They scared me as a child,

those scenes of madness in Jane Eyre

with the wild hair and ripped wedding veil.

And for years after I was still afraid

in the wakeful night

even though by then

I’d come to understand her,

to sympathise with her situation

still it scared me,

scarred me even,

the memory of those scenes.

Then there was Psycho.

I was only fifteen

but looked older.

I was my friends ticket

to all the horror movies.

After Psycho, shower cubicles 

would have made me uneasy

if they had existed in 1960s Britain.

Fortunately they didn’t so the fear 

of knives and blood slashing and splashing 

lacked context and was less.

Next came the vampires

occupying my dreams

along with the triffids, the monsters, 

the demons and the possessed.

They all stacked up


all of a sudden

the magic was gone

and they were just movies,




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