The Ashes In The Gallows

The Ashes In The Gallows

A Poem by G.C. Seguin

A priest attempts to calm a terrified town by giving them refuge in his chapel only to unveil an evil that lurks deep within.


The Ashes in the Gallows

Everyone calm down. Be composed. Be still.

No harm can come to you, so please don’t fear.

What you hear is the wind. The threat has passed.

Groans swallow the throat of this town. Let us breathe,

for you see, the lake is quiet and we are in a chapel.

All that is unholy cannot claw the walls of this haven.

Settle! Quiet! Must I prove to you that in this haven,

there is not a creature that grits its teeth? All is still.

You must remember that you are sitting inside a chapel!

He who watches us has waved away the town’s fear

for as long as this town has been standing. We breathe

and tonight, we will be reborn. Just earlier, I passed

the gallows where the witches hanged, I passed

the place farthest from your warm and holy haven

and saw the phantoms of what was to come. Breathe,

for I can promise you, their bodies were just as still

as the waters of the grey lake, the place our children fear,

but there is no such place within His arms, within this chapel.

If, by chance, you hear a growl or a scratch, this old chapel

has a phantom that you must leave at peace. She passed

many years ago, far too many, but there’s no need to fear

the poor thing. She’s an angel and she protects this haven,

so please, if you would be so kind when you sit very still,

do not become startled when you feel someone breathe.

Every night, at the stroke of the latest hour, she will breathe

on the stain-glass windows. This is her home. This chapel

is her burial ground, the only place she would rather be still

than face the hounds that gnash their teeth. Salem, I passed

and there they hanged, but not this one. She was in this haven,

but the other’s, no, they were not and they all died in fear

of my hounds that clawed them to the bone. You shan’t fear

those canines that are my gargoyles. I am the ash you breathe,

the flames that will devour this damned holy haven,

not a man, but more, enough to swallow this chapel,

the harbinger of the apocalypse. Salem, I had passed

the reaper that will ensure that you all become still.

Rest in ashes, your haven, your chapel,

and the ashes I breathe in the gallows I passed

are the residue of fear from those who there, lay still.

© 2019 G.C. Seguin

Author's Note

G.C. Seguin
This is my first stab at a sestina, so if you have any thoughts, I would love to hear them! (:

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Added on November 18, 2019
Last Updated on November 18, 2019
Tags: sestina, poem, poetry, evil, dark, religious, gothic, short, intense


G.C. Seguin
G.C. Seguin

Essex, VT

My favorite books are mostly horror novels or novels with a lot of feeling and truth. I began writing in elementary school in a little journal and haven't stopped since. Every now and then, my poems a.. more..