Old Indian Ghost”. This spot has been a hotbed for ghost hunters ever since.

In the early 1800's the fort was turned into a huge mill factory on Saco Island, and the death toll skyrocketed, as a transvestite serial killer took advantage of the curse and took to rapeing mill girls and then tossing them in the waterfall. The most famous of these murders was the infamous Bean Murder of Factory Island, which resulted in the capture of the abortion doctor who had made a habit of pretending to be a mill girl in order to kill all the women who'd had an abortion. He pleaded that he had been possessed by the river demon and got off with hardly any punishment.

In the late 1800's York Manor was torn down by terror crazed locals who were convinced that the house was haunted by the ghost of the father/husband/medicanman. They believed that tearing down the house would end the curse. The remains of the house were saved, however and the house was rebuilt elsewhere in Saco, where it stands today, in its new giant Victorian apartment building form, ironically, next door to the LDS church on Smith Street, behind the Amato's, beside the RiteAid, across the street from Thornton Academy. That big yellow Victorian mansion, is what was once, many years ago, known as the York Manor the cursed haunted house of York Hill.

In the early-1900's with the death toll now toppling the thousands, locals decided that it was not the house, but the river itself, which was cursed, and that the only way to end the curse was to destroy the waterfall. Which they did. They tore down the rocks and poured a cement dam in an attempt to stop the flow of the river. All they succeeding in doing was flooding what is now downtown Saco and downtown Biddeford, resulting in the twin sister streets on each town, being renamed “Water St”. By the 1960s where the waterfall once stood, was built a functioning dam and the CMP hydroelectric power station now sits where once sat York Manor at the peak of York Hill across from the Saco Train Station.

Today the tiny Saco River Dam at York Hill, hardly 20 feet wide, is considered the most haunted dam in the world, with a higher death toll than any other dam/waterfall in the world. At a recorded rate of no less than 3 men drowned every year for over 500 years, the death toll is now over 2,000 men killed on York Hill. No year has passed with less than 3 white men killed by falling into the dam, and most years 5 death occur, while some years there have been as many as 10 deaths. I have personally seen years with as many as 12 deaths. For centuries fishermen feared go out in Saco Bay in early Spring, instead waiting for 3 men to drown that year, before letting any boat touch the water. Even today no fisherman will drop his boat in Saco Bay, until after 3 deaths have passed. Every year, they wait. They never wait long. This year, they only had to wait til March, before the Saco River took its toll: a man beheaded by the train on the rail bridge over York Hill Dam, a boy fell off the dam into the below below just a few feet away, and a whole family missed the turn and perished as their car sailed over the bridge into a watery grave below. My dad lives at the apartment on Water St overlooking the river. We see the Coast Guard dredging for bodies and police rerouting traffic away from Memorial Bridge, several times each year. In spite of the church groups and prayer warriors pouring holy oil and rose wreaths off the bridge every June 26th, we have reached 2012, with the curse is still going strong, and the lines of little white crosses along the banks of the river stretching ever onward.

And that is the Saco River Curse.

The Saco River. The river which feeds the Saco Bay Delta. The beautiful beach in the Saco Bay Delta, known to the tourists as The Great Old Orchard Beach, home of the Guinness World Record Plaque which reads “The World’s Finest Sand”. Tourist stop and oogle at the plague, exclaiming, “Oh, look at that! It was voted the best beach!” No. It was not. Scientists trying to explain a rational reason behind the phenomenon that is known as the Saco River Curse, came in and tested the sand, and marveled when they discovered the smallest aka “the finest” grains of sand known to man. Farther up river they found some of the sharpest edged rocked in the world, at the base of York Hill, and during a winter storm, Saco Bay churns up some of the deadliest and coldest waves in the world. It it any wonder that an iceberg took out The Pier in 1917 and another iceberg crashed on shore in 1941 or that a town with 2million summer residents has only 1,800 winter residents and is a virtual ghost town with stores shut down and buildings boarded up? World’s finest beach at the mouth of the world’s most haunted river? Yes, and for a damned good reason. Our beautiful beach. Our beautiful river. It’s dark haunted past, has not demons and curses, but raging white water rapids, a roaring riptide, and wild winter storms to blame.

One can not live on the edge of the ocean at the mouth of this monstrous river, without being affected by the river which feeds the bay. Each year tourists come in millions. The packs and herds, they flock to our shores in droves. Our beautiful, deadly, dark, bloody beach. They come and go oblivious, so few ever know. And then they read my books, and ask in utter horror, Why? Why do you write this great wonderful place, in such a dark, horrid light? How could this place of utter beauty inspire you to write such utter horror? How? Why? Because I know this beach. I know this river. I know the dangers that lay in wait. I know the deeper story, the one you do not see. You see the surface beauty of the crystal blue waters, but I see the deep dark truth, that lay in the rocks below. You come and go. I live here every day. You see only its natural beauty. I see it’s every drop.

People think it’s creepy, my morbid fascination with this little known dark side of this beach. Every town has its secrets. Little skeletons in the closet. The Town of Old Orchard depends on The Old Orchard Beach, and its 2million yearly tourists to survive. It’s a ghost town in the dead of winter, businesses boarded up, homes shuttered, fewer than 2,000 residents by the time snow falls. This town needs tourists to survive. You think the tourists would come swim on a beach that spits up a few dozen dead bodies each and every year? Town officials go, hush, hush, not too loud, we don’t want to scare away the income. So the tourist come with their money, and a few must die to keep our town alive. Only the locals know our beach’s dark little secret.

