Listen to poem:
The inspiration for this partially true piece was my older brother, Joe, and his 2 grandkids (circa 1994) -
I can clearly see the moon, and feel the sultry breeze
(It was an unforgettable event).
Despite the fact we knew the woods were full of snakes and wolves,
We couldn’t disregard the money spent,
Nor all the time it took to plan this out, so, there we were…
Reluctantly…two kids - inside a tent.
Quentin Grangaard, that is me, is not the camping kind
(I’m satisfied with only making “smores”),
But Grandpa Joe had brought the tent and planned the camping trip,
And felt that we should spend the night outdoors,
And how I feel about the way I’d like to spend my time
Is something Grandpa typically ignores.
We would only learn about the plans that Grandpa'd made
A little while before the sun went down.
Mom and Dad were staying in a brand new fancy camper,
And Grandpa actually took a room in town,
But we were given sleeping bags…and forced into the dark…
To sleep inside a tent…on lumpy ground!
Taylor…that’s my sister…slightly older, nearly nine,
Was sitting close beside me, looking pale.
Thoughts of monsters scratching at the zippered canvas door
(Just like Grandpa told us in the tale),
Found their way, repeatedly, inside our fragile minds,
And we became like prisoners…in a jail!
I remember peeking out to scan the giant trees,
And search for silhouettes against the moon,
And still I hear the ghostly notes from not that far away
(I told myself it must have been a loon).
I was close to terrified and felt the light of day,
Without a doubt, could not have come too soon.
Mom and Dad weren’t far away…not more than fifty feet…
Yet, even though I knew they were nearby,
Scenes from scary movies that I’d seen when younger still
Would fill my head and make me wonder why
Anyone would want to sleep inside a tent, at night,
And in the woods....where they were apt to die.
Taylor sat there quivering and her eyes were big and round,
When, in a nervous voice she softly said,
“Quentin, I’m too scared to sleep. I’m hearing funny sounds.
I’ll try to stay awake…you go to bed.
Grandpa told me, if we didn’t do as we were told,
That…in the morning…we would "wake up dead!”
Instantly I disappeared inside my sleeping bag
And grabbed my cell and dialed for Mom and Dad.
“I think I’d better come inside,” I frantically complained,
“I’m pretty sure I’m feeling really bad.”
Mom just told me, “Not a chance. If Grandpa Joe found out
You chickened out…oh man…would he be mad.”
“I’m not chicken,” I’d insist, “I think my neck is broke,
And if I stay all night I think I’ll die.
Both my legs are coming loose. I think my eyes are stuck.
I want to go to sleep, but when I try,
Only one will shut completely, one just looks around,
An’ I’m not sure that I can tell you why.”
“Oh for goodness sake, you wimp,” my mother actually said,
“If you come in…and Taylor stays all night…
She’d be out there all alone. Now tell the truth, young man…
Do you really think that would be right?
And even if they do get in…I’m sure you’ll be OK…
All they ever usually do is BITE!
We have lots of band-aids, and I brought some extra blood,
In case they rip your stomach open wide.
If they really want your guts, there’s nothing we can do,
‘Cause…even if I let you come inside…
They will find you anyway. They’ll hunt you down for sure…
Until their appetites are satisfied.”
Then Dad would take the phone away from Mom and follow suit.
He told me…in a most convincing way…
Not to worry…Mom was only teasing, and, in fact,
Everything that he had heard her say
Wouldn’t really matter, ‘cause he knew that I was strong,
And…if I really tried…I’d get away!
“Get away from WHAT,” I screamed. “I wanna come inside.
I need my ‘guts,’ and, ‘sides…I have to go.
You really should have asked us if we’d like to sleep outside,
I guarantee you, we’d have told you ‘NO’!
I just hope the monsters like the older people more
And go to town and hunt for Grandpa Joe!”
PS: I've now got 4 new Audio-CDs - @ 4 1/2 hours each = (62 diversely varied pieces). They’re listed on EBAY - under - “Mark Stellinga Poetry” - or available by simply contacting me at -- firstname.lastname@example.org -- should those of you who enjoy listening to poems as well as reading them - and particularly those of you that travel - care to be so entertained. (We use safe and simple - PayPal)
Copyright © Mark Stellinga | Year Posted 2021