⌗WEP-IWSG Challenge, UNMASKED: Trilogy of narrative poems

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Quote of the Day : 
L’humanité qui devrait avoir 6000 ans d’expérience, retombe en enfance à chaque génération.  Tristan Bernard (French playwright and novelist, 1866-1947)

Man who should have accumulated 6000 years of experience, falls back into childhood at every new generation.

It’s time for another Write Edit Publish Challenge of 2020, writing on a word and picture prompt with the Insecure Writers’ Support Group.
If you’d like to know more about WEP and IWSG,  or join the Challenge 


IWSG in the 100 best blogging sites

The WEP site

The joint WEP-IWSG Challenge 2020

Announcing the 2021 Challenge

This Month

A third narrative poem to complete my trilogy


The Banker

His long coat swishes across the macadam.
The gaslit streetlights throw the shadow
of a Stetson onto the lovers’ bench.
They gaze up and see the deep scar;

it forms a curve, a coma, like a tear
frozen at the corner of his eye.
His iris is contracted as if from an intense
glare. She gasps in surprise.

They scuttle off towards the cover of the trees;
he swooshes on his way, disappears
round a brick corner. A cat shrieks
from a trash can in a dead end.

A whore whistles a walk down the alley
and smiles absently at the tall, bizarre hat
and cloaked passerby. She recoils
on glimpsing his face.

The man approaches the unlit bank;
he leans against the stone wall
and lights a cigar, pulling
his watch from his pocket. He waits.

When Mr Hacklebaum locks the side-door,
the mysterious stranger steps closer.
As they brush shoulders, the man
swipes a blade across the banker’s throat.

The moon grins at the scene,
casts long shadows over the pavement,
the bench, the wood. The murderer
slunks into the night, coat flapping.
FCA 185 words.

Grave Mistake , a narrative poem, following on from Long Shadow in August. read here
on WordPress here

Grave Mistake
Leaves tugged on slashing branches,

flew over the stones and settled on

her lace-up boots. She bowed her head,

a tear trickled down her nose, joined

the rivulets of rain cruising the crease

between cheek and mouth.

Burnt grass from August heat was bright

green, now, in the damp, cool air.

She glanced behind her slumped

shoulder towards a crisp crackle

to her left. A long shadow blocked out the failing light.

The felt hat covered head advanced

to her father’s last resting place.

His long cloak swished, his boots

sloshed in sodden mud. His mouth

whispered in the wind

” It was a grave mistake, what your

banker father did. I was only the arm

executing.” She jerked her head,

saw the curved scar, ” Who are you ?”

The man fell silent, as though

he had never spoken; eyed

the stone. To the Memory of an Honest, 

Loving father and Husband.” Honest ,

he was not; thought he could

double-cross the boss: grave mistake,

grave mistake.” She felt a pang of anger

mingle with the pain in her breast.

Her fist clenched upwards, hammered

down on his chest: ” What are you talking about ?””

The truth, Milady, the truth. No escape,no reproof.”

She screamed in his dark face,

she trampled the soil. He caught

her wrists and shushed her brow

against his heart. He was a good man, 

a loving grandfather, she thought;

but where did all the money come from ?



He sat in the shiny pew

freshly waxed cedar wood;

his breast was pumping up

the courage to speak all.

His head turned left, his gaze

met the sparkling eyes

of Anna, by his side every step,

every twist, rise or fall.

Roger chirped, his stubby legs

swung in thin air. “You’re not a bird,”

stern-faced Megan shot

at her brother.

The parish church was slowly

crowding. The scarred-faced

father tensed his fists, as

momentum gathered.

Even his family knew nothing

of his double life. The encounter

at the graveyard had opened

a door to atonement.

The possibility had grown

in his thoughts, then in his guts.

Christmas Mass loomed as an ideal

venue to unmask his true self.

From the organ rose Bach;

from the aisle, the last rustle

of coats, bonnets, gloves, died.

Reverend Bates spread his palms.

Our killer dwelt on his words:

gather, forgive, sin, hope, redeem.

His wife and children performed

the Psalms, sang the carols.

He patiently awaited his cue.

Reverend Bates, forewarned,

had left a space of time

for him to come forward.

Face to face with his peers,

his family, eager 

or surprised expressions 

of the community, he spoke.

“My dear friends, I stand before you,

contrite and in shame for my

wrong doings. I am a hired assassin.

My clients lose their lives at my hand.”

The crowd gasped; his wife cried out,

his son wept, Megan scowled, tears

of anger firing her pupils. He recalled

the features of the Banker’s daughter.

He had done it.

Uncovered, unmasked.

He braced himself for the quake

of rebuke, scorn to come.

The assembly grew misty; he felt

a warm wetness invade the crevasse

of his scar. It rolled down and gathered

in rivulets; he tasted salt on his lip.

A faraway scent caught in his throat:

the odour of guilt, peeing his bed

at the orphanage. As a long shadow

settled across the transept,

he realised his grave mistake

at standing unmasked, bare.


A breeze carried the scent

of the Christmas tree

beyond the window, 

the rooftops, to flocking swifts.

Lights winked at sparkling baubles

while the Snowman grins

at his reflection. Clouds gather,

a promise of silent flakes.

Song for a Guy tickles my tear

ducks as my hubby potters

among the kitchen cupboards,

market goods home.

May your family time

be merry and warm,

close to the crackle of fire,

the canapés spread.

And a shiny New Year

sweep under the worn

carpet, all your

troubles and woes.

Thank you for visiting.

Jingle Bell Rock


11 thoughts on “⌗WEP-IWSG Challenge, UNMASKED: Trilogy of narrative poems

  1. Oh boy Susan, I was sweating along with him. Quite the redemptive act. I actually felt very sorry for him going unmasked in public. A strong final entry. Thank you for posting for our unstructured UNMASKED challenge. Love your loyalty!

    Happy holidays! Looking forward to continued interactions in the year 2021!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your poetry always intrigues me and draws me in. Unmasking oneself in such a way has to be frightening, but in his case, I can see it was necessary for him to find some sense of peace, if such a thing is possible. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Igkeltner. Sorry for the delay in replying. Glad you enjoyed the trilogy. New poem published on Bandit Fiction.com, Read More section poetry. Trapped by the Undertow, May 1st, if you would like to check it out… Hoping you are well, all the best in your own writing.


  3. Hi Susan – that was some unmasking to put it mildly … most unexpected. Well done … I’m just glad it’s not my family. Take care and the best for 2021 – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

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