I love this beach. Everything about it, the good, the bad, the ugly, the utterly unmentionably horrible. It is raw, unforgiving, unpredictable, wild, untamed, mesmerizing, beautiful. I write horror. Vampires. Zombies. Ghosts. Farrdarigs. Phookas. RedCaps. Bloody, bloody Faeries and Mermen from the deep. Haunted mansions clinging to rocky cliffs threatening to throw themselves into the depths of the foaming waves. Bloodthirsty mermen, pulling their victims to cold watery graves. You only see this beach in the bright days of summer. Come back in the winter and see it frozen over. Come back in the fall and brave the blasts of wind, feel the sand as it slices through your tender skin. Come in the spring when you can see nothing for the fog. This cold, icy, foggy beach has atmosphere. The atmosphere here is the perfect setting for horror, especially the horror I write. You can look out over the fog and almost see the ghost ships, the vampires, the fish men from distant galaxies...it is the perfect setting for the dark, gloomy, brooding, bloody Poe-esk stories I like to tell. The beach is the story itself and I am the one it has chosen to tell its tale.

I didn’t choose this beach as a setting. It chose me. The stories come to me as I stand on the slick, jagged granite, listening to the gulls screaming bloody murder through the fog. The little hermit crabs scurry across my feet in search of dead rotted flesh, begging me to write of the murder victims the hide in the tidal pools. Looking down from the rocks, into the drop offs on the other side, the gleaming silver eyes of seals and fish peer up at you though the dancing kelp, but are they fish and seals, or mermen and selkies, lurking, waiting, starving, thirsting, for the unsuspecting human to venture too close to the edge.  The tourist who washes up mangled on the shore, did they really slip and fall, or did a cold icy hand reach up from the deep, and yank them down under by the ankle? Beware foolish travelers. Beware of the deep. For little men lie in wait, your flesh they come to eat.

Where do I get my ideas? Everywhere. I just open my eyes, my ears, my heart...I look around me, I listen, I feel, I smell, I see, I touch, I taste, I empathize, and I write it all down. Every bit of it. I am what I write. I write what I am. Everywhere I go, the beach, the store, the library, here in college, there is something to see, something to hear, something to write. My life is where I get my ideas. That is how I choose my topics. I can write about anything, because the world is full of everything. But the ocean, my ocean, the riptides of Old Orchard Beach, nothing can set a fire under my pen, better then does my beloved white sands beach. And so, when you ask the question, what does living near the ocean give me? This is what living near the ocean gives me. A blessing. A glory. A curse. A horror. The gift to write of terrors, dark and deep. The ocean gives me my career, my life, my inspiration for all I do, for I am a writer, and tales of this ocean is what I write. I would have it no other way.



















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Good morning Starshine! Liked this post? Looking to connect with me online? I love social networks and am on most of them. You can find me on: BloggerEtsyFaceBookGoogle+KeenMySpaceNaNoWriMoProBoardsScript FrenzySpoonflowerSquidooTwitterULC Ministers NetworkWordpress, and Zazzle Feel free to give me a shout any  time. Many blessings to you, may all your silver clouds be lined with rhinestones and sparkle of golden sunshine. Have yourself a great and wonderful glorious day!

~Rev. Wendy C. Allen aka Empress EelKat of Laughing Gnome Hollow



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This post was written by Wendy C Allen aka EelKat, is copyrighted by The Twighlight Manor Press and was posted on Houseless Living @ http://houselessliving.blogspot.com and reposted at EK's Star Log @ http://eelkat.wordpress.com and parts of it may also be seen on http://www.squidoo.com/EelKat and http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com  If you are reading this from a different location than those listed above, please contact me Wendy C. Allen aka EelKat @ http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=viewprofile and let me know where it is you found this post. Plagiarism is illegal and I DO actively pursue offenders. Unless copying a Blog Meme, you do not have permission to copy anything appearing on this blog, including words, art, or photos. This will be your only warning. Thank you and have a glorious day! ~ EelKat



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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Poems I Love; EelKat's Favorite Poems


As with last semester, at the end of the Summer Semester 2012 @ SMCC, I am now putting my college essays online. As is well known to my followers, I am someone who has little respect for poets, and has a great dislike for poetry in general. I do not like poems, do not read poems, do not write poems, and have an overall advertion for poems, do largely in fact to the fact that my rampant, insistent, annoying, obnoxious, overbearing, and ever increasingly violent stalker, is himself a poet. Along with everything else he has done in the past 27 years of endless stalking, one of his non-violent habits is that he sends me poems he wrote, handwritting ones, published books of them, him reading them on tape and CD, him singing them on tape and CD...endless hundreds of poems from this sick bastard who refuses to get a life, and leave me alone. The timing of this essay on poetry, came on the heels of this Floridian bastard being here in Maine, and showing up at my Dad's house, a day I was there, with 2 books of chocolates, and 3 more tapes of his poems set to music, than leaving in a raging infernal at my continued refusal to be his incestuous wife. I'm sorry, but I have no wife to marry my mother's brother who is 50 years older than me. My hating poets and poetry is more my hating one poet who has spent the last 30 years making my life a living hell. This essay being on poems, was therefor difficult for me. This is one of several book/article reviews written for the Literature/Poetry class:








Wendy C Allen
ENGL 115 Intro to Literature
Shawna Rand
July 17, 2012

Poems I Love

A personal essay looking for common threads among my favorite poems and answering the questions:
Do I tend to prefer certain styles over others? Is there a consistent pattern in my preferences?

