The Horns of a Shibboleth

Sir Bafometz was a scruffy gentleman despite his overall sartorial style. Sure, he looked like a leftover mop that had been hastily stuffed into a set of the King’s finest clothes but he didn’t care. He knew who he was and he carried himself with pride.

He often wore a bowler hat, two long screw-in horns and a big, gold star on his head. The hat didn’t fit in the narrow space between the horns but when Sir Bafometz pushed it down to his forehead it covered the star. This was hardly ideal. One could even say that he was caught on the horns of a dilemma!

And when it came to flying, the horny dilemma only got worse. Although he had an impressive wingspan, Sir Bafometz rarely got to flex it because of the aforementioned hat situation. If he even so much as looked at the heavens with a wistful eye, a gust of wind would steal along and snatch his hat away.

But Sir Bafometz was a true gentleman with grace, manners, education and other secular bullshit that people like. He knew the expected etiquette which is why he never left the house without his troublesome hat. Being hatless would be mauvais ton if you will. And so it was that Sir Bafometz carried his hat everywhere in his right hand. No matter where he was it could be found at the end of his arm, swinging in perfect time with his stylish, confident gait. He was like Mick Jagger strutting across a stage—but with a snazzy hat instead of a microphone.

But here’s where another nuisance was on the lookout for poor Sir Bafometz. For some weird reason—despite his fancy silk tie, snappy three-piece suit and polished hooves—people still mistook him for a beggar and would try to drop a penny or two into the hat. This irked him at first but then he came to a realisation. He could use the spare change to buy Chuckles and Goobers for the neighbourhood kids.

That’s why his porch was never empty during Halloween from that point on. There were always noisy kids around, jumping and elbowing, jockeying for the best pick of the sweets on offer. And so the soft light of the Jack-o’-lantern on his windowsill was a promise of kindness and good cheer for everybody who needed it.

Yes, our good ol’ Sir Bafometz was a bonhomme of the highest order, despite initially being on the horns of a dilemma. He never did let anything get him down for long.

© All rights reserved 2021

Open-Source Poetry Four #2

All Hallows’ Eve has come and gone for another year, leaving behind it a trail of pumpkin seeds and M&Ms. Dear Reader, did you wear a costume this year? We did! Tati was a tentacled Cthulhu kitty, and Tony preferred to… well, cosplay as a plate of pumpkin mash. As usual.

But, alas, good things never last. All the skeletons have been shoved back into their closets, and all the ghosts have been brought to bay with proton energy streams. Now it’s time to work! That’s right, we’re serving up another slice of communal poetry for you to chew over and add lines to. Are you up to the challenge? If your answer is a demonic, guttural yes, then read on:

1) You see that bit of poetry down there? That’s what we’d like your help with. All you need do is submit your own line for our consideration.
2) If we like your line the best, we’ll add it to the poem, then we’ll publish said poem in a follow-up post.
3) What happens then? Well, you get angry if you’re among the unfortunate many whose line wasn’t chosen, and you vow to submit another one that will most certainly blow us away with its awesome astoundingness!
4) And so the whole process of submission and rejection is repeated until we finally have a horrifying new masterpiece!

So, yeah, that’s it! Now it’s your turn to sweat over that next perfect line. Meanwhile, Tati, Tony and Tomas Mankus will chill out with a well earned bag of trick-or-treating sweets… oh, and a cup of tea. Mmm… sacrilegious!


hm, what should I draw?
maybe a hairy monster with a furry claw
or a demon crow that sticks in the craw
or a huge bloodstained saw


© All rights reserved 2019

TATI’s & TONY’s DEAD POET TOUR // Halloween by Madison Julius Cawein

It was down in the woodland on last Hallowe’en,
Where silence and darkness had built them a lair,
That I felt the dim presence of her, the unseen,
And heard her still step on the ghost-haunted air.

It was last Hallowe’en in the glimmer and swoon
Of mist and of moonlight that thickened and thinned,
That I saw the gray gleam of her eyes in the moon,
And hair, like a raven, blown wild in the wind.

It was last Hallowe’en where starlight and dew
Made mystical marriage on flower and leaf,
That she led me with looks of a love that I knew,
And lured with the voice of a heart-buried grief.

It was last Hallowe’en in the forest of dreams,
Where trees are eidolons and shadows have eyes,
That I saw her pale face like the foam of far streams,
And heard, like the leaf-lisp, her tears and her sighs.

It was last Hallowe’en, the haunted, the dread,
In the wind-tattered wood by the storm-twisted pine,
That I, who am living, kept tryst with the dead,
And clasped her a moment and dreamed she was mine.

Public Domain Poetry