OctPoWriMo Day 26: The 90-Second Fear Ride

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Hello, and welcome to OctPoWriMo, Day Twenty-Six!

What’s OctPoWriMo, you ask? Well, it’s a whole month of poetic creation – 31 poems in 31 days. It’s the creative baby of Morgan Dragonwillow and Julie Jordan Scott.

This year, I intend to follow many of the prompts, and get the joy of discovery…

I hope you’ll stop by, settle in, and find a little bit of magic here!

  • Today’s prompt was “Face Your Fear”. We were offered a list of word prompts – I managed to use most of them, nearly all in just two lines, which I think is pretty cool:

  • Frightening

  • Darkness

  • Spooky

  • Mysterious

  • Thud

  • Striking

  • Midnight

  • Pounding

I’m going to do things a little differently today. Instead of introducing the poem and talking a little about the process of its creation first, I’m going to leap right into sharing, and chat after the fact! Change can be scary, but here goes!

Scarily Sweet!

The 90-Second Fear Ride



Fear message

Limbic system

Ancient reptile mind

Hides beneath all reason

Surges up and takes control

Muscles tense; ready to fight or flee

Instincts rule; emotion enslaves me

Self-preservation my priority

A ninety-second thrill ride of terror

Mysterious thud in the darkness

Something spooky strikes the window

Flinch from the man-shaped shadow

Cringing as it leans in

Mind re-engages

Lone sunflower

Peeking in

I planted


Now for the funny part – this is absolutely an autobiographical poem!

One spring, when my kids were much smaller, we planted mammoth sunflowers in the backyard. Rabbits have a tendency to stop by for a dawn and dusk daily browse, and they seem to adore sunflower sprouts, so I planted a patch right beside our bow window, which is in the living room.

My Accomplice in Mischief is a chef, which means the kids and I spend most evenings alone together, a fact we’re all used to, but which started to take on major significance one night, when I kept feeling as though we were being watched through that window. Finally, I spun around – and cringed in terror at the sight of a silhouetted form leaning in to watch us…

Um, yeah. Make that the heavy-headed ripe seven foot sunflower I’d planted…

Recently, I read My Stroke of Insight, by Jill Bolte Taylor. She mentions the limbic system, and the fact that limbic responses are autonomic, but only last about 90 seconds, after which time we can choose what we do next. That’s where the title came from.

I wrote this poem as a double etheree, so that the beginning punch of terror, and the punch line at the end, would have impact, and I kept the source of the fear to myself for a while…

I like the way this one turned out – especially since there was in fact no window lurker!

Find more OctPoWriMo terror – if you dare!


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