When I first read the syllabus, the poetry section of the class was the part I dreaded. “I’m not a big fan of poetry,” I said to myself. “I hardly like poems at all.” I never read poetry, wouldn’t think of writing it, and thought I’d have absolutely nothing to say about it. When I read this assignment I knew at once the poem I would pick: Edgar Allan Poe’s Annabel Lee. It is my favorite poem, and  the only poem I knew. But then I remembered William Allingham’s The Faeries, a poem that has danced through my head since childhood, and also thought of Robert Browning's Pied Piper. Oh, how I love the Pied Piper! Then there is Dr Seuss, a poet for children, and the Brothers Grimm, who sprinkled short poems in their stories. A few more by Poe and an old sea shanty about cannibals added themselves to the mix. Didn’t Robert Lewis Stevenson write a poem about Shadows, and what about Oscar Wildes poems for children? A highwayman went riding through my head, along with a lady drifting dead in a boat, others are joyfully dieing first class on the Titanic, and there is that Road not taken. Suddenly it was a snowball effect as first one poem and then another popped into my head screaming “Pick me!” Wait, wasn’t I just telling myself this part of the class would be hard because I didn’t read poems, didn’t like poems, and didn’t know any poems? In a matter of seconds I went from worrying I would not be able to think of a poem to write about, to wondering how the heck I would ever narrow the list down to just a few.

Sifting it down to only a few was a chore indeed. My favorite poems are not contained within the textbook and so they are included at the end of this paper. They are as follows:

Edgar Allan Poe:
Annabell Lee
A Dream Within a Dream
Eldorado
Dreamland
Robert Browning:
The Pied Piper of Hamelin
William Allingham:
The Fairies
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm:
The Bird’s Song from The Juniper Tree
          David R. Slavitt:
Titanic
           Sir William Schwenck Gilbert:
The Yarn of the 'Nancy Bell

Now I must determine, why do I like them? Why these and not others? What do they have in common? Do I tend to prefer certain styles over others? Do they fall into a single theme, topic, or genre? Is there a consistent pattern in my preferences?

Let’s start with Poe. Edgar Allan Poe is my favorite poet, as well as being my favorite author. For many years, my favorite poem was Dream Within a Dream. It is a poem, that for me, brought up images of skeletons walking on the seashore, their flesh stripped away by the sifting sand. To me this poem suggested death and an inability to look forward in life, being trapped thinking only of the beloved dead companion. Poe had married young, but far younger than he, was his 12 year old bride. He wrote a few stories and a couple of poems here and there, but focused mostly on editorials, reviews, and essays for the newspaper where he was editor. And then, suddenly, unexpectedly, only 4 years after marriage, his beloved bride fell ill and died. Poe was devastated. He turned to drugs and drink, his life fell apart, he drifted away from non-fiction and suddenly was writing a flurry grim, dark short stories and poems, all on a single them: the death of a young bride and an older man slowly driven out of his mind, tormented by a fear that he had buried his beloved while still alive. In Dream Within a Dream we see Poe’s distraught lover asking himself was she ever real, or was my time spent with her just a dream I dreamed while in another dream? This poem is hauntingly beautiful, and yet so very sad, but the story not nearly as powerful, as the favorite poem which was to replace it. Annabel Lee, another poem by Poe is now my favorite poem, and has been, ever since I saw the movie “Play Misty For Me” some many odd years ago. I had a book with the complete stories by Poe, but it lacked both his essays and poems, so for many years I only knew a few of his poems, and Annabel Lee  was not one of them.

The movie, “Play Misty for Me”, was not anything spectacular, a crazy woman stalking her favorite DJ, played by Clint Eastwood. The movie was on the side of dull and boring. It had one redeeming feature, that had me watch it several times over the years: the recital of the beautiful poem I had ever heard, over, and over, and over again. The line, “It was many and many a year ago, In a kingdom by the sea, That a maiden there lived whom you may know, By the name of Annabel Lee; And this maiden she lived with no other thought, Than to love and be loved by me,” is repeated throughout this movie near on a dozen times. The story of the movie, was based on this line, a woman madly in love with a man, so madly in love with him, that she could think of nothing but to be loved, and loved by him. I rewatched the movie, just to rehear the poem. The poem was about a young couple who lived by the sea, the girl loved him and she loved the sea, and one day by the shores of the sea, the angels came and took her away, and so now he sits, day after day, on the shores where she was last seen, repeating the words “she lived with no other thought, Than to love and be loved by me.” The poem goes on with him cursing the Angels for chilling and killing his beloved. The suggestion here is that one day while standing on the cliffs of her beloved ocean, she fell in and drowned, and the spot where he stands is the place where her icy cold body washed ashore.
Even though it takes place in the few short lines of a poem, Annabel Lee is the most mesmerizingly romantic story I have ever read. I love the story of this poem, a man so devoted that he can not leave the place she died. It is the ultimate romance, to be loved so singly and fully, by a man, that even after death, nothing can tear his mind from loving you. I want to be loved like that. Most men are fickle, rare is the man who can be faithful and true, even after death. This became my favorite poem in an instant, and remains as such today, but for many years, I had no idea who the author of this poem was. I knew it only from a movie, and the movie never says who wrote it. I had assumed it written for the movie, and it was not until I came across a book of Poe’s poems did I realize that once again, I had fallen in love with yet another piece written by him.  As irony would have it, the man who wrote the poems and short stories I already knew and loved, was also the writer of the poem I loved most of all.

