Countdown to Launch gives you one of our favourite submissions every week. Babs’ story can be found in the FREAK Circus bumper Kindle edition. Available October 1st.
Today we are feeling a bit dark in the FREAK Circus lair, so we bring you The Gobbleman. Babs’ poem is half nursery rhythm, half folk legend, and all creepy.
‘Don’t disturb the songbird in her nest.
Don’t touch the eggs among the yews,
And don’t make fun of other boys,
Whose parents can’t afford new shoes.
Don’t poke your tongue,
Don’t chase the duck,
Don’t pick the flowers,
Or bring home muck.
Take care, my son, when out at play,
To keep the Gobbleman ghoul away.’
‘Stop telling tales, I’m six years old,
I know what is and isn’t true.
There’s no such thing as a gobbledyman,
You can’t tell me what not to do.’
‘He’ll come at night,
When you’re in bed
He’ll suck your breath
And leave you dead.’
‘O Mother, I am not afraid
Of ghosts and goblins you have made.’
He stole the apples, chased the hens
Threw stones at babes and acted wild
Refused to eat his greens at dinner,
Til his mother worried about her child.
Peeking in his room
She saw a sight
Two devilish eyes
Were burning bright.
Stretched across her son’s pale face,
The Gobbleman kissed a cold embrace.
‘Get thee gone,’ she waved her fist.
The fiend backed off and bared its teeth,
She pulled the cover from the bed,
Her son was lying cold beneath.
When dad came home
Mum wept with sorrow
‘The Gobbleman has taken
Our son’s tomorrow.’
‘Wife, don’t you take me for a fool
You’ve smothered our son and blame a ghoul.’