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The Resident Poet Pages


Cardinal Cox


In 2014, the Dracula Society Committee created the honorary post of Society "Poet in Residence".


The first incumbent was Peter "Cardinal" Cox, who is based in the city of Peterborough, and he created many original poems for us, some of which were inspired by Society events.


These works have appeared in our Society magazine Voices from the Vaults, and many of them have also been presented "live" by their author at Society events.


Please be aware that these works are the property of the author, and should not be reproduced elsewhere without permission.


To read the work of our second Poet in Residence Tina Rath click here, our third Poet in Residence Matt Thomsitt click here, and our fourth Poet in Residence Patricia Burton, click here.




On Hearing The Devereux Was Sold

[The Devereux public house was a regular Society meeting venue]


Hand pumps as Infant nativity shepherds

Draped in chequered tea towel,

Till drawer emptied and put away,

One last sweep with a balding broom

To gather up fallen dreams and aspirations.

Somewhere out back there's a box

Of lost and found love

Eyes that met in drunken celebration

But never followed up upon,

Foolishly fuelled arguments

That ended contentment,

All never claimed or retrieved.

At this table, someone once proposed

In this corner a shared medical result

Centuries of wakes and wedding

Receptions that ran together

Birthdays and anniversaries toasted no more.

From coffee shop to tavern

Where once bewigged barristers rubbed

Against inky Fleet Street elbows.

Now all that is left to do

Is to put a handwritten note

Into the window "Management regrets..."




Under London Ground


Blind boatman sinuously sculling his skiff

Under Clerkenwell towards Blackfriars

Bricks low above his bald head

Camden and King's Cross cradle his lost canal

Rags dried leaves on gaunt limbs

Between pig pits of Hamstead

To Masonic victims beneath bridge

Eyes unseeing as sewer fish below

Cursed were toshers who glimpsed him

Mudlarks avoided high tide outfall

Lest he sail out

All rivers become one beneath the earth




On the Death of Frederick Frankenstein


It's another lord this family trusts

in a sure and certain resurrection

Mausoleum lightning conductor rusts

Town folk expect call to insurrection


Bundles of Torches prepared to be lit

Farm implements sharpened ready in sheds

In the low inn stout bürgermeisters sit

All here are pensive in gossiping dread


High in the castle many let forth tears

His widow - all dressed in black - cries and moans

Rhineland region is now beset with fears

awaiting the sound of coffin lid's groan




Landscape, after Salvator Rosa

It's in the trees - it's coming...


Did Moses' lonesome bush flare through the night

Or was it the fruit that made his eyes burn?

Alone, for brutish gods a man might yearn

Instead he felt alien Aten's light


Quiet rustle of leaves in a dusk breeze

The Ash out window gives spiders birth

As night's thick blue down falls across the Earth

We withdraw from the company of trees


Savages saw their gods as full of wrath

Priests preach that their god of love supports war

Wise man pronounce there is no god at all


Our world is but a speck on oceans' froth

Wild places are terrible - fill with awe

From bare dead tree comes the crow's rasping call




Black Pilgrimage


There are some places linked in people's minds,

Tainted with legends of acts strange and wild,

Things threatened to the misbehaving child

And such sights as might turn a grown man blind.


Yet some fell people search these places out

Plan and journey to the damnable spot

Where even a horse might refuse to trot

And the pilgrim must never harbour doubt


Bocken's high peak on April's final night

That righteous folk regard as rightly banned.

Noxious caves that spiral down to dark hells


Where few have witnessed some devilish rite.

Black basalt Chorazin in desert sand.

From beneath the sea comes the sound of bells.






Tip-offs from some tap-tap table rapper

P.C. who once cuffed phantom hitchhiker

Panda car that stopped a headless biker

Hotline to the city's oldest flapper


Capital map marks Dock Green and Sun Hill

The plague pit under Walford's Albert Square

Hobbs Lane tube line that leads no-one knows where

Coloured pins that point to statues that kill


Just six politicians on their watch list

Werewolves have been heard to howl in Hyde Park

Photo's in a file of the Highgate case


Black museum of things that shouldn't exist

Foul fiends that stowed away on Noah's Ark

Their London is a mysterious place




Dream that my Little Baby came to Life Again


Only cold, we rubbed it by the fire

It lived - I awake and find no baby

Life, death, but what of the between? Maybe

We could one day all forgo the pyre


I think about the little thing all day

Oh, to have children without the fears

Exist beyond our allotted years

The Bible tells us we are born of clay


Mothers know we are born of blood and waste

Frog legs can twitch under electric spark

Ships cross the sea, balloons ascend the sky


Yet in weak mortal flesh our fate is placed

Lightning-bolt can illuminate the dark

One-day science may grant we'll never die




Granny was as much Afraid of Ghosts as Any


When she entered through a low door

Saw standing by the kitchen fire

A thing upon the cold flagged floor


Draped in ancient ragged attire

In its slack jaw a silent tongue

For centuries past it did expire


Its eyes were black, its hands were wrung

This hellish thing had long since bled

About its neck some rope was hung


Oh the strange fiend filled her with dread

But to the shade who loomed so black

She stood up straight and loudly said


"I know you've come from some foul crack

Now get you gone and don't come back"




The Infidels


Midnight upon the plain about Ephesus where

Ruins of all ages lay scattered in the dust

While foul small winged things flit through the thickening air

And hopes, like a Turkish scimitar, start to rust.