In my two other favorite poems by Poe, Eldorado and Dream-Land, the theme of death marches forward, with a knight leaving home in search of  a fabled city of gold, but leaving his beloved behind, whom died before his return, and now he rides on forever into eternity trying to grasp hold of the treasure he gave up for the worthless treasure of gold; while in Dream-Land a stranger walks through the Valley of Death, surrounded by faceless ghouls, searching for his lost love, but finding only demons and white grave lilies mocking him in his search. Poe is the master of misty twilights and erry tombs. He can create in a single page, more fog dripping haunting atmosphere then all the world’s horror movies combined. I love his settings. I love his atmospheres. I love his use of cold, dark, and stormy nights. Poe makes you feel that you are right there in the action, living it with his characters. I could talk about Poe for hours, but we have other poets to compare.

And so we leave Poe and move on for happier things, or so the first impression appears, when we begin to read William Allingham’s The Fairies  and Robert Browning’s long epic poem The Pied Piper of Hamelin. Bright sunny openings, smiling happy children, sweet summer days. These grim tales of terror start out so happy and colorful. Sweet little fairies flitting by beautiful, harmless, delicate, deadly. They come in the night singing and dancing, Up the airy mountain, Down the rushy glen,” waving magic wands, sprinkling Fairy dust, “Wee folk, good folk, Trooping all together;” and stealing children out of their cribs. The little girl in this story is whisked away, trapped in a time warp for seven years, and when she escapes a hundred years have past and all she knew are dead, she pines away and dies of loneliness, and the gleeful Fairies rush in and dance away carrying her dead body to the places where people fear to tread for We daren't go a-hunting, For fear of little men;”.

Likewise the Pied Piper dances merrily in with blessing and gaiety, he blesses the town and removes their Gypsy curse, but they cheat him out of his pay, and he throws a far worse curse then they could ever imagine down upon their heads, as he whisks their children away and traps them in the mountains of Transylvania, from whence they emerged centuries later as vampires. All the town can do is watch in horror, “As the piper turned from the High Street, To where the Weser rolled its waters, Right in the way of their sons and daughters!”

In a third German tale, the Brothers Grimm continue the theme of dead children in The Juniper Tree with a wicked step-mother who kills the boy and cooks him in a stew, during a famine that has swept over Germany. His sister buries his bones under the juniper tree, and a red fire bird bursts from the tree singing the warning song of doom as he throws a millstone down upon the wicked stepmothers head. (This story is rather long, about 10 pages, only the poem of the bird said as he flew overhead is included here.)

In Gilbert’s The Yarn of the 'Nancy Bell cannibalism runs amok as a ship crashes on a deserted island, leaving the crew to pick each other off in order to survive, and by the time help arrives to rescue the crew, only one man survives, with him to retell the tale of how he one by one ate Captain, cook, and crew. We finish the set with yet another shipwreck in David R. Slavitt’s Titanic, and the thought that, if we are going to die anyways, why not go out in a best bang of glory of all and go out with a first class ticket that’ll guarantee us eternal fame in books and movies forever?

What is the theme running through these poems? I see several, death reigning out on top. They are all gothic and grim, and most deal with mourning the loss of someone the writer loved. A whole section of them deal with the massive deaths of thousands of children which really did occur in the 1300’s in Germany. To this day, no one knows what caused this massive widespread death of nearly every child in the country. Some historians speculate illness, while others point out that a famine was sweeping across Europe at the time and parents eating children was not an uncommon practice in that time period. Whatever the case, poets and story writers, have spent centuries writing stories of the year all the children vanished out of Germany, with the Pied Piper being of course the most famous of them all. I think the theme is not so much death, but the mystery behind death, the bewonderment of the hows and whys of death., along with the somewhat grim fascination with death of children and the young. What would life had been for them? Why were they taken so early? Is there life after death? Will we ever see them again? Will we ever know what happened? Seeking the answer to deep, unanswerable questions, seems to be the common thread drawing me to this array of dark and dreary poems.

And finally, two more things stand out: the story and the rhythm. Each of these poems is on the long side, for each has a story to tell. They are short stories told in rhythm. Likewise each of these poems reads almost like a song, is a swift moving lyrical flow, which seems to sooth and comfort as it goes, in spite of the dark story it tells. The flow in each of these poems is almost like that of a lullaby. So there you have it, my favorite poems and my thoughts on why I like them and their common themes.




