The Spooker

Spooker, (noun)
'A writer whose imagination concerns itself with supernatural phenomena, especially the doings of spooks.' 
From The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce, circa 1911

As a ghost hunter and a writer, I believe that qualifies me as a Spooker.


Halloween on Hellingly’s Ciric (Hellingly Village, East Sussex)


A 'ciric' is a circular Celtic burial ground built above ground level to protect the dead from getting wet.

I saw an old man lean over

The weathered stone

And whisper to the lichen

In the dying sparks of the sun

“Tonight, my love.”


I turned as the whisper

Caught in my ear,

Became a cacophony

Of assent

Drowning the wind and

The nervous chattering of my mind


I sat for, I don’t know how long

I could no longer feel my legs

Or my hands, nor even my nose

But the stirring beneath Hellingly’s ciric

Kept me bound to my bench


And I waited and watched

Golden leaves fell, whipped then wallowed

Like lost souls

Mulch underfoot

As the cottage lights diminished





And then the snail-paced march

Of the wizened wise

Steadying sticks in hand

Ready to receive

Lost loves and ancient relations

As I surveyed, frozen, unseen

On Halloween.

Most Haunted! (Michelham Priory, Sussex)

Misty breaths in spectral-puffs

Invade the crisp night air

Torchlight feeds the darkness -

- eerie shadows, flickers, then dies

Despite three, brand-new batteries


Cold-comfort is the icy form that melds

With mine, caressing by the empty cradle

When judged against the darkened force

Oppressive, aggressive, resistant

Nonexistent to all, by the tall cabinet


And who would cry upon the stairs

For the simple matter of climbing the stairs

To find upon reaching their peak

The deepest pit of despair

In thin air, nothing there, but the past


Then a door opens, silently, unexpectedly

Repeatedly, when gently coaxed

While all remnants of warmth ooze from the room

Degree by degree, ten in all

Inexplicable, but measurable


Walls whisper, gravel crunches underfoot


I go

In Search of Ghosts (Battle Abbey and Mrs Burton's Tea Rooms)

I came to search for ghosts

Escape the kids
And sip tea
Under ancient timber and hefty stone
Leaded, diamond panes
Serenaded by pop
Protected from witches
By window-frame circles
In a draughty, ghoul-ridden
Creaking hall
With stairs that go nowhere
Perhaps for the spooks
To enter and leave
Their remnants of life

Closed to the paying public


A crow counts the dead
Loudly on Senlac Ridge
Is silenced
By an onslaught of children
Their pitch
More piercing than a battle cry
Unimpressed by the past
Histrionics over history
As soldiers clatter
Silently by
Companion horses clomp
Unsynchronized, wounded
Ignore the future
They cannot see

While a small dog yaps at thin air


The Victorian Woman? (Royal Hippodrome Theatre, Eastbourne)

A formless outline

Of a former time

Lurks in the gods

At odds

With the scenes

And electric screens

Mourning the stage

Of her vaudeville age

Haunting the air

With heady despair

Constantly there

Ready to scare

Your wandering gaze

On performance days

The Harbinger of Glottenham (Glottenham Castle ruins, Robertsbridge)


The coming of a speeding coach

A squid-ink-black soundless approach

Hidden hop-pickers bathed in sweat

Ignore the horror’s swift beset

The Castle’s future days approach


The Lady’s envoi braves to broach

So slogs his legs up Glott’nham’s slope

To tell his mistress he regrets

The coming of the speeding coach


As sliding planes of time encroach

The Lady paces round her moat

Her ghostly spectre paid her debt

And now another’s time is set

The harbinger who brings no hope

The coming of death’s speeding coach


[This poem is in octosyllabic rondeau form]

All poems copyright © Diny van Kleeff 2019
Not to be used or reproduced without written permission from the author

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