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Happy Saturday to all. My name is Stuart, and I’d like to start with a story…

When I was a boy (you might want to sit comfortably, get a warm drink & a blanket)….When I was a boy my mother used to tuck me into bed REALLY tightly. I’m talking mummified. My arms would be pinned to my sides as she tucked the sheets underneath the mattress. This just about allowed air into my lungs and blood to circulate around my body.

One night, after tucking/trapping me in my bed, she picked up a gerbil cage which I kept just to my side. As she moved it, a hairy brown shape fell off the side, uncurled its legs, and sprinted up the bed towards me as she screamed in terror.

I was trapped. An unspeakable horror was making its way towards me (clearly to kill me) and my Mother was frozen with fear.

Image of Little Miss Muffet – Illustration byWilliam Wallace Denslow from the Project Gutenberg EBook of Denslow’s Mother Goose, by Anonymous Original copyright 1902 by William Wallace Denslow- image used courtesy of Wikimedia Commons as per licence agreement

And so my phobia was born…no wonder really, thinking about it. It still exists to this day (just ask my poor wife who has to regularly put spiders put of the window whilst I cry like a little girl).  In fact, it was one of these incidents that led me to this weeks prompt!

Phobias & Fears – something we can all relate to. We are ALL scared by something (I defy you to say otherwise!) regardless of how irrational it may seem. There are so may different types of phobia’s, from the common such as Arachnophobia (fear of spiders) to Metro-phobia (A fear & hatred of poetry)- although I doubt you suffer with this if you are here and still reading!

Public domain image -‘Fear’ by Yakunchikova- used courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.. Description- Author- Maria Yakunchikova “Fear” 1893-95

Lets relate this to the poetic, and I’d like to refer to a great poem penned by one of my all time favourites Philip Larkin.

The poem is called ‘Aubade’ – and deals simply with Larkins own fear of death


I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
Till then I see what’s really always there:
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,
Making all thought impossible but how
And where and when I shall myself die.
Arid interrogation: yet the dread
Of dying, and being dead,
Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.

The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse
—The good not done, the love not given, time
Torn off unused—nor wretchedly because
An only life can take so long to climb
Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;
But at the total emptiness for ever,
The sure extinction that we travel to
And shall be lost in always. Not to be here,
Not to be anywhere,
And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.

This is a special way of being afraid
No trick dispels. Religion used to try,
That vast moth-eaten musical brocade
Created to pretend we never die,
And specious stuff that says No rational being
Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing
That this is what we fear—no sight, no sound,
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,
Nothing to love or link with,
The anaesthetic from which none come round.

And so it stays just on the edge of vision,
A small unfocused blur, a standing chill
That slows each impulse down to indecision.
Most things may never happen: this one will,
And realisation of it rages out
In furnace-fear when we are caught without
People or drink. Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others. Being brave
Lets no one off the grave.
Death is no different whined at than withstood.

Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,
Have always known, know that we can’t escape,
Yet can’t accept. One side will have to go.
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring
In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring
Intricate rented world begins to rouse.
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done.
Postmen like doctors go from house to house.

So! For this weeks prompt, write a poem about a phobia or something that scares you. This could be:-

  • A poem about a real ‘phobia’ that you have (what is it, how does it effect you)
  • A poem about something that scares you (for example death, spiders, politicians, bananas e.t.c
  • A narrative poem- tell us a story that involves facing a fear, or tell us how it started, where did it come from? how was it born?
  • An observational poem about fear (how does it effect people, how does it effect their behaviour, their lives?)
  • A metaphorical poem- write about objects, places, situations that signify a fear (for example- that dark cellar, that eerie road you have to walk down that gives you goosebumps, that clown doll sat at the end of your bed when you were a child….ughh clowns….)
  • A situational poem- write about a situation that has/could create an irrational fear (for example- sitting on a plane, hearing noises that make the mind race)


  • Write your poem and post it to your blog
  • Add a link to your poem via the ‘Mr Linky’ below
  • This opens a new screen where you’ll enter your information, and where you also choose links to read. Once you have pasted your poem’s blog URL and entered your name, click Submit. Don’t worry if you don’t see your name right away
  • Read and comment on other peoples work to let them know it’s being read
  • Share via your favourite social media platforms

Above all- have fun!

See you out on the trail!

By Stuart McPherson – Poet & Spoken Word Artist at http://www.poemsofhateandhope.com