Gargoyles are architectural structures. Made of stone, protruding from buildings and monuments of historical interest. Built with a channel of some type formed along the top and through the head to divert rainwater from the building. Thus protecting the mortar joints and masonry from erosion.

Gargoyles protrude outward, sending the water spouting away from the face of the building, from the mouth of the mythical creature the gargoyle represents.

The famous Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has many gargoyles. All seen protruding from the roof area. Or at least this was the case before fire ravaged it in 2019.

The medieval churches are the principal residences of these stone artefacts. Much work went into these buildings, in such forms as their stone carvings. The elaborate columns, pillars and lintels. The intricate shapes and aesthetics of the buildings are an appreciation. As are the wooden structures. Such as vaulted ceilings and internal ornate corbels, stone corbels that the timber roof structure sat upon. The vaulted ceilings lay open and engineered to carry the heavy load and stresses. Designed to please the eye, so also incorporated much craftsmanship into their making and appearance. Glance up inside any church and you’ll see the results.

Gargoyles have many variations. A lion’s head with its mouth open was a common feature. They varied from cathedral to cathedral. Many took on a distorted form. Later, gargoyles became a mix match of many creatures and forms. In medieval times, their appearances morphed into many forms. They always had a sinister or terrifying presence.

Another form of gargoyle is the chimera. Its purpose is not for diverting water from the building, but strictly ornamental. Referred to as grotesques but classed as gargoyles because of certain similarities.

The authentic form of a chimera comes from the description in Greek mythology:

· Chimera: a monster from Greek mythology that is fire breathing, has a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a snake’s tale.

In ancient Greek mythology, they fear the chimera as a bad omen when sighted. The term “chimera” came to symbolise any mythical creature with two or more mixed body parts of various animals.

Gargoyles often lent themselves to the chimera or variations of that form.

· Some carvings of gargoyles take on the image of mixed animals (chimeras). Some carved as half human and half animal.

Apart from diverting water away from a building, they also supported another purpose: to ward off evil.

It is odd to think that a grotesque figure could do this. When the figure itself seems to err on the side of evil.

With their unusual shape and contortions, their unnatural hybrid configuration, and their medieval demonic looks that some gargoyles portray, it’s easy to think of them as threatening. With so many despotic looking stone statuettes staring down at the congregation from high above their heads, it’s a wonder they didn’t refuse to enter the churches of that era.

Church hierarchy of the time sort various ways to coerce their flock into repenting. The church building offered spiritual security for those seeking it. Outside the church lurked temptation and sin. Religion and the church represented a sanctuary to the masses, a haven.

Gargoyles reminded them of the evil in the outside world. Sending out the message, it is better to be inside the sanctuary of the church rather than on the outside, where temptation, sin and wickedness lie. A means to sway the pagans over to Christianity.

A ploy adopted by the Christian church in medieval times to put fear into the hearts of the people in the hope of them attending church en-mass.

Gargoyles go back long before Christianity, though.

In Olympus, in ancient Greece, The Temple of Zeus has many lion shaped water spouts. The ancient Egyptians build and carved many gargoyles as lions.

Built between 470 BC – 456 BC, the Temple of Zeus comprised limestone and had much marble used also to incorporate the finer finishes. Many sculptures of marble included its 102 lion – headed gargoyles.

The ancient Egyptians preferred the lion form also, although they constructed other forms. Such were as hooded snakes and demon types. The Egyptian gargoyles were to keep their temples safe from Seth, a god of chaos. They were not for diverting rainwater from the buildings. This would have been less important in a desert climate.

More modern gargoyles, seen in our churches and such, came into being round about the 12th century AD.

Noise of water rushing through the gargoyle resembles a gargling sound.

The word gargoyle is from the French word Gargouille, which means throat.

If someone throws their head back, their mouth represents the shape of a funnel. Then, if they blow air from their lungs through a liquid at the back of their throat. What they are doing is gargling. Hence the word gargoyle.

D. Marsden © 2020


The Exodus

Good people leave in hordes their troubled land
behind their homes and life built from the sand
a vengeful war is raging, death is rife
the killers have no care for human life.

A place that once belonged to family fare
husband with wife, child played without a care
a gift from God for everyone to dwell
evil has turned it to a living hell.

Innocent child sees torture, rape and more
beheaded man, blood, flesh and gore
it’s etched into their minds, seen night and day
when they should have it in their hearts to play.

But not for them, the joy has long since fled
they have not any home to rest their head
they trudge along through valley, field and road
most of them laden down with heavy load.

Sick and old, man and woman, girl and boy
babies being carried, no glint of joy
heavy burdens hauled to who knows where
No sign of hope just gloom and vacant stare.

One by one borders closing every day
the refugees arrive but turned away
left alone a spectacle to all of us
a desperate and lonely exodus.

© D Marsden 2018


Oh Well

Someone told me there is no hell
I said there is,
They just said, …oh well!

