By the Light of the Wolf Moon

The Wolf Moon was up, the skies clear and chilled

Deep in the woods that January night

There was snow on the ground and spirits abroad

Low down in the vegetation, pairs of eyes looked out, glowing

A gaunt figure moved forward, his dark cape billowing out

Tall trees parted their bare branches to allow his passage

Underfoot, twigs snapped and leaves crackled as he walked

Nearing the footpath, he paused to look up at the moon

His eyes shone, silvered, cold; the Wolf Moon, at its fullest,

shone down, lighting his way to a humble cottage, where he stopped

Raising his scythe high, he knocked; its sound echoed within

Hurried footsteps approached, the door opened, but a crack

A wise-woman peered out, her eyes sparkling with life

She was as old as she was wise, with a beauty not marred by age

‘No’, she cried, ‘tis too soon I baen’t ready yet, get you gone’

‘Tis your time now, Goodwife Margaret, come along with me’

His voice echoed, chilling her to the very bone

She whimpered, but answered back, for she was brave of spirit

‘Wait ye awhile, what if I’ve a secret, for your ears only

May I bide here a while longer?’

‘So,’ he laughed, ‘you’d try your luck on a story,

Sounds like a fool’s choice to me’

‘I’ve lived here many a year, stories are plenty

But this is a secret, worthy of thine ears alone, sire’

‘Try me Goodwife, but I’ll give thee little time’

‘Ye’ll not regret it sir, I’ll make haste, best you listen well’


Brave Goodwife wrapped herself in a midnight blue velvet cloak,

lined with moonstone silk. Beckoning, she hastened along the path,

her visitor casting a dark shape at her side

‘Tis along here’, she whispered, stopping at a low wall

When she had cleared vines and dead leaves away, a stone of dark grey granite appeared

‘The devil’s stone, you’ll ken, placed here many years ago’

Below the polished disk, shone a metal handle, which she gripped

A hidden door opened slowly, revealing a leaden casket

She held it to her chest and began


‘Many years ago, when I was but a young woman,

An elderly stranger knocked at the cottage door

Asking if he might lodge with us, biding for just one night

He were tall, in a fine suit of clothes, a dark hat pushed over greying locks

Strangers were few, so we sayest he may do so

He wanted but simple repast and later retired to the attic

It was the night of the full moon, whilst he slept the wolves began howling in the woods

Many thought twas the North wind calling, but the oldens knew it for what it was

The wolves howling for the Wolf Moon, in the hours before dawn

All then grew quiet, even the birds did not make their chorus that day

Early on I knocked on the attic door, as he had bade me do

I rattled the latch, but there came no reply from within

I found the room empty, the bed unmade and the window open

Of the stranger there was no sign, by the bed lay this casket

I tried to open it, but the light from it be so bright I dare not

It’s stayed closed these twenty years or more

Great men have come, some have tried to look upon what’s inside

A wise man from Cambridge come visiting one day and he say

Twas a slice of the moon; the Wolf Moon

Cut away one night when the moon was full, just like this night’


Quickly, Goodwife Margaret opened the casket, looking away as she did so

Then flashed the slice of the moon into her visitor’s eyes

He screamed fit to wake the dead, that he so often came for

Fled from the cottage, never to be seen again in these parts

As for Goodwife Margaret, she prospered for many years

For all I know she may live on still, in her cottage by the woods

◄ New Year's Day Tanka

Nostalgia ►


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Brenda Wells

Wed 12th Jan 2022 16:15

Thank you so much for your comments, Stephen A, Stephen G, John B and John C, they are much valued.
Also thanks to those who have liked this poem.
I wanted to write using dialogue as a sort of celebration of it, My dear mum, sadly no longer with us, had a broad Wiltshire accent, which I loved and now miss hearing.
Curiously, a stranger did once knock at my cottage door asking if we took in B and B guests, our home being of limited size I had to say no, probably just as well.

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Stephen Atkinson

Tue 11th Jan 2022 20:33

Wonderfully atmospheric tale, Brenda

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John Botterill

Tue 11th Jan 2022 19:19

Fabulous narrative. Moves with energy. Loved the dialogue. Thanks Brenda! 😀

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John Coopey

Mon 10th Jan 2022 22:50

Ripping yarn, Brenda.

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Stephen Gospage

Mon 10th Jan 2022 21:46

A gripping tale, Brenda. Wonderful atmosphere.

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