Riders in the Night

Outside, in the distance
a wild cat did growl
two riders were approaching
the wind began to howl. -Bob Dylan

Hoofbeats on the tundra!
Beneath a mage’s moon
she draws her shutters closely,
prays morning finds her soon.

Thunder shatters silence,
a rapping at her door
tears the night asunder–
a mountain cat’s wild roar.

All along the cornflower
rows, shadows dance with glee,
seeking answers in the wind
howling by a lone oak tree.

Dawn finds an empty homestead–
bleeds in through broken panes,
across spilled dill an’ fennel
and spattered, rusty stains.

Ryan Stone

first published by Poppy Road Review, August 2017

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

Poem published at Black Poppy Review

Black Poppy Review is my favourite place to find poetry of a darker nature.

Sandy has amassed a superb collection of writing exploring themes of horror, the supernatural, gothic, dark fairy tales, ghosts and many other disturbing things.

Today I’m excited to have a new poem published in the journal – Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?

Please have a look and let me know your thoughts. It’s a wonderful, creepy journal and well-worth exploring.




Murder in Melbourne

In the Kings Domain,
while roses weep,
homeless hands invade
pale flesh, stain a sleeping city

Winter’s rime freezes
as quickly as it spills –
dismissed by ghostly walkers
who see consent
within the brume.

Tattered thoughts flee,
scatter on a breeze
like leaves spilled
over dewed grass. A moan,
a sigh, the frenzied grind
of stained denim
on lace.

Ryan Stone


Witness Interview

On his first visit
we sat silent for a time
before he asked if all things go to heaven.
I told him good people go to heaven
and his mother had been good.

The next time
he asked right away
how his mother flew to heaven
without wings.
I said that angels lift us up
when we cannot fly.

Our last visit was short.
His mother liked butterflies
so he’d sent her a few, he told me.
First he ripped off their wings —
unneeded things — then burned them
like he’d seen his dad do.

Ryan Stone


The Darkest Night

The mind has many defences, she wrote
in her award-winning essay. Glowing,
she stood in front of her school;
movie tickets her prize.

Painted in shades between girl and woman
she kissed me goodbye with bright red lips
and joined her friends in line.

The mind has many defences, she wrote.
Maybe that’s why, in police reports,
many claimed they’d heard fireworks.
Odd in a cinema; the alternative
too grim to believe.

– Ryan Stone

First published in Poppy Road Review, February 2016


A Murder of Crows

Dusk is the time, all mottled
and thin, when her blank eyes rise
to stare in a way I know
they cannot. Six feet of soil
covers a secret; daisies
tell of old plots. A grave smile
worms its way, twisting through thought;
a knife blade biting cold flesh,
slicing through the haze of years
to an olive grove in shade.
Such raucous cries, a murder
of crows circling, disguise a
demise in vines far below.

Ryan Stone

First published in Black Poppy Review May, 2015