Friends fearful of being taken to bandits' lair

Or succumbing to some casual unhealthy lust.

A wandering holy man happens upon them

Prayers, then offers prophecies the pair condemn


Lord and heir, friends since the Dark College of their youth

this was to have been their own amorous Grand Tour

In search of Dianic Temple and pagan truth

While Europe stews in revolutionary war.

Now confronted by this seer, unwashed, uncouth

Whose mad ravings hold them both in enraptured awe.

To one he curses Greece, blood and undying fame

To other he promises footnotes for his name.




A Very English Devil


Suburban Satanists start orgy with sherry

Amongst rosebushes - statue to Baphomet found

Meet at full-moon midnight upon the cricket ground

Divesting themselves of tweed as they get merry


Takes some bally Frenchman to frown upon their rites

To hire a darn exorcist against their worship

And, you know old chap, it really does take the pip

The nerve of him disturbing their midsummer nights


Doesn't he know we spent our youth at public school?

A bit of ritual spanking is nothing new

And if we must sacrifice some sweet chambermaid


Well you do have to follow each infernal rule

After dinner, in every beech-lined avenue

There are some who taste what other coves have forbade




Dance the Paddington Polka


Cruel dance master kicks away the chairs

To make us sinners jig on London airs

We line up in our best on Tyburn Hill

Expect us to dance whether fit or ill

City is here to see us give a jig

Thieves, priests, lords with wives, judges in their wig

Before my turn I can address the crowd

Over the hubbub have to be quite loud


Dance the Paddington Polka

Dance the Paddington Polka

Quick upon the wooden stage

Dance the Paddington Polka


Thank family, farewell to pretty whores

Wish soldiers and sailors well in the wars

Hands busy, dance master adjusts my tie

If I were improperly dressed I'd die

The music they have is rough, composed of drums

There is hardly any tune you could hum

I give a bow, a bounce and then I dance

Crowd roars at this my last impressing chance


Dance the Paddington Polka

Dance the Paddington Polka

Quick upon the wooden stage

Dance the Paddington Polka




Dinner at the Diogenese Club


So gather here all of the unseen government

The silent room fills with thick pungent cigar smoke

They eat their banquet but never a word is spoke

Between those who've profited by strange accident


The secret financiers and the spymasters

Ex-generals, professors and a commodore

They communicate with serviette semaphore

These engineers of so many a disaster


Menus encoded with acrostic messages

A choice of squid boiled in invisible ink

Or carrier pigeon (still with its message) pie


they practice diffusing the plump pork sausages

and check for curious sediments in their drink

While plotting which territories to occupy




The Old Devil Inn


Ben Johnson sat in Apollo's blessed dance room

At inn where St. Dunstan held devil by the nose

All the bucks of the city in doublet and hose

While contemplating on Will Shakespeare in his tomb


Close where Templars once had priory of their own

Years gone since were accused of blasphemies and sin

And such sorceries worthy of ancient Merlin

'Tis said the initiates were a devil shown


Rules penned covered food and drink, men and women both

Silence to secrets, that gold should be in a purse

Keep no malice and contests not of fists but words


This very printers' devil of wayzeegoose oath

Here once royal Laureates rehearsed their court verse

Such was the music and song of the city birds




Temple Bar


Where once infamous traitors' heads stared blindly down

Rebuilt by Wren after the City's great fire

Piled wagons though might wish arches were higher

Ancient gate between Westminster and London town


Great wooden doors hung molding on iron hinges

In room over, Tellson's Bank held aging files

Accounting for gold and money kept in piles

So it always sat upon the City's fringes


Good aldermen decided it should be removed

The bank wrote to its many foreign investors

Explaining institutions reduction of space


And so the burghers thought Fleet Street could be improved

Certain Balkan noble became the suggester

Statue of mighty dragon could the Bar replace




Mrs. Salmon's Waxworks


Above the toyshop of puppet and bat

First and second floors of persons well known

Mrs. Salmon's slight skills were plainly shown

But, they whispered, there was more beyond that


You paid the scowling staff a shilling more

Towards the attic you climbed steep-set stairs

Heart beating hard for what might be in there

And so you reached the poor uppermost floor


Here then a tableau of local terror

Barber with silver razor dripping blood

And his mistress preparing strange meat pies


Oh no, oh no, there could be no error

In this ancient city of King Lud

Sweeney Todd's sins set out before your eyes




St. Dunstan's Giants


Ringing the great bell four times an hour

Cousins to the Guildhall's more famous pair

Simpler though - without Corporation airs

Their home always within the church tower


Late morning will attract the tourist crowd

Amongst the throng move nimble cutpurses

Much later the victim lets forth curses

Even if the bell's tone was not so loud


