The Story Teller

By brian francis

Up by the place the old willow grows,
where the river drifts silently past,
there is an old house back in the woods
where hoot owls make your heart beat fast.
And if you stand by the river’s edge,
where the cornfield meets the groves,
you can see up past the old willow tree
two big glowing eyes and a nose.

The eyes are the windows of that old house
the nose is its run-down porch
and all of my friends, when we were young,
would march up there with a torch.
Around the side where the woodpile stands
we would all grab a log for our chairs,
then carrying them to the front of the house
we’d argue about who’d climb the stairs.

Then whoever it was who lost that day
would slowly ascend to the top,
to knock three times and turn and run
back to their log and flop.
Then we’d all wait for the rattle and squeak
of the door swinging open wide.
Out of the house, Mary would come,
her black, green-eyed, cat by her side.

She’d slowly go to her old rocking chair
where the cat would leap up to her lap,
and she would rub it’s arching back
until it laid down for its nap.
Some would say she was an old witch,
as old as the waves of the sea,
and that if she gave you the evil eye
you’d slowly turn into a tree.

Silent at first caressing her cat
she’d rock in her old rocking chair,
but soon she’d start to whisper a tale
of a place most distant and fair.
For hours we’d sit and wait on her words,
the stories were never the same;
of heroes and kings and dragons and things,
of magic and virtue and fame.

Then when it was time for us to go
she’d tell us a different tale;
of witches, goblins and scary things
our faces would turn all pale.
We could feel the haunting and eeriness,
our skin would crawl and twitch.
We’d go running home fast as we could
knowing that she was a witch.


Copyright ©2021 brian francis

Near The Cold Grey Sky

by brian francis

In the woods I hid
and watched the trespassers
weave among the forested slopes
on a winter day.
Birds screamed at their passing,
and squirrels scurried
through the wilted underbrush
and blankets of leaves.
Alone, I peered down
from the ancient blind
left by some merciless hunter,
becoming my refuge
from the chilly sorrows
of a mislaid sense of self-worth

Cold and chill
crept along my spine
drafting up my legs
and un-tucked shirt.
I watched strangers
dance beneath the barren limbs
of slumbering trees,
children dragging their parents
with words of coaxing
deeper into the resting forest’s expanse
seeking some unknown reward
for their noisy and bounding effort
beneath my refuge
among the twisted branches
near the cold grey sky.

Copyright ©2020 brian francis

Trip to the Candy Abide

By brian francis

Sleep my child and soon you will see
A place where candy will grow on a tree
The place the unicorn calls its home
And many other strange animals roam
Close your eyes and lay down your head
So the angels can come to guard your bed
And the horse with a horn will give you a ride
To the place they call the candy abide

Close your sleepy eyes and dream, dream, dream
And take a long ride by the soda pop stream
Where licorice trees grow in groves
And the bread is made into teddy bear loaves
The grass is yellow, blue, green, and red
Where only the children are allowed to tread
So close your eyes and be off to sleep
For your ride is waiting and it won’t keep

I remember the place from years gone by
Where marshmallow clouds grow in the sky
And the rivers are lined with chocolate banks
The fences are made of graham cracker planks
But I have grown and can go no more
It now is your turn to go and explore
And find the tin soldiers who march in a row
So be quick and hurry before you too grow


Copyright © 2020 brian francis