Annabel Lee
by Edgar Allan Poe
1849
(Poe’s last poem)

It was many and many a year ago,
  In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
  By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
  Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
  In this kingdom by the sea:
But we loved with a love that was more than love--
  I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
  Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
  In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
  My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
  And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
  In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
  Went envying her and me--
Yes!--that was the reason (as all men know,
  In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
  Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
  Of those who were older than we--
  Of many far wiser than we--
And neither the angels in heaven above,
  Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
  Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
  Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
  Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling--my darling--my life and my bride,
  In her sepulchre there by the sea,
  In her tomb by the sounding sea.









Eldorado
by Edgar Allan Poe
1849

Gaily bedight,
  A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
  Had journeyed long,
  Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.

  But he grew old,
  This knight so bold,
And o'er his heart a shadow
  Fell as he found
  No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

  And, as his strength
  Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow;
  "Shadow," said he,
  "Where can it be,
This land of Eldorado?"

  "Over the mountains
  Of the moon,
Down the valley of the shadow,
  Ride, boldly ride,"
  The shade replied,--
"If you seek for Eldorado!"
A Dream Within a Dream
by Edgar Allan Poe
1849

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow:
You are not wrong who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand--
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep--while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?





Dream-Land
by Edgar Allan Poe
1844

By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have reached these lands but newly
From an ultimate dim Thule—
From a wild clime that lieth, sublime,
           Out of SPACE— out of TIME.

Bottomless vales and boundless floods,
And chasms, and caves, and Titan woods,
With forms that no man can discover
For the tears that drip all over;
Mountains toppling evermore
Into seas without a shore;
Seas that restlessly aspire,
Surging, unto skies of fire;
Lakes that endlessly outspread
Their lone waters— lone and dead,—
Their still waters— still and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily.

By the lakes that thus outspread
Their lone waters, lone and dead,—
Their sad waters, sad and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily,—
By the mountains— near the river
Murmuring lowly, murmuring ever,—
By the grey woods,— by the swamp
Where the toad and the newt encamp—
By the dismal tarns and pools
Where dwell the Ghouls,—
By each spot the most unholy—
In each nook most melancholy—
There the traveller meets aghast
Sheeted Memories of the Past—
Shrouded forms that start and sigh
As they pass the wanderer by—
White—robed forms of friends long given,
In agony, to the Earth— and Heaven.

For the heart whose woes are legion
'Tis a peaceful, soothing region—
For the spirit that walks in shadow
'Tis— oh, 'tis an Eldorado!
But the traveller, travelling through it,
May not— dare not openly view it!
Never its mysteries are exposed
To the weak human eye unclosed;
So wills its King, who hath forbid
The uplifting of the fringed lid;
And thus the sad Soul that here passes
Beholds it but through darkened glasses.

By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have wandered home but newly
From this ultimate dim Thule.











The Pied Piper of Hamelin
by Robert Browning
1888
I

       HAMELIN Town’s in Brunswick,
By famous Hanover city;
       The river Weser, deep and wide,
       Washes its wall on the southern side;
       A pleasanter spot you never spied;
But, when begins my ditty,
       Almost five hundred years ago,
       To see the townsfolk suffer so
               From vermin, was a pity.

   II

       Rats!
They fought the dogs
and killed the cats,
       And bit the babies in the cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
       And licked the soup from the cook’s own ladles,
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
Made nests inside men’s Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women’s chats
       By drowning their speaking
       With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats.

III

At last the people in a body
       To the Town Hall came flocking:
“ ’T is clear,” cried they, “our Mayor’s a noddy;
       And as for our Corporation — shocking
To think we buy gowns lined with ermine
For dolts that can’t or won’t determine
What’s best to rid us of our vermin!
You hope, because you’re old and obese,
To find in the furry civic robe ease?
Rouse up, sirs!  Give your brains a racking
To find the remedy we’re lacking,
Or, sure as fate, we’ll send you packing!”
At this the Mayor and Corporation
Quaked with a mighty consternation.
   IV

An hour they sat in council;
       At length the Mayor broke silence:
“For a guilder I’d my ermine gown sell,
       I wish I were a mile hence!
It’s easy to bid one rack one’s brain —
I’m sure my poor head aches again,
I’ve scratched it so, and all in vain.
Oh, for a trap, a trap, a trap!”
Just as he said this, what should hap
At the chamber-door but a gentle tap?
“Bless us,” cried the Mayor, “What’s that?”
(With the Corporation as he sat,
Looking little though wondrous fat;
Nor brighter was his eye nor moister
Than a too-long-opened oyster,
Save when at noon his paunch grew mutinous
For a plate of turtle green and glutinous)
“Only a scraping of shoes on the mat?
Anything like the sound of a rat
Makes my heart go pit-a-pat!”

 V

“Come in!” — the Mayor cried, looking bigger:
And in did come the strangest figure!
His queer long coat from heel to head
Was half of yellow and half of red,
And he himself was tall and thin,
With sharp blue eyes, each like a pin,
And light loose hair, yet swarthy skin,
No tuft on cheek nor beard on chin,
But lips where smiles went out and in;
There was no guessing his kith and kin:
And nobody could enough admire
The tall man and his quaint attire.
Quoth one: “It’s as my great-grandsire,
Starting up at the Trump of Doom’s tone,
Had walked this way from his painted tombstone!”

