I wrote this about four years ago. I think we have all at some time been afraid of the dark. Even grown ups, sometimes. And perhaps, like Myrtle, we need a little something to make us brave. The poem isn’t perfect but it improves if it is read aloud at a brisk-ish pace. It needs some pictures … of sunflowers, an iris or two – one before and one after the splash of sunbeam – and some old hands grubbing around in the soil and planting some bulbs. I will be visiting my father soon and it will be Spring, so pics will be posted.
Hmm … can I squeeze in some dogs? As in, pictures of my dogs …
Myrtle was an iris, tall and blue and grand,
Planted in his garden by Grandpa’s wrinkly hand;
Happy bathing in the sun, all the long day through,
But screaming in the darkness of a night-time inky blue.
For Myrtle was afraid – as scared as scared can be –
Of all the shadows in the dark, of things she could not see.
Grandpa tried to help her. “Be brave my girl,” he said,
Then Myrtle in a frightened voice, replied, “But what about the dead?
The ghosts and ghouls and monsters too, that prowl the dark night sky,
I hear them shrieking in the wind, their voices make me cry.”
Then Grandpa had a cunning plan, a story bold and clear,
Of twinkling stars and the man in the moon, a tale to beat her fear.
“Once upon a time,” he told, “The sun forgot to rise.
In Italy, France and England, blackness filled the daytime skies.
The moon was all the people saw; moonbeams all they had for light,
Schools stayed shut. Bats crashed around as night turned into … night.
From his moon, the man peered out and called the stars to gather round.
“The world down there, it needs our help,” he said, “Until the sun is found.
It needs more light for plants to grow and crops to stand up tall;
The people need their food to eat, without light mankind will fall.”
He sent a star to wake the sunflowers, asleep on the earth below.
“Turn your faces to the sky!” it cried, “With your golden yellow and our silver starry glow,
We’ll turn this dark sky back to blue
And let the night-time creatures sleep and late burn off the morning dew.”
Then Myrtle hung her head in shame – was there no part for her to play?
“I have no yellow glow to give, no brightness to display.”
“Hush!” said Grandpa, “Wait and see, I promise you are the most important one,
For don’t forget in this strange tale, we still haven’t found the sun.”
Now down on earth a slow awakening was taking place,
Day time things were happening but at a slow and hesitant pace.
For even in the moon’s half light, like dusk, colours were grey and dim
It made skin look deathly white and shadows long and slim.
The man in the moon decreed “We have to find the sun!”
He sent a comet, fast with flaming tail, to run
To the other side of the earth to seek the sun round there.
Soon it returned – “I found her! She’s asleep! Do we wake her? Do we dare?”
“We have to,” said the man in the moon. “In this we have no choice.”
“We have to risk her temper,” he cried, with tremulous soft voice.
“But how?” called all the stars, twinkling with fear.
“How can we wake the sun, without being burnt if we get too near?”
The moon, the stars and all the earth fell quiet, wondering what to do,
To take on the sun was terrifying. You’d be fried if you dared say Boo!
“Take my leafy blade,” brave blue iris spoke.
“It’s long enough to reach up close to sun and give her ear a poke!”
It was! It did! And sun woke up in a fearsome fiery rage.
She chased the star that tickled her across the story’s page.
Day came in a bright and shining rush and in a special, glowing place
A splash of moonbeam yellow danced on iris’s gleaming face.
“Now brave young iris you have a lantern light all of your own,
To keep you safe,” said Grandpa gently. “Safe within your garden home.”
Myrtle smiled and laughed, then danced as she sang a joyful song,
“This moonbeam on my funny face will make me brave the whole night long.”
So when you are tired and cannot sleep for fear of all things dark,
Of goblins underneath your bed and strange dogs that yelp and bark.
Stop to remember Myrtle and her fears now chased away
By a moonbeam light that plays with night and glows right through ‘til day.