They've never seen a shanty town
and all the faces-mostly frowns
nor have they seen the poverty and despair
and their tin shacks and vacant glare.

The children have no toys or games
they don't go dancing in the rain
they've never rode on swinging chair
just sit in the blazing sun and stare.

That wretched sun it is so hot
nowhere can I find a pleasant spot
I'll be home tomorrow among the leafy trees
and sit drinking in the English summer breeze.

I'll watch the children on the park
running around and singing like the lark
I'll see my wife and kids as happy as can be
we'll sit and dine and talk, then watch tv.

I'll gaze at the stars and ponder
why is this place I do wonder?

I told someone there is a hell
and he just said… oh well!

© D Marsden 2016


The young boy grew up, wanting much more
burning inside was a decadent fire
he did what he liked and liked what he did
but it wasn’t enough, wanted much higher.

The devil knew this, he offered a deal
I’ll fill your desires to exceed your goal
till your heart’s content, fun, take what you want
but a levy I’ll need, my price is your soul.

How long do I get to taste all life’s dreams?
will you grant me till I’m thirty years old?
the devil he grinned then laughed out so loud
such a large price for a fool to be sold.

Youth and the devil shook hands, the deal was struck
you go on your way, you go and have fun
the man strolled along with great joy and glee
he held his head high, thought life had begun.

The years quickly went, the man had indulged
he took all the pleasures the devil laid out
sat in his dim room with drink in his hand
thirty years, it’s midnight, the clock shouted out

A shadow appeared; a figure so black
a demon approached, I’ve come for your soul
the devil has sent me to collect his due
“please leave me alone, please let me grow old”

You made a pact, you had pleasures abound
you took all you could without much regard
the devil gave out his promise in full
a deal is a deal no matter how hard.

The man fell down on his knees and prayed fast
a frightened boy, his pride all in tatters
please take me away from this journey to hell
oh Lord save my soul, what really matters.

At that point, a bright light, an angel stood
Begone you demon of old, your powers are weak
I come in the devil’s name, the demon said
the man he repents, in God’s name I speak

The devil knows his errand is futile
he has been cheated, a wound to his mark
no torment to please, no suffer of soul
the demon backed off, formed into the dark.

All of the angels in heaven cry out
a chorus sang loud, the way has been paved
the glory of God, how brightly his light
a time to rejoice, a soul has been saved.

© D Marsden 2020



Brother Stephen; no not a monk
known to friends and kin as Ebe
a working man playing the game
of life and joy, and all its dreams.

Just to work, and drink, and enjoy
through its many toils and strife
sometimes can be a weary task
as one travels the path of life.

A night out with many good mates
not knowing what cards fate’s hand holds
shooting the breeze, putting things right
a drink with the lads and grow old.

Some will survive the demon fix
some destined to behold its curse
to just go home and sleep it off
or suffer its fate much worse.

The cards all dealt, a hand so cruel
life has no favourites, a random choice
Ebe lost the game, thrown in his hand
drink finally took away his voice.

The coffin takes its solemn ride
along the winding road
to Ebe’s final resting place
and people’s hearts heavy load.

Family and friends bid farewell
through tears, broken hearts, and gloom
a feeling of foreboding grips
as everyone exits the room

But then a glint of calm abounds
Ebe’s at rest and free from pain
goodbye, I know the day will come
When all will meet again.

D marsden

Boleskine House


The property occupied the site of a Kirk (church) that had burnt down during a church service. The congregation was in attendance, and everyone inside died. Boleskine House also suffered a fire that caused a certain amount of damage. But not as severe as the later fires that almost destroyed it completely. Built around 1760 by Colonel Archibald Frazer as a hunting lodge. He carried on extending the house until 1830 and formed a tunnel that links the house to the graveyard.

The house and its surroundings have a history of strange happenings. They go long into its distant past.

In one incident a minister named Thomas Houston (1648-1705), had a gruesome task. Laying corpses back in their grave. After a local wizard had raised the dead from the village graveyard. Not a very likely event but it does give some credence to the strangeness of the place at the time.

The Frazer family sold the house in 1899 to Alistair Crowley. An occultist and practitioner of black magic, (dubbed at the time, by the press, as the evilest man in Britain).

The house contained evil long before Crowley moved in. But it was he that invoked the spirits that led to several demons residing there. Crowley performed rituals to conjure up various spirits. There is one ritual that particularly interested him. It is from a book called The Book of Abramelin. The purpose of the ritual was to invoke a person’s, Guardian Angel. It is a detailed ritual. It requires the person to prepare themselves, usually over several months. It includes the summoning of several demons brought in from hell also.