VI

He advanced to the council-table:
And “Please, your honors,” said he, “I’m able,
By means of a secret charm, to draw
All creatures living beneath the sun,
That creep or swim or fly or run,
After me so as you never saw!
And I chiefly use my charm
On creatures that do people harm,
The mole and toad and newt and viper;
And people call me the Pied Piper.”
(And here they noticed round his neck
A scarf of red and yellow stripe,
To match with his coat of the self-same cheque;
And at the scarf’s end hung a pipe;
And his fingers, they noticed, were ever straying
As if impatient to be playing
Upon this pipe, as low it dangled
Over his vesture so old-fangled.)
“Yet,” said he, “poor piper as I am,
In Tartary I freed the Cham,
Last June, from his huge swarms of gnats;
I eased in Asia the Nizam
Of a monstrous brood of vampire-bats;
And as for what your brain bewilders,
If I can rid your town of rats
Will you give me a thousand guilders?”
“One!?  Fifty thousand!” — was the exclamation
Of the astonished Mayor and Corporation.

VIII

Into the street the Piper stept,
       Smiling first a little smile,
As if he knew what magic slept
       In his quiet pipe the while;
Then, like a musical adept,
To blow his pipe his lips he wrinkled,
And green and blue his sharp eyes twinkled.
Like a candle-flame where salt is sprinkled;
And ere three shrill notes the pipe uttered,
You heard as if an army muttered;
And the muttering grew to a grumbling;
And the grumbling grew to a mighty rumbling;
And out of the houses the rats came tumbling.



Great rats, small rats, lean rats, brawny rats,
Brown rats, black rats, gray rats, tawny rats,
Grave old plodders, gay young friskers,
       Fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins,
Cocking tails and pricking whiskers,
       Families by tens and dozens,
Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives,
Followed the Piper for their lives.
From street to street he piped advancing,
And step by step they followed dancing,
Until they came to the river Weser,
Wherein all plunged and perished!
— Save one, who, stout as Julias Caeser,
Swam across and lived to carry
(As he, the manuscript he cherished)
to Rat-land home his commentary:
Which was, “At the first shrill notes of the pipe,
I heard a sound as of scraping tripe,
And putting apples, wondrous ripe,
Into a cider-press’s gripe,
And a moving away of pickle tub-boards,
And a leaving ajar of conserve-cupboards,
And a drawing the corks of train-oil-flasks,
And a breaking the hoops of butter-casks:
And it seemed as if a voice
(Sweeter far than by harp or psaltery
Is breathed) called out, ’Oh rats, rejoice!
The world is grown to one vast drysaltery!
So munch on, crunch on, take your nuncheon,
Breakfast, supper, dinner, luncheon!’
And just as a bulky sugar-puncheon,
All ready staved, like a great sun shone,
Glorious scarce an inch before me,
Just as methought it said, ’Come, bore me!’
— I found the Weser rolling o’er me.”

VIII

You should have heard the Hamelin people
Ringing the bells till they rocked the steeple.
“Go,” cried the Mayor, “and get long poles,
Poke out the nests and block up the holes!
Consult with carpenters and builders,
And leave in our town not even a trace
of    the rats!” — when suddenly, up the face
Of the Piper perked in the market-place,
With a “First, if you please, my thousand guilders!”

                         IX

A thousand guilders!  The Mayor looked blue.
So did the corporation too.
For council dinners made rare havoc
With Claret, Moselle, Vin-de-Grave, Hock;
And half the money would replenish
Their cellar’s biggest butt with Rhenish.
To pay this sum to a wandering fellow
With a gypsy coat of red and yellow!
“Beside,” quoth the Mayor with a knowing wink,
“Our business was ended at the river’s brink;
We saw with our eyes the vermin sink,
And what’s dead can’t come to life, I think;
So, friend, we’re not the folks to shrink
From the duty of giving you something for drink,
And a matter of money to put in your poke;
But as for the guilders, what we spoke
Of them, as you very well know, was in joke.
Beside, our losses have made us thrifty.
A thousand guilders!  Come, take fifty!”

                         X

The Piper’s face fell, and he cried,
“No trifling, I can’t wait, beside!
I’ve promised to visit by dinner time
Bagdat, and accept the prime
Of the Head-Cook’s pottage, all he’s rich in
For having left, in the Caliph’s kitchen
Of a nest of scorpions no survivor,
With him I proved no bargain-driver.
With you, don’t think I’ll bate a stiver!
And folks who put me in a passion
May find me pipe after another fashion.”
XI

“How?” cried the Mayor, “D’ye think I brook
Being worse treated than a cook?
Insulted by a lazy ribald
With idle pipe and vesture piebald?
You threaten us, fellow?  Do your worst,
Blow your pipe there till you burst!”

                         XII

Once more he stept into the street,
       And to his lips again,
Laid his long pipe of smooth straight cane;
       And ere he blew three notes (such sweet
Soft notes as yet musician’s cunning
       Never gave the enraptured air)
There was a rustling that seemed like a bustling
Of merry crowds justling at pitching and hustling;
Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clattering,
Little hands clapping and little tongues chattering,
And, like fowls in a farm-yard when barley is scattering,
Out came the children running.
All the little boys and girls,
With rosy cheeks and flaxen curls,
And sparkling eyes and teeth like pearls,
Tripping and skipping, ran merrily after
The wonderful music with shouting and laughter.

