Darker Fables

Writing. Adventures, maybe? Exciting, definitely.



The Interim

Let it be known that I have turned my back
on sunsets, pearl rings,
and all-inclusives with the One.

It is time I took my life in a handkerchief,
and stopped the plaintive search.

I don’t need any presents
or praise for my lack of expectations.
I’ve had enough chocolate,
and my daddy bought me all the bears
I needed.

Quote-unquote romances
(with boys I’m ashamed to know)
have bolstered my pride.
Now I can wait.

I will prop the door open whilst I attend
to other things. No standing
with the key in hand, waiting for
him, and for him to say,
‘at last, it is I, the gentleman
on whom all happiness depends.’

He can tap me on the shoulder
when he gets here, wordlessly.
Until then, I’ll roll my sleeves,
and go to work.
I have more names than
‘a patient woman,’
and more things to find
than love.

© Deanna Scutt, 2017


A two-penny whore sits on the docks,
skimming her slippers over the sea.

The gypsies and harkers, none mark her,
a girl watching waves spit pearls at the bay.

On her lips is a sailor’s kiss, still sweet,
like dew on the white morning sails.

A man, she says, once left her for dead,
right here, for all and the fish to behold.

It was the closest she had ever been to love,
the sting of salt air on that open wound.

And now all her fantasies are not her own,
every one of them stolen like pieces of gold.

Still, the ocean, hushing before her, speaks.
Its stories mean less than nothing to her.

© Deanna Scutt, 2017

Holy Ground

All the doors are open in this bolthole,
but none of them lead to you.
I, with my arms wide open,
am a curiosity.
I do nothing but gather dust.

And I’m so tired of telling you
where you should go,
even when my voice
brings you running back to me.

I liked crawling together
in dank unlit places.
There is simply nothing for us
in the bright autumn air.

Never, did I imagine
being sick of ‘I love you,’
but truly I hate it
when you open your mouth.

You just talk
about nothing which ever did matter,
in white noise and whispers I cannot discern.

What happened?
To us, to you, or just me.
Bilingual, but bereft of a tongue,
I can’t help it.

I just watch you paint shadows
and let the stains dry.

© Deanna Scutt, 2017


She wishes his fingers didn’t taste of bleach
when he shoves them down her throat,
and that he would dress as sharply
without word of a funeral.

And he, embodiment of an ideal
which isn’t hers, after all this time,
has no wishes. He has thrown enough
coins into the well, and after them, teeth.

La. La. La. Such a tired, monotonous song
is playing on the radio, sounding like
something sicked up to face this
new world, made of puzzles,
chewing gum in spit pools,
and photocopy couples
all wanting to be

Sick of sex and the contact of conversation,
of drinking from His and Hers mugs, of
glasses and crockery from people only
interested, really, for the artisan cake,
they fall back on the bed to choke
each other. Lose consciousness,
lose the game, and the trail of
thought that wonders if, if, if
maybe this isn’t everything
or really, anything at all.

Picking scabs just to watch the blood
coursing down over their hands,
they box each other across to
opposite corners, turn
their backs, and
pretend, just
for a time,
that they are alone.

© Deanna Scutt, 2017


I came across the water,
with my life packaged up,
and all its air sucked out.

My blood flowed backwards,
but my hands were tied
to so many things I had to tear up,
cut off, and leave behind.

Cauterised, and a secularist
from my own mother’s love,
I parted the ocean to walk
in a glowing city that thrived
in the miles beneath.

Are there mermaids between the reeds
or gods at the bottom of the bowl?

Maybe, but my castle was sand,
my armour forged from glass.
All the horses ran wild,
and here I am, with a saddle in my hands.

© Deanna Scutt, 2017

Twin Necklaces

Won’t you please,
and I will ask this only once,
just come and dance with me?

You know I won’t pull you to your feet,
only linger, and wait for you to stand
until it becomes apparent that you won’t.

Sometimes, I admit, I’m embarrassed
to know you, and I think, occasionally,
in your eyes I’m roadkill.

It’s true I arrive with blood on my hands,
but you! You bleed through your nose
and lick it up from the floor.

Tandem, we ride the fates in reverse,
brushing hands on the long way down.
I laughed, once, where now I weep.

Darling, darling, darling…
You don’t know how much I love you.
You are the bones of saints to me.

© Deanna Scutt, 2017


She lays her head down,
just there on his knee,
and all her hair is
ink spilling into
the crush of
his hands.

Breathing out, their lungs spew silver
into a dawn as cold as virgin eyes.
She goes, a wind over the hills,
and he sits alone in towers
rooted where they stand.
All is as it was, before.

Quasimodo in his prison of gargoyles and grace,
he writes a thousand letters, but none to her.
There has never been a man more literate
with less inclination to pen his feelings.
His friends do not deign to suggest
that things could be different.

And across the miles a woman sighs,
‘plaiting a dark red love-knot into
her long black hair.’ Wonder,
that wicked game, leaves
the wind whispering
inside her bones.

In her ears, the angels sing.
She, who stood holding
fast, frees the doves
and watches them
scatter up into
the clouds.

© Deanna Scutt, 2017

Note: This poem is my original work, but was inspired by, and contains a quote from, Alfred Noyes’ ‘The Highwayman’. You can find the full version of his masterpiece at Poetry Foundation here.


These shadows rise,
wavering in the smoke
that ebbs from the hollows
of your eyes.

Your mouth is bleeding silver
and I…
I bind my hair in diamond nets
and choke on my mother’s pearls.

All for which I’m sorry
you already know.
Our better selves, blushing,
have died out in the cold.

Virgin, I pluck my hair,
and leave my scalp a no man’s land
of love-coloured liquid
over which to drag my nails.

This last scrap of innocence
is an insect burrowing
deep inside.

Its little teeth
grind straight through to the bone.

© Deanna Scutt, 2017

All the Roses

It has been precisely two years,
some months and days,
since she last raised her head
above the waves.

Ophelia, if only
water was the only way,
and she hadn’t grown gills,
waiting for something
long since lost.

A mermaid chewing bones,
now she swims in her cave
with a coral crown
and a silver chain.

Apologies are obsolete
from the mouths of the forgiven,
but she hides her smile away.

No shrine is ever so beautiful
once the flowers have ceased to rain.

© Deanna Scutt, 2017

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