Special Holidays, Fiction, and Historical Events
The Pumpkin Patch
by Scott S. Batchelor
A most unusual pumpkin patch, the subject of this tale, back upon a harder time when crops began to fail. A pumpkin grower was at risk, took loans against his farm. The Bank awaiting hungrily, for they could do him harm, but this farmer had a plan, unusual in scope stealthily enacting it, for it was his only hope. A graveyard ran along his field, its grass a greener shade, due to corpse leached nutrients, so he took up his spade, then planting ever carefully within that unused plot, sewing pumpkin seeds around, avoiding getting caught. Tending to them nightly underneath a phasing moon, tippy toeing silently amid the rot and ruin. As time wore through the season's cloth, those seedlings came to vine with that farmers tender care, the plants were doing fine, their blossoms opened upward facing out into the sky, breezes whispered off the leaves as if to breath and sigh. Something sculpting every gourd as harvest drew to near, the farmers terror grew as well, this crop he came to fear. His nightly rounds had gotten strange- these pumpkins seemed so odd, had his defilement out here been a blasphemy to god? Yet constant was he there as those pumpkins came to size thriving in that graveyard still with no one getting wise, closer to their harvesting those orange leafy vases took upon their surfaces the aspect of dead faces. Old spirits deep within the soil laid out their own design, escape the rotting clutch of Hell to offer forth a sign, thus with gentle carving of the beetle maggot spawn Jack-O-Lantern faces rose up from the deathly lawn. Fireflies would settle in to call out with their light, heads all winking knowingly throughout the dewy night, harvest time had come to pass, it's moon a bleeding red, that farmer snuck in one last time, his crop amongst the dead. Faces watched him closely deep within that leafy fold, a creeping terror shaking him, his spine an icy cold, causing him to lose his step, he stumbled to the ground, his heartbeat stopped in horror at the pumpkin he had found! For white as alabaster with the glistening of bone, the face upon its surface held the features of his own... and no one ever came for him, alone within that lot, withered to the bone in hell, deserving what he got.
Editor Comments: This may be Scott S. Batchelor's first publication, but I'm sure it will not be his last. I found this piece of short fiction to be entertaining, poetic prose, a combination of narrative blended with rich images. How timely with Halloween this month. If you have any encouraging words for Scott email me and I will foward them on. Yes, even with my free verse orientation I loved the basic Iambic's.
By Michael O'Connor
Tears filled the old German’s eyes
When he saw the black and white
Photo of himself, a frightened
Teenager, plucked from the Bay
Of Biscay by a neutral Irish ship,
And remembered that time, the smell
Of explosives and burning oil,
His ship destroyed, his comrades
Floundering in a sea of
Hopelessness, and somewhere,
Seabirds calling, as if there were
A world apart from this one:
A gentler place where seagulls
Screamed and dived and bobbed
Upon the waves and people
Leaned on railings, watching them.
Editorial Comments: This is a nice historical and potentially ecphrasis piece (if only we had the picture to go with the word images) by Michael O'Connor. In Michael's own words: "It's called The Kerlogue. The Kerlogue was an Irish ship that picked up survivors from a sunken German warship in the Bay of Biscay. Years later an old German was in the Maritime Museum in Dun Laoghaire. There was a feature about the Kerlogue and when he saw the newspaper cuttings and photos, the German burst into tears. He recognised himself in the photos. I'm 54, have won a few competitions and have had one poem in The Irish Times. I teach in a Montessori teacher training college and I have 4 children, aged from 10 to 27. Thanks for providing this forum." I'm going to assume Michael is from Ireland till told differently.