                         XIII

The Mayor was dumb, and the Council stood
As if they were changed into blocks of wood,
Unable to move a step, or cry
To the children merrily skipping by,
— Could only follow with the eye
That joyous crowd at the Piper’s back.
But how the Mayor was on the rack,
And the wretched Council’s bosoms beat,
As the piper turned from the High Street
To where the Weser rolled its waters
Right in the way of their sons and daughters!



However, he turned from South to West,
And to Koppelberg Hill his steps addressed,
And after him the children pressed;
Great was the joy in every breast.
“He never can cross that mighty top!
He’s forced to let the piping drop,
And we shall see our children stop!”
When, lo, as they reached the mountain-side,
A wondrous portal opened wide,
As if a cavern was suddenly hollowed,
And the Piper advanced and the children followed,
And when all were in to the very last,
The door in the mountain-side shut fast.
Did I say all?  No! one was lame,
And could not dance the whole of the way;
And in after years, if you would blame
His sadness, he was used to say, —
“It’s dull in our town since my playmates left!
I can’t forget that I’m bereft
Of all the pleasant sights they see,
Which the Piper also promised me.
For he led us, he said, to a joyous land,
Joining the town and just at hand,
Where waters gushed and fruit-trees grew,
And flowers put forth a fairer hue,
And everything was strange and new;
The sparrows were brighter then peacocks here,
And their dogs outran our fallow deer,
And honey-bees had lost their stings,
And horses were born with eagles’ wings;
And just as I became assured
My lame foot would be speedily cured,
The music stopped and I stood still,
And found myself outside the hill,
Left alone against my will,
To go now limping as before,
And never hear of that country more!”

                         XIV

Alas, alas for Hamelin!
       There came into many a burgher’s pate
       A text which says that heaven’s gate
       
   
 Opes to the rich at as easy rate
As the needle’s eye takes a camel in!
The Mayor sent East, West, North and South

To offer the Piper, by word of mouth,
       Wherever it was men’s lot to find him,
Silver and gold to his heart’s content,
If he’d only return the way he went,
       And bring the children behind him.
But when they saw ’t was a lost endeavor,
And Piper and dancers were gone forever,
They made a decree that lawyers never
       Should think their records dated duly
If, after the day of the month and year,
These words did not as well appear,
“And so long after what happened here
       On the Twenty-second of July,
Thirteen hundred and seventy-six:”
And the better in memory to fix
The place of the children’s last retreat,
They called it, the Pied Piper’s Street —
Where anyone playing on pipe or tabor,
Was sure for the future to lose his labor.
Nor suffered they hostelry or tavern
To shock with mirth a street so solemn.
But opposite the place of the cavern
       They wrote the story on a column,
And on the great church-window painted
The same, to make the world acquainted
How their children were stolen away,
And there it stands to this very day.
And I must not omit to say
That in Transylvania there’s a tribe
Of alien people who ascribe
The outlandish ways and dress
On which their neighbors lay such stress,
To their fathers and mothers having risen
Out of some subterraneous prison
Into which they were trepanned
Long time ago in a mighty band
Out of Hamelin town in Brunswick land,
But how or why, they don’t understand.
XV

So, Willy, let me and you be wipers
Of scores out with all men — especially pipers!
And, whether they pipe us free from rats or from mice,
If we’ve promised them aught, let us keep our promise!





The Fairies
by William Allingham
1850

UP the airy mountain,
       Down the rushy glen,
   We daren't go a-hunting
       For fear of little men;
   Wee folk, good folk,
       Trooping all together;
   Green jacket, red cap,
       And a white owl's feather!

   Down along the rocky shore
       Some make their home,
   They live on crispy pancakes
       Of yellow tide-foam;
   Some in the reeds
       Of the black mountain lake,
   With frogs for their watch-dogs,
       All night awake.

   High on the hill-top
       The old King sits;
   He is now so old and gray
       He's nigh lost his wits.
   With a bridge of white mist
       Columbkill he crosses,
   On his stately journeys
       From Slieveleague to Rosses;
   Or going up with music
       On cold starry nights,
   To sup with the Queen
       Of the gay Northern Lights.
They stole little Bridget
       For seven years long;
   When she came down again
       Her friends were all gone.
   They took her lightly back,
       Between the night and morrow,
   They thought that she was fast asleep,
       But she was dead with sorrow.
   They have kept her ever since
       Deep within the lake,
   On a bed of flag-leaves,
       Watching till she wake.

   By the craggy hill-side,
       Through the mosses bare,
   They have planted thorn-trees
       For pleasure here and there.
   Is any man so daring
       As dig them up in spite,
   He shall find their sharpest thorns
       In his bed at night.

   Up the airy mountain,
       Down the rushy glen,
   We daren't go a-hunting
       For fear of little men;
   Wee folk, good folk,
       Trooping all together;
   Green jacket, red cap,
       And a white owl's feather!