Many consider “The Book of Abramelin” to be the best book on magic available. It relates to an Egyptian magician known as Abramelin the Mage. First published in 1900 and translated from a French script. Written by Abraham for his son Lamech. This book was Crowley’s inspiration and he based much of his sadistic work on it. It contains rituals for both black and white magic. If carried out it could produce successful results. Crowley, it seems, was only interested in the dark side.

While carrying out this ritual, Crowley left midway for Paris. He never finished the ritual. This released evil into the house and the surrounding area in the form of demons from hell. From then on, many strange happenings occurred in and around the place.

Who knows what Crowley released? But it had severe and sometimes tragic consequences upon several people around him. His housekeeper himself suffered the loss of two children. A 10-year-old daughter, and a 1-year-old son, who both died under strange circumstances.

Another incident involved one of Crowley’s employees. That had long given up alcohol, got drunk, and attempted to murder his whole family.

A further incident in 1965 involved the then owner, an army major by the name of Edward Grant. He committed suicide by using a shotgun on himself in Crowley’s old bedroom.

The housekeeper at the time, Anna MacLaren, foresaw the incident in a premonition she had. She was alone in the garden when she heard the shotgun go off inside the house. She went to investigate but found no-one there or anything amiss. It was a week later at around the same time that she experienced the incident for real. This time the major was there with half his head blown off.

Alistair Crowley sold and left the house in 1913. It seems the demons didn’t. They decided to stay and reek their evil on any unsuspecting victims that came their way. Crowley had added to the already macabre mystery of the place. While Crowley resided at the house, he admitted his rituals and his evil practices had gotten out of hand.

In 1969 the house was up for rent and a filmmaker named Kenneth Anger rented the place for a while. His interest in the occult and the property’s history drew him to it. But it wasn’t long before moving out for some undisclosed reason.

In 1970 Jimmy Page, of the band Led Zeppelin, heard about the house for sale and bought it. Again, due to its history and Jimmy’s interest in the occult and also in the antics of Allister Crowley. He had a special interest in Crowley and it was one of the reasons that attracted him to the house. He owned the house for the next 22 years until 1992. Jimmy had planned to have the house restored but spent very little time there. Instead, he put a friend of his in charge: Malcolm Dent.

Dent moved into the Boleskine House and found it in a sorry mess. The grounds were in a state of decline, the garden all overgrown and the house in bad need of repair and renovation.

After a while, Dent started to experience strange happenings. Such as rumbling noises coming from outside his bedroom door. He experienced noises one night coming from the same vicinity that sounded like a beast of some sort. He never opened the door that night in fear of what he might find. Dent also experienced various other events. Doors opening and closing and furniture moving. A friend of Dent’s even reported an attack in the night by a devil of some kind.

But all this didn’t seem to put Dent off as he still carried on living in the house.

In 1992 the house sold. Ronald and Annette MacGillivray became the new owners. It was still in much need of repair. They spent a large amount of money on the property renovating it. It was later turned into a hotel.

When Mr. MacGillvray died in 2002 the house changed ownership again. This time Dutch owners who preferred to remain anonymous. They converted it back to a private dwelling and used it as a holiday home.

On the 23rd of December 2015, a fire damaged the house. Although most of the house was ablaze, no-one was home at the time so there were no casualties.

The house is now in the hands of an organization that intends to restore it to its former glory. It being a grade B listed building has piqued interest. With its long reputation of evil. It being a place of devil worship, Satanism, and occult practices it would be better to leave well alone. Instead, it looks like the demons are getting their dark house back. A place where the evilest Satanist in Britain once lived. A place where a portal opened up to let free hell’s inhabitants. A place where evil feelings move through the atmosphere. Many local residents have given it a wide berth in the past and still do to this day.

As I Creep Down the Staircase

As I creep down the staircase
while my parents are asleep
on a cold and frosty Christmas eve
into the room I peep.

I see the shining Christmas tree
with the angel on the top
and the only sound that I can hear
is the ticking of the clock.

I wonder, is he coming?
or perhaps he’s been and gone
but then I hear a crash
also, a rustle and a bang.

And standing there in front of me
I bet you’ve guessed of course
was the very one and only
Mr Santa Clause.

Hello he said, now off to bed
your presents I will leave
but remember, do not open them
for its only Christmas eve.

Now I must go out in the snow
for my reindeers there they wait
and I have lots more places to visit
and many more presents to take.

Goodbye Santa, I shouted
as he rode off into the sky
with his reindeers all in order
and his presents stacked so high.

I looked at the presents that he had left
how happy I was that he’d been
and ran upstairs to mummy and daddy
to tell them who I’d seen.

Mummy, daddy, I shouted
Father Christmas has just been
oh, go to bed, they quietly said
you’ve just been having a dream.

They didn’t believe that I saw him
they didn’t believe that he came
but next year I’m going to wait up
and hope that he visits again.

Beryl Marsden (Gladwin) 1974 ©



How shall we serve
the working class?
Put them in place
let’s kick their ass.

They cry out for wages
say, what