Dedicated to our loving Mother. Based entirely on true events. 



We were eight. And so our loving mother

Sat us down, to watch a horror film

Not fit for people twice our tender age.


It was, naturally,

Too much. My brother (a total state) sobbed

Silently, so as not to smother

The sound of violence, rage and tension which streaked

Steel-like again and again against the cheerleader’s



Mother told us to watch. She bullied us

Bloody heck just watch,

Even if we only peeked through our little hands:

To not look away, but to watch until

The bitter end.


We shook, and huddled shaking, until

The background blackened: at last, the credits, look,

As white text dragged itself up apologetically, a disclaimer,

That there was in fact an army of screenwriters,

Responsible for a number of minor edits;

A flotilla of make-up artists, some appointed

Solely for fake rip wounds; a coterie

Of extra cheerleaders, simply there

To make up the bloody numbers. There was a “Grip”

And a “Best Boy” and we howled, we howled

Laughing, because we didn’t know what that meant,

And we still do not know, now.


It was entirely sound and fury. The make-up ladies

Had made a painted devil for us. Mother let

Us stand upright, at last, teeter ever so slightly

And breathe again as she turned on the lamplight;


Only finally saying,

“It was painless after all, wasn’t it? No,

You’ve nothing to worry about from horror films.

But you should be worried about cars. You should

Be frightened of having your brains cracked open

Like eggs on the pavement. You should fear

People who mean you harm – believe me, they’re out there,

Not in a mask, not with a kitchen knife,

But with P45’s and a smile. Anyway. Night-night.”


We dared not ask. But with that bombshell

Still resounding, pounding in our ears,

Somehow, God only knows how,

We were sent to bed: the darkness

Emerging before our eyes after a while, the final ending

Blacking out; the white rolling thoughts

Of something sinister, further on in life,

One day soon, ascending.


One thought on ““Scream”

  1. Dear James, this is excellent, fear as little children experience it, and I felt for you. Love from us both, Gran

    Sent from my iPad


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