'Neath a Dark Moon You Found Me - A Fictional Poem of Historical Tragedy


You’ll never know my secrets

buried away deep inside

Dark drops of wisdom

old as mountains

and oceans wide.

Bend, branches of willow

dance with the winds that hold you

On that thirteenth evening

you found me

and that’s when

I told you.

Deep rivers of silence

caress me

I surrender to your hallways of stone

Just because it’s you and your shadow now

doesn’t mean

you’re walking


And when you wake in

the middle of the night

and roll over to try

and pull me tight

To only find me gone,

where shortly before I slept

You knew not what this evening was

until out into it 

I crept.

I had to leave that night

you see, I simply had no choice.

The Moon was high, and round, and white

and I had to lend

my voice.

I thought the chamomile

strong enough in your tea

but I should have known

you have the man strength of three.

I love you, dear husband,

but you must not know

What goes on beneath

and under

and below.

I know you don’t sleep well

I know you toss and turn

Most especially when the Moon is fat

and something wild

within you


Your eyes are dull, my husband

I see that well and while

you sit

in service as the minister

goes on and on

from his


I see you trapped, so tight

by the chains of 

The Age of Reason

yet something primal within you


just like the turning of

a season.

You ignore it, though, and

you do so at

your peril

because there’s a part of you

yearning to be free

and feral.

I won’t ignore it, though

I must run free

and fly

These chains with which you

tether yourself

will only make

me die.

You shipped me to a strange land

with the promise of a better life

but all I’ve seen is pain,

and hardship

and strife.

You treat me well

your hand is kind

You love as well as you can

yet my life is more than a

dented washboard

and a cast-iron

frying pan.

You work the land

and tend livestock

and keep a garden 

clean and neat.

You patiently wait for me

to bear a child

to make our family


And when I bleed each month

I see the Shadow in your eyes

of the failure I am to you

and it hurts me

I cannot lie.

Remember the pain that

lives within my heart

when you come to know of the things

I’ve done

and of which I’ve taken part.

Please know my love for you

is wider than the ocean

over which we crossed

and each time I look at you

I think of what we’ve gained,

and what we’ve


I want to carry your child

our child

and nurse him to strength

I want so terribly to show you that

I’m worth all the struggles,

and lengths.

Yet I know something is wrong,

whether in you or me

I do not know

and so in great desperation

I made a choice

of which you now know.

Night after night out I went

always swift

always light of foot

and I took care that you didn’t notice

my hair smelling of ash

or my feet covered in soot.

To the edges of town I crept

all in dark clothing

so as not to be seen

and legend still speaks to this day of

The Phantom in Black

The Shadow In-Between.

Tell me, if you will

if you could conceive

of the lengths you would go

to make your love believe

of hope, and children

of posterity, of joy

of holding the hand

of your little girl

or little boy.

I fly to the edges of the hollow

and back again

in my dreams

I wish I could show you

how there’s much more to life

than what can be seen.

Of course it was a child

for which I yearned!

A child to fill that space in our hearts

where emptiness did churn.

But was it meant to be?

We’ll see, I suppose.

Especially after I met Her

and all she did propose.

See, it wasn’t a trinket

a bauble

or a potion

no, what she offered was an idea

an inspiration

a notion.

In that dappled sunlight

under the oak, near the well

she gazed into my eyes that day

and the tears in my eyes did swell.

She told me she was like me,

once, trapped in a cage,

so ready to break forth

in a breathtaking fit of rage.

And she knew, knew just like

I know your name is James

she knew I couldn’t get with child.

She knew my sorrows

she knew my pain.

Then she grasped my hand

and pulled me tight

and when she said she could

fix what was wrong with me

I knew she was


She told me first and foremost

I wasn’t free

not like I thought

I’d been domesticated like a hog,

brought to market.


And bought.

That’s the reason I couldn’t quicken,

locked tight in these

chains of black

yet she told me it was I who held

the keys to my freedom

that I could get

myself back.

All I had to do was meet her

on the night when the moon

was dark and empty

and I will admit, husband

she was full of promises

that did tempt me.

Songs of night, songs of flight

cries into the darkness

for hope.

We watched together as flames leapt higher

around the lives

in which we coped.

I knew them to be working

these chants

these dances

these fires

until you stumbled upon us in the dark

calling us



and liars.

“The Devil’s Work!” you yelled

as you ran into the clearing

and gazed at me in such hatred

with eyes once so endearing.

You yelled of the Devil with rage

and hatred shining

from your face

but I swear I saw Him in you

that night

and my heart did race.

And when you rushed across the clearing

swift as the wind

and just as mad

you grabbed me by my throat

and started to squeeze

with all you had.

It all happened so swiftly

everyone around the fire

frozen in place

as your grip tightened around my throat

and deep color

crept into my face.

I dropped to my knees

the night creeping

slowly into my vision

as you stole my life away

with such coldness

and precision.

Shocked, or scared, or cowardly

I do not know

but the other women standing there

were frozen

as if stuck in snow.

As your hands tightened more

and my life did flee

all I wanted to tell you was

it worked:

I was with baby.

But you’ll never know now

that which you wanted most

was within your grasp

yet you pushed it all away into oblivion

when around my throat

your hands did clasp.

And soon, with me gone from this world

all you’ll have is

my memory

yet you won’t remember my love for you

but only the night when

‘neath a dark moon

you found me.

Josh Simonds