This be the verse: 8 ~ Hoodoo – Harry M. Hyatt

A peculiar yet fascinating entry in our journey into macabre poetry today and one that I think needs a bit of back story.

During the middle decades of the 20th century a folklorist by the name of Harry M. Hyatt travelled the US interviewing practitioners of, what we can loosely term, folk magic. Hyatt compiled these interviews and the knowledge he gained from them in a huge five volume work called ‘Hoodoo – Conjuration – Witchcraft – Rootwork’.

Rather than give each interview a title, Hyatt headed them with a selection of quotations from the practitioner being questioned to give an overall impression of the dialogue therein.

In 1974 the poets Jerome Rothenberg and George Quasha published a remarkable anthology of American poetry called ‘America: a Prophecy’. Recognising the strange beauty of Hyatt’s work, they included a small selection of his ‘titles’ within the anthology.

So, here we have a folklorist’s obsession turned into found poetry.

And if you would like to have your own poetry featured on this blog then feel free to get in touch. Details can be found . . . HERE.

harry m hyatt hoodooharry m hyatt hoodooharry m hyatt hoodoo

This be the verse: 6 ~ Urban Growth – Kris Thain

We have Kris Thain in The Churchyard today with his psychogeographical poem from the edgelands, Urban Growth.

If you like your poetry deliciously bleak then you can read more of Kris Thain’s work at his own website, CLOSET POET

And if you would like to have your own poetry featured here in The Churchyard then feel free to get in touch. Details can be found . . . HERE.


kris thain, poem, urban growth


The Mystery Blogger Award

Here’s a thing that seems to be going around and the wonderful Nancy and Kathleen over at graphicnovelty2 nominated me for for it. I don’t usually go in for this sort of thing but I’m secretly gloating a bit because they have such a great blog (go and have a look, you won’t regret it) and I am feeling a bit honoured . . . and I get to talk about myself for a while, so it’s all good!

The Mystery Blogger Award was created by Okoto Enigma and is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion

Here’s the rules:

  • Display the award picture on your blog
  • Thank the person who awarded it you (cheers, both!)
  • Mention the creator of the award (done)
  • Tell your readers three things about you
  • Answer five questions from the person who nominated you
  • Nominate some other blogs you like
  • Ask those you nominate five questions of your own devising

Here’s the picture:


Three things about me:

1: I live in a small Victorian terrace house with my peculiar wife, Tanner the Border Terrier, a life-size Victorian ventriloquist dummy called Ally Sloper, a small ventriloquist dummy called Shabby Dan, an antique child mannequin called Anton with no face or arms and who speaks to us by psychic means, a carved wooden goat head called Brown Phillip, an angry crow and an even angrier weasel.


2: I once took part in an experiment at the parapsychology department at my local university. They were conducting a clairvoyance test by transmitting thoughts into the subject’s dreams and said subject had to record their dreams and take the results back into the special parapsychology lab (a back room away from the respectable bit of Academia). They were very surprised when I turned in a near 100% success rate. But not as surprised as I was.

3: I spent the majority of the 1990s on one form of hallucinogen or other.

The Five Questions

1)  Who would play you in the movie of your life?

If I was directing the film then, of course, I would have the coolest actor that ever lived to play me . . . obviously John Hurt! But, in reality, Wilfred Brambell would probably be nearer the mark.

2) Where would you go if you had a two week, all expense-paid vacation to anywhere in the world?

I’ve got to the stage in my life where I’ve realised that I don’t actually like holidays. I don’t really have anything to holiday from. Having said that, if you’d still like to pay my expenses then that would be most welcome.

3) What do you love on your pizza? What do you absolutely LOATHE on your pizza?

I would like Roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding with gravy on my pizza, hold the pizza.

I would loathe pizza on my pizza.

4) What would your dream job be if money wasn’t an issue?

Without wishing to sound too annoyingly smug, I sort of already have my dream job. Myself and my wife make stuff with our hands and people buy the stuff. Of course, this does mean that money isn’t an issue as we rarely have any.

5) Who is the person who has shaped your life significantly?

My wife, obviously. Samantha. We will have been together 26 years this year. If it wasn’t for Samantha I know that, without exaggeration or being overly melodramatic, I’d either be living in the gutter or dead in a ditch.

Now onto the people I’m nominating for The Mystery Blogger Award (for being a constant source of amazement with your asemic art) (for being one of my favourite blogs and managing to be insightful, entertaining and downright weird (which is the perfect combination) ) (for being the first blog I followed and one of the finest chaps on the internet (…and, yes, your absence has been noticed and, yes, this is an unashamed plea for your return!)

If you good people are interested in taking part in this whimsy then follow the rules at the top of the page and these are your five questions:

  1. Who would play you in the movie of your life?

  2. What scares you the most?

  3. Who or what do you love the most?

  4. What one possession would you save from a house fire?

  5. When and how would you prefer to die?

And that’s the end. Thanks again to Nancy and Kathleen over at graphicnovelty2 for nominating me.






This be the verse . . .

I think it’s time we built a new annex for The Churchyard; perhaps in that area overgrown with blackthorn; that area where no one goes; somewhere to entomb that other passion of mine, poetry. I shall be including a selection of the old and the new, from dead poets and the not yet dead.

Of course, only a certain type will be suitable for When Churchyards Yawn. I’m looking for the drear, the dark, the dismal and the disconsolate. I’m looking for the Gothic, the Weird, the Folkloric, the Esoteric and, to quote Conrad, . . . The horror! The horror!

If you’d like to send me your own work for consideration then please do, either through the contact form on this blog or email me at

Previously published work is welcome, but do let me know so that I can give credit where credit’s due.

And the title of this endeavour, ‘This be the verse’?

Perhaps it has become best known as the title of Larkin’s wonderfully misanthropic poem, but he borrowed it from Robert Louis Stevenson’s self-composed epitaph which now adorns his tomb:

Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie,
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be,
Home is the sailor, home from sea,

And the hunter home from the hill.