Saturday, May 4, 2013


Keeping my distance,
sitting calmly outside
in the dark
on the porch
picking at my nails
running fingers through my hair
fighting an urge to eat
when I heard again
through the window
the story,
our old myth
told in the small, stuffy kitchen
a few sitting around the wobbly table
others leaning against the dated wallpaper

Teta, wrinkled, small,
with a slight five-o-clock shadow
commanded the room
breathed the legend out
in wispy stutters

     ...Her voice merges with my thoughts,
     there is no difference
     but for my perspective
     having lived and heard the myth
     since my birth...

Our people, descended from the
Kingdom of Illyria
crossed the waters and their fears
not for freedom from oppression
   - no war so great the the world was invited
     to attend, had spewed its curse yet -
but to flee the small village
our own had named
as home for untold time,
myths being persuasive in
our culture

Volkodlak had returned

our ancient wolf-skinned man
left tufts of bristling hair in the pew
the vivid corpse eviscerated
in the ancient chapel
where crusaders
said their final prayers
before never coming back
from the land of Saracens...

Legend does not leave so much evidence
eh, Teta croaked

...wagons were loaded
deep rutted roads
led down the Adriatic coast
to harbors
with haste arranged

Mati was young, single
and scandalous
swollen with child
a pretty peasant
on a slow
undulating voyage
barely into her adventure
     Cries in muffled echoes of steerage
     ...I hear them

     This world brought my life and
     took hers -
     a perverse exchange...

Uniforms slid her sheet-less body
over the side
in the dark
her prayers
making the bigger splash
as the void
swallowed them whole

     ...Teta and Stric wrapped me,
     fitted a bonnet of sorts over my
     unusual thick bristled hair, and
     I came to this land as
     their own...

     (I dozed through this portion, having a violent, vivid dream)

Teta wound her words to an end as
she shook the last of the slivovice from
the bottle on to her tongue.

     It is late and there is no need for a full moon

     ...I stir,
     chuckling at the irony
     of my people bringing more than their culture
     to these shores.
     Unknowing and eager
     they brought the myth
     that never dies...

©Eusebeia Philos 2013

Slovenes tell the tale of Volkodlak, a wolf-man who transforms to hunt at night. So, go ahead, take your chance. Even if you manage to kill one, it will resurrect as a vampire, this time with the ability to transform to a wolf-man at will. They don't die easily by natural causes, and live as immortals unless killed in the usual, special ways. It was said the wearing of a wolf skin could turn one into a Volkodlak. Sometimes one was born as a Volkodlak, with the evidence being a baby with a head of wolf hair.

Slovene Translations:
Teta = Aunt
Stric = Uncle
Mati = Mother
Slivovice = a strong plum brandy

See Mythical Creatures List: Volkodlak

The dVerse Poets Pub doors swing open, myths and legends walk in with Fred, and another Poetics session begins.


  1. fascinating...first i love the old monsters...much more than the modern, and wolf man for sure is a great have given the story so much reality as well...personalizing a bit...the attention to detail is superb...the ruts in the road...very visual stuff and you did not overplay the gruesome write man...

    1. Thanks, Brian. I'm not into the gruesome, just the suggestion of it is enough for me.

  2. very very how you weave the story and that it starts with you sitting on the porch...makes it even more effective...and also love the details like the aunt's slight five-o-clock shadow... so col

    1. Yeah, that aunt was my favorite uncle. Thanks, Claudia.

  3. this is fantastic, both the creature itself, and how you used it in such a novel manner, in effect creating your own tale in the process. Love how the poem starts, the way the night, the nature about, sparked a the recall of the myth, where in this moment the myth merged with reality. Love that. Thanks

    1. Hey, Fred. Appreciate that. Glad you enjoyed it.

  4. This was extremely captivating, mingle myth an reality.

    1. I wonder, Bjorn, if myth and reality aren't just different ends of the same truth. Thank you.

  5. What a wonderfully told tale - love the characters and what a scary story! K

    1. It wouldn't be good without a little scare. Hah. Thanks.

  6. An interesting story, some myths lived on from one generation to the next ~

    1. Oh, for sure. A good myth has to get handed down, especially a living myth. Thanks, Grace.

  7. Sounds a bit like Vodka. It can create a monster that roams at night, you know.

    1. Oh, that's right. And with a hard bite, too. Thanks, Laurie.

  8. How well you tell the story! And what a story! I have a feeling the bracketed notes interrupt the flow a little, and maybe would be better as footnotes?

    1. Hello, and thank you so much for your observations. I might see how that works. I was aware of them, intentional, so it would appear the narrator was translating the unknown terms for the listener. I hadn't thought of footnotes, though. Thanks.

  9. I just love the feeling this gave me: there's the thought of the scary creature, and yet the description of the myth telling gives such a warm feel. I suppose it is the security of knowing that a community will look after each other in the face of danger. Lovely write : )

    1. What a neat way to look it, Rowan. Thank you. There is security in community.

  10. A wolf-man who, when killed, is resurrected as a vampire? This is definitely horrific source material you're working with, and the way you present it is intriguing to the extreme. Well-crafted, well-told.

    1. I know, it's crazy, isn't it? I knew alot about my ancestoral culture but not about Volkodlak. Thank you, Samuel.

  11. I, TOO, LIKE THE 4 O'CLOCK SHADOW ;-) You carried me right along with your tale.

    1. Yeah, they grew 'em tough in the day. Thanks, kkkkaty.

  12. An entrancing depiction of the reality of myth in out lives as well as the power of stories. It is chilling to remember that the past is always with us, and its power to shape lives so important to remember.

    1. I love the old stories as a way of knowing where we came from. Thanks, Charles.

  13. ...interesting tale to know more about... i just loved your description of Mati as being young & scandalous... that alone adds quality of effectiveness on emotion concerning fear & tension that people felt during those times... i, too, feel interrupted with the bracketed words though it helped a lot for us to easily get the unfamiliar words... a great re-telling i say... smiles...

    1. Thanks, Kelvin. I did take the advice of several and revised the poem, along with adding clues to make my intent more clear. It should read slightly differently now.

  14. I love this old myth, has the old world charm which I love, also the sitting around telling to old tale, that's half the magic of the myth in the telling and handing down of stories. Wonderfully told!

  15. Replies
    1. Yes, that's what makes them appeal to an ancient side of ourselves. Thanks, Vandana.


  16. Garlic and stabbing them with a crucifix is the traditional way of killing these monsters,I believe.Goodluck !:)

    Cressida de Nova

    1. Hah. I'm not getting close enough to try, Cressida. I'll leave that to the professional hunters. Better to tell the tale and live. :)

  17. Replies
    1. Thank you, Chris. I hope the slight revision of a few things will make it better.

  18. A great evocation of the darkness facing our ancestors, the lack of vision...the brutal world and the courage it took to survive.