The Horror Zine
Ardath Mayhar

Ardath Mayhar is our January 2010 Guest Poet

You can email Ardath at:

Ardath Mayhar


Sad is the music
of hollow-bone flute
tootled at evening
by cypress-root.

Mournful are tunes that
the phantom folk play,
straying in shadow
at end of day.

Haunting are songs hummed
in swamp-lily deeps
by peepers and croakers
while the world sleeps.

Eery through marsh-mist
wavers the tune
crooned in damp coverts
when there's no moon.


Pale glimmers of motion trouble these gardens,
their shapes indistinct gray on gray;
pools widen in ripples and rings that whisper outward
where frogs leap and minnows flirt
and water snakes make v-headed undulations.

Those who walk there are tenuous;
their voices flutter on the edge of hearing,
their steps crackle among pebbles,
and their words murmur
within the spirits of any who watch.

Walls lie in ruins, white stone splintering with age;
the walks are overgrown with  myrtle;
pools fringed with weed and laced with algae
gleam black in the moonlight;
the sundial is set  at an impossible angle and time.

This is a secret place,
lost from the world of sun and brisk wind,
the eyes of busy people who have no time for dreams;
here the breeze is quiet in its elusive passage,
and even the wild birds call secretly.

Here we met, our hearts too young to understand peril;
immaturity was protection
from those who walk these broken paths,
speaking in lost languages of matters
long forgotten by the world beyond the walls.

Secure in the haven of ourselves,
we saw no shadows walk, heard no ghostly voices,
felt no vaporous grasp at our elbows;
yet now, comprehending danger and death,
I sit on a shattered slab
and understand.


I walk into death
down  sun-warmed days,
noting things glorious,
things grim
as I pass.

I walk to death
down dream-witched nights,
gleaning strange harvests
of moon and star
in dark fields.

I walk with death,
and would not turn away
if I could.


Sharp in frozen twilight
black peaks wait;
mute rocks, chilled
past memory of wind,
loom like alien music,
filing sterile air
with cold, unheard lament.

Insulated, unbelonging, I watch
as three ghost-moons
dance up purple sky
a pavane of ice and silence,
and spirits of lost winds
grieve at the edge of hearing,
and black peaks wait
for the unreturning.


Chill wind harps gray stone;
gray waves crash,
and riding the wrack a lone gull
faces the sea,
treading air,
guarding bleak shores
from storm.

Wind cries over cairns,
spray and sand
write intangible, bitter things
as waves slide between rocks,
upon the foam-flecked beach
unreadable hieroglyphs.

Cry lone
across gray sky,
heaving waters, wounding wind,
a staunch and single gull.









Ardath Mayhar was born a poet, writing verse as soon as she could hold a pencil. Not until she neared the age of forty did she begin writing novels, which a this point number over sixty, most of them now being reprinted by Borgo Press, an imprint of Wildside Press.

Dozens of her verses have been published by magazines as diverse as The Lyric and Fantasy Book,  though once she began marketing novels and short stories, she let her poetry slide. Now  nearing the age of eighty, she lives alone in the woods of East Texas, supervised by six cats and an array of opossums, raccoons, coyotes, and other wild creatures.

Ardath Mayhar and her friend, The Horror Zine's December 2009 Guest Poet Joe R. Lansdale, have been named Toastmaster and Author Emeritus, respectively, by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America for the 2008 Nebula Awards Weekend in Austin, Texas. See details at this link:

Please feel free to see the entire collection of Ardath Mayhar's books at: