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Originally penned for an Speculative Fiction anthology.

Bad Ground

4fb6320ff0e5e6ee10bd5840afdbc266by Sean Wright08 Aug 2013

Did blood and progress stain the ground
on which my rural dwelling rests?
The native peoples long moved on,
left no writings and spoke few words
of my white man’s mongrel tongue.

A garbled phrase slips down through time
a warning given to masters harsh.
“Bad ground,” it whispers on the breeze.
Bad ground for whom? I often think -
the wheat’s a ripened, golden plunder.

On moonlit nights I’d often wander,
the hoots of owls a constant sound,
and farmyard beasts in yard and stall
sing out their nightly chorus round
and silent stars keep watch above.

This night an airless silence fell
as if all living beasts knew well
That something lurked beneath our feet.
A knowledge borne of baser brains
from time before time was measured.

Base instinct battled learned reason
as homeward bound my pace quickened.
The moonlight cast such fearful shapes
and sharpened shadows whirred and danced
among a primal fog bound scape

And through the dead and empty air
a piercing cry was taken up;
a thousand feathered kin in song.
“Bad ground,” it screeched off rock and hollow,
harangued my ears with eerie echo.

Now with their plaintiff cry unleashed,
the air began to stir itself,
more earthy breath, than natural breeze
and though in silence I’d felt unease
I prayed again for deathly calm.

Sweet home in sight, a tune struck up,
as wind blew though the TV tower,
discordant warbling chords from hell
or older, deeper places still
where ancient minds abide the ages.

A locked and bolted wooden door
I closed upon the trilling tune.
A shell of limestone white-washed walls
entombed me in the eerie gloom.
And beat my heart; a grim tattoo.

Despite a light at fingers end
I can’t help feel fear’s tendril course
along my spine, across my skin.
Some fears lie dormant deep within,
a warning from the dawn of life.

I read a tale, of Ancient gods
of buried cites, neath sand and waves
of timeless evil, marked in stone
weathered down by eons past.
Some grain of truth these tales hold fast

And so it is with wary thought
I lay my head on worried pillow:
An ancient horst, a risen depth
beneath my humble house does rest.
An ancient outpost, skyward thrust?

And laugh, you might at dreams half dreamt
at fears borne out of fevered fancies.
I cannot shake the looming dread,
“Bad ground,” the sound,
in my mind
dances.