Wee Willie Winkie

Millicent Sowerby Wee Willie Winkie 



Wee Willie Winkie


Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
Upstairs and downstairs, in his nightgown.
Rapping at the window, crying through the lock,
“Are the children all in beds? Now it’s eight o’clock.”
                              ~ Scottish Nursery Rhyme

So it’s true. I am in a new town.
I’m as small as it gets,
and getting smaller by the minute.
People who live here are giants.
I might as well dwell
in Brobdingnag.

All night I run around in my sleep.
I dare not dream. I fear the end
of those dreams, where a staircase
suddenly tilts sidewise, the steps
melting under my feet like butter.
Someone else is always there
with me—a wisp, a reflection,
my own shadow, perhaps,
sliding down a pole, dressed
like a firefighter. He is unharmed.

I keep my eyes closed, but I see
anyway, things I cannot unsee.
Your bruised face, for example, the one
you hide under the blanket.
Your red eyes, watching my shadow
sprint across the wall, chase
the car lights, get sucked
into the keyhole. God, I hate
being so small. I hate growing up.

This nightgown is all I’ve got.
It’s pink, which makes me
vulnerable. I am one of the lost boys.
I could be your runaway child,
your unborn twin.
Hear me shriek into the night
and open the door. Hear me
whisper your name
and let me in. Hear me breathe
right here, next to your ear.

You can open your eyes now.



Writing prompt courtesy of Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, where Kerry offers the following challenge: “Write a poem which incorporates elements of Spec Fic in a narrative, descriptive or ideological way.” Spec Fic stands for Speculative Fiction, “an umbrella genre encompassing narrative fiction with supernatural or futuristic elements. This includes, but is not limited to, science fiction, fantasy, superhero fiction, science fantasy, horror, utopian and dystopian fiction, supernatural fiction as well as their combinations.”

I dusted an old draft that hasn’t seen the light of day in at least a decade and made it considerably creepier. Now it gives me the heebie-jeebies. I’ll check the lock twice before going to bed.


19 thoughts on “Wee Willie Winkie

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  1. I am one of the lost boys.
    I could be your runaway child,
    your unborn twin….

    This gives me pause for thought. i remember clearly how terrified my young daughter was of Wee Willie Winky peeping at her through the window

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wrote the first draft when my children were small. I remember being struck by how frightening WWW might appear to a small child. When I was little, Romanian parents used to threaten their children with Bau-Bau, this amorphous entity coming to steal disobedient kids. WWW is slightly more human-looking but equally terrifying!


  2. the lost boys quote gets me (my son I always liken to Peter Pan) and when I watch horror movies – the ghosts of little children (or pretending to be children) always terrify me!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like that you have written this from WWW’s perspective as I guess as a child we don’t realise his terror, only our own as he desperately tries to invade our safe little world.
    Children’s rhymes and stories were often very spooky and I didn’t relate same to my little’uns, as I remember the fear caused in me.
    Your words are spooky – well done.
    Anna :o]

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Daca asa simti, nu e important daca ai dreptate. Cand citim versurile cuiva, intentia autorului conteaza mai putin decat intelegerea noastra (cu exceptia cazurilor in care sucim pe dos intelesul unei poezii–si tu nu o faci). Poezia asta am scris-o cu multi, multi ani in urma, pe cand copilul meu interior nu dormea noptile si avea grija permanenta de doi copii exteriori (adica inafara trupului, caci la nivel spiritual inca mai fac parte din mine).


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