Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?

On stone walls and fences near Hagley Wood
the question appears in ghostly script:
Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?

They found her in its hollowed trunk
back in ’43. Wedged inside her musty grave
to grow stiff, to slumber undiscovered,
unnoticed, unnamed.

Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?
for she didn’t climb in alone. Gagged
with a scrap of taffeta, missing tooth
and hand–until the cryptic message
no one knew her name.

In a rotting womb, so far from the light
bones become legend, for trees tell no tales.
And every few years, the same phrase appears:
Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?

– Ryan Stone

first published by Black Poppy Review, May 2017

11 thoughts on “Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?

  1. Reblogged this on Sarah Russell Poetry and commented:
    Another reblog today from Ryan Stone’s Days of Stone blog. Ryan’s poem is based on an actual event, which makes it even more eerie.

    Maybe you remember I praised the Poppy Road Review venue yesterday. This poem was published on Poppy Road’s sister site, Black Poppy Review, where poetry takes a turn toward the macabre. Click at the bottom of the poem to visit this beautiful, if chilling, collection of poems.


  2. Very neat almost like an old fairytale or legend. A wondering of a question that time does not permit people to know but curiosity is always there. Great story!

    Liked by 1 person

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