Brought from Cornwall after the Great Fire

They are heroes of the Liberty's streets

Strange proof of evolution's expansion


Never invited to join the choir

In taverns they brag of the couple's feats

Retired to Hertford's Regents Park house




Kiss of the Pale-Faced Lady


She watches from between dark forest trees

Magyar rise against the Austrian crown

Romanians hate Germans in their towns

She can hear the liberated serfs' pleas


Grim Székelys relive their own past

Burn villages, ride hard, slaughter the poor

Claiming they support Imperial law

Alone she welcomes those of every caste


She comes from the mountains for huddled sick

Her hand extends to the mass without food

So close she might inhale their foetid breath


She offers sweet sleep, those with wounds she'll lick

Morning finds them alone, cooling and chewed

For hers is the freezing embrace of death




Devil Doctor's Diagnosis and Prescription


Our only wish is that we would be free

We've watched foreign powers divide our lands

We are now tired of the heavy hands

We would determine our own destiny


Palaces looted as India fell

Coolies shipped to America to slave

On railway tracks to lay and streets to pave

Opium turned my China to a hell


I have five thousand years to draw upon

Science doesn't know of every toxin

My plots are many and my reach is far


Dream of the day when westerners are gone

I've thugee and dacoits, experts in sin

Beware the rising of my eastern star






Our pasts hidden as memories in an attic

I don't refer to some youthful indiscretions

Or a pale lip-licking priest's longed for confession

And our gross anatomy of flesh is plastic


Darwinian avatar, drawn from history

Brows heavy, nose short, also rough hair wraps strong limbs

Fine folk in suits or bustled skirt think my face grim

I am though proof of evolution's mystery


Teeth large within my heavy jaw as the top male

I am as an animal free from false morals

Hansom horses shy, they know me as predator


The hypocrite refined doctor my proper gaol

In city I'm as shark swimming over coral

The only woman who would touch me is a whore




Lake Geneva Shoreline


Storm clouds ruin crops. What war has

not destroyed weather will. Moon breaks

through clouds to illuminate dreams,

shadow trees are not what they seem.

Harvests fail and cattle fall ill


Monk Lewis reads ghost tales to the

outcasts. Geraldine stalks spectres

of dead babies. Stories filled with

what-ifs and maybes. While life is

small death is vast.


Skull-headed maid peeps through villa's

locks. Greek corpses continue to

struggle against Turk. Reflected

doppelgangers in lake.


Foul portents, deadly shocks. Day is

wrapped in twilight's murk. Destiny

has a strange road to take.




Castle Ferenczy, East of Rakus


"...happy is the tomb where no wizard hath lain

and happy the town at night whose wizards are all ashes."


"Do not call up any that you cannot put down"

From RNA salts and queer morphogenic field

Yog-Sothoth incantation produces strange yield

Locked shutters and doors you'll find at night in that town


These images you do not want before your eye

from forbidden knowledge that is jealously kept

Come creatures who in graves have long centuries slept

'Tis written "In strange aeons even death may die"


Oldest New Englander remembers Salem's trials

So know that which is trapped might unhappily sleep

Consult holy men for wisest of views


There are curious chemicals in ancient vials

But beware into innocent dreams foul things creep

Acid, not fire, a valiant scourge must use.






It comes

Foul fiend scuttles out of the fens

This dweller within damnations darkness

The raging oath-broken ogre

A haggard horror enters the mead hall

And soldiers are slain while they sleep


Fog cloaked

Scaled skinned

sword shatterer


Dagger toothed

Shield splitter

Spear shrugger


Fetid breathed

Water wrestler

Shadow creeper


Pit liver

Out dweller

Thane eater




Back Before Video


Was late Friday nights on BBC2

Some classic films shown in a double-bill

And both guaranteed to give you a chill

Too young to go out, what else could we do?


Moody black and white or garish colour

sitting alone with the sound turned right down

And your mates did the same all over town

So you became a horror film lover


House of the Wolfman and the Creature's Bride

The hunter was duped, a maiden was caught

in final reel the monster knows defeat


A Deadly Legacy of Mr. Hyde

Tension rises until you were so fraught

Next week, cast and viewer would again meet.




Countess Dolingen of Gratz


Her love, rode against Napoleon, died

A hussar resplendent in uniform

She waved him off and wore his cloak so warm

Was silent when news came to the young bride


Into forest she rides wearing red cape

At her bare trees stretch and low branches snatch

She becomes a thing only night would catch

It seems that her fate she will not escape


Tales of village where dead are unquiet

A great grey wolf prowls between twilight trees

So in that empty place she found her doom


Such stories could bring a town to riot

There are things that only the lone owl sees

But she's restless within white marble tomb.



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1973 - 2023