  


The Bird’s Song
from the short story:
The Juniper Tree
by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
1884

"My mother she killed me,
My father he ate me,
My sister, little Marlinchen,
Gathered together all my bones,
Tied them in a silken handkerchief,
Laid them beneath the juniper-tree,
Kywitt, kywitt, what a beautiful bird am I!"








Titanic
by David R. Slavitt

Who does not love the Titanic?
If they sold passage tomorrow for that same crossing,
who would not buy?
To go down...We all go down, mostly
alone. But with crowds of people, friends, servants,
well fed, with music, with lights!Ah!
And the world, shocked, mourns, as it ought to do
and almost never does. There will be the books and movies
to remind our grandchildren who we were
and how we died, and give them a good cry.
Not so bad, after all. The cold
water is anesthetic and very quick.
The cries on all sides must be a comfort.
We all go: only a few, first class.   



The Yarn of the 'Nancy Bell
by Sir William Schwenck Gilbert
1866

'Twas on the shores that round our coast
From Deal to Ramsgate span,
That I found alone on a piece of stone
An elderly naval man.

His hair was weedy, his beard was long,
And weedy and long was he,
And I heard this wight on the shore recite,
In a singular minor key:

"Oh, I am a cook and a captain bold,
And the mate of the Nancy brig,
And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig."

And he shook his fists and he tore his hair,
Till I really felt afraid,
For I couldn't help thinking the man had been drinking,
And so I simply said:

"Oh, elderly man, it's little I know
Of the duties of men of the sea,
And I'll eat my hand if I understand
However you can be

'At once a cook, and a captain bold,
And the mate of the Nancy brig,
And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig.'"

Then he gave a hitch to his trousers, which
Is a trick all seamen larn,
And having got rid of a thumping quid,
He spun this painful yarn:

"'Twas in the good ship Nancy Bell
That we sailed to the Indian Sea,
And there on a reef we come to grief,
Which has often occurred to me.

‘And pretty nigh all the crew was drowned
(There was seventy-seven o' soul),
And only ten of the Nancy's men
Said 'Here!' to the muster-roll.

'There was me and the cook and the captain bold,
And the mate of the Nancy brig,
And the bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig.

'For a month we'd neither wittles nor drink,
Till a-hungry we did feel,
So we drawed a lot, and, accordin' shot
The captain for our meal.

'The next lot fell to the Nancy's mate,
And a delicate dish he made;
Then our appetite with the midshipmite
We seven survivors stayed.

'And then we murdered the bo'sun tight,
And he much resembled pig;
Then we wittled free, did the cook and me,
On the crew of the captain's gig.

'Then only the cook and me was left,
And the delicate question,"Which
Of us two goes to the kettle" arose,
And we argued it out as sich.

'For I loved that cook as a brother, I did,
And the cook he worshipped me;
But we'd both be blowed if we'd either be stowed
In the other chap's hold, you see.

"I'll be eat if you dines off me,"says TOM;
'Yes, that,' says I, 'you'll be, '
'I'm boiled if I die, my friend, ' quoth I;
And "Exactly so," quoth he.
'Says he,"Dear JAMES, to murder me
Were a foolish thing to do,
For don't you see that you can't cook me,
While I can and will cook you!"

'So he boils the water, and takes the salt
And the pepper in portions true
(Which he never forgot), and some chopped shalot.
And some sage and parsley too.

"Come here,"says he, with a proper pride,
Which his smiling features tell,
"'T will soothing be if I let you see
How extremely nice you'll smell."

'And he stirred it round and round and round,
And he sniffed at the foaming froth;
When I ups with his heels, and smothers his squeals
In the scum of the boiling broth.

'And I eat that cook in a week or less,
And as I eating be
The last of his chops, why, I almost drops,
For a wessel in sight I see!

* * * * * *

"And I never larf, and I never smile,
And I never lark nor play,
But I sit and croak, and a single joke
I have--which is to say:

"Oh, I am a cook and a captain bold,
And the mate of the Nancy brig,
And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig!"







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Good morning Starshine! Liked this post? Looking to connect with me online? I love social networks and am on most of them. You can find me on: BloggerEtsyFaceBookGoogle+KeenMySpaceNaNoWriMoProBoardsScript FrenzySpoonflowerSquidooTwitterULC Ministers NetworkWordpress, and Zazzle Feel free to give me a shout any  time. Many blessings to you, may all your silver clouds be lined with rhinestones and sparkle of golden sunshine. Have yourself a great and wonderful glorious day!

~Rev. Wendy C. Allen aka Empress EelKat of Laughing Gnome Hollow



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This post was written by Wendy C Allen aka EelKat, is copyrighted by The Twighlight Manor Press and was posted on Houseless Living @ http://houselessliving.blogspot.com and reposted at EK's Star Log @ http://eelkat.wordpress.com and parts of it may also be seen on http://www.squidoo.com/EelKat and http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com  If you are reading this from a different location than those listed above, please contact me Wendy C. Allen aka EelKat @ http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=viewprofile and let me know where it is you found this post. Plagiarism is illegal and I DO actively pursue offenders. Unless copying a Blog Meme, you do not have permission to copy anything appearing on this blog, including words, art, or photos. This will be your only warning. Thank you and have a glorious day! ~ EelKat



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