Michelle Jeffrey is my guest poet today. She shows quite well the dark with her poems of pagans and mythic beings.
When did you discover poetry and who/what influenced you?
I started writing poetry when I was six years old, so my early influences would have been traditional nursery rhymes and Dr. Seuss. I started exploring dark themes in my poetry when I was eleven, drawing from life experience. Later I was influenced by the work of T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and J.R.R. Tolkien.
Why do you write poetry?
I write poetry because my soul screams out for it to be written. I have been driven to write poetry from when I could first write. It is an integral part of my being and I could not imagine a life where I was not writing poetry regularly.
What do you think is the most difficult aspect in writing poetry?
I find it difficult to write poetry when I pick a subject and decide to write about it. My poetry is usually written about something I feel passionate about. The muse takes me and the words just flow from deep within my psyche.
A Summoning of Demons
Oh fallen angel, oh spirit unclean
However heinous and obscene
Be thou but the fiercest fiend
From the very darkness weaned
Nurtured fast on dread and slaughter
Thou who dwell across the water
Beyond the bounds of space and time
From nether regions’ fiery clime
Come, cross the river of life and death
With burning eyes and blazing breath
Come hither now with ravening bent
In answer to this summons sent
Beelzebub, thou of envy and spite
Come storming from the realm of night
Belphegor, cause thyself to shift
Come voracious, across the rift
Asmodeus, thou who stirs the blood
Licentious, lust and passions flood!
Baal and Hadad, come together
With thou rain and stormy weather
Sathanus, wild with wrathful ire
Come thou from the realms of fire!
Mammon, heavy with rapacious greed
With appetite strong and avarice freed
Lucifer, proud with blinding light
That shines eternal burning bright
Demons mighty, strong and tall
Greatest gods before the fall
Indomitable, rampant, wild and savage
Unbridled, set to storm and ravage
Monstrous with malevolent grace
Hither, come unto this space
## Published in Spectral Realms No. 12, Winter 2020
Do you explore particular themes? What are they and why?
I often write about the natural world, such as the seasons, the rain, the sea and the moon. My poetry is often drawn from classical mythology and paganism; Gods and Goddesses and their stories.
What is it about dark (speculative) poetry that you think attracts people to read it?
I think some people like the thrill of immersing themselves in horror. They enjoy the feeling of being scared and contemplating something outside their day-to-day existence, beyond the bounds of the safe structures society builds around them. There is something about the meter of poetry that heightens the macabre experience, causing people to anticipate dread with a disturbing delight.
What projects (publications) are you working on or have coming up?
I am currently working on a ritual descent to the Underworld incorporating my poetry. I will be conducting the ceremony in the Temple of Baal Cave, one of the most spectacular limestone caves at Jenolan Caves, located in Australia.
Of Hooves and Horns
Within the depths of velvet forest
Elusive scent lichen and moss
Ferns and firs
Movement slight scarcely seen
Shadows move the darkness dancing
Edge of thought
Wilderness walking stalking shadow
Hooves clatter striking stone
Taunting glimpse horned shadow
Calling drawing through the veil
## published in Call of the God: An Anthology Exploring the Divine Masculine Within Modern Paganism, 2015
(Also published in Spectral Realms No. 9, Summer 2018)
Is there anything else you want to say about horror or poetry?
My mother used to take me to see the Hammer gothic horror movies as a young girl, sparking off a lifetime love of the horror genre.
Michelle Jeffrey is a poet, artist, dreamer and cat whisperer who likes to weave mythology, music and poetry into the rhythm of rituals and ceremonies. She is a regular contributor of poetry and articles to pagan magazines in Australia. Her poetry has also appeared in the Spectral Realms: A Weird Poetry Journal and Call of the God: An Anthology Exploring the Divine Masculine Within Modern Paganism. Michelle resides in Sydney, Australia with her husband and two cats.
With the busy day’s clatter
Never expecting the sudden crack
Stunning my senses
At the increasing void
The icy surface
So smooth, so still
The break was raw
Against all nature
As if Hades had come
And dragged me down
As abruptly as
He had seized Persephone
Tearing me too
From the stable surface
Scattered flowers in my wake
## published in The Small Tapestry, Winter 2015