Michael McArthur

The May Selected Poet is Michael McArthur

Please feel free to email Michael at: ashlandsps@gmail.com



A building I walked through Near East Pages Lane,
Held echoes of suffering and misery and pain.
The graffiti etched halls whispered much to be heard,
Across oceans of time. We get fractions of words,

Cries and whispers of anguish,
Of torment and curse.
Shadows creep out of the corners and then,
As soon as you see them, they vanish again. 

They hover around you, then hide in the night,
The one thing they won’t do is hide in plain sight,
They move of their own will,
Regardless of light.

I feel their cold presence, 
But why are they here?
Are they hinting their killer,
Are they to be feared?

A dark, endless tunnel leads deep underground,
I freeze at the entrance; I don’t want to go down.
They say when the White Plague claimed another one’s life,
They left through this tunnel to be shielded from the sight
Of the other plague victims sure to lose their own fight.

The plague left you ashen,
And struggling for breath 
Before it waltzed you away 
Through that tunnel of death.

I’ve heard that the white plague has begun his return,
He’s stronger than ever…it’s got me concerned. 
The souls of building who wander its rooms 
Are they ghosts of the past or harbingers of doom?

The ghosts of White Plague,
Are returning for more,
To waltz us away 
Through that dark tunnel door.


That sulfurous smell
Is that glimpse of the hell
I felt at my last breath
Those screams of fear
I’ll make you hear 
When you lie down to rest

That doctor’s pills
Won’t cure your ills
Or grant you the slumber that you seek
You can close your eyes
But its ill-advised
Because I will not let you sleep

Nearly thirty lost
While cutting costs
To preserve your bottom line
The price we paid
Was an early grave
As we perished in that mine

That mansion home
You call your own
Is no longer your retreat 
my brothers’ screams
Will haunt your dreams
I will not let you sleep

When I worked for you
No name you knew
I was a tool or just a number
But when your eyes close 
My ghost will steal your slumber

When you feel that cold
Of this miner’s soul
Or you wondered what you've heard
It’s just my ghost
Staying oh, so close
To be sure I keep my word

It matters none 
When your day is done
Where you try find some peace
My spirit takes
Your conscience’s place
And I will not let you sleep


I walk near the Circle
That hides in plain sight
Known to only a few
Who keep this pentagram of trees
Aligned with the stars
A secret amongst ourselves

Its purpose lost to time
But you walk there too
I hear the gravel crunching
When I have stopped walking
I do not see you, but you follow me
And you watch me when I am near

I’ve no intention of ever revealing
The secrets encountered here
Are you the shadow I once saw 
Walking in the clear?
You may rest and leave me be;
The secret of the Circle is safe with me.

Although he was born near Cleveland, Ohio, Michael McArthur grew up in Lincoln County, West Virginia. The Appalachian culture, with its emphasis on family and its ties to the rugged, often forgiving land, has reinforced and shaped his character to this day.

While the natural flora and fauna were fascinating enough, the supernatural beings in the area—such as the Mothman, interstellar aliens, and especially ghosts—fueled his curiosity and creativity.  

Mike is a graduate of Guyan Valley High School and Marshall University, and lives with Debi, the love of his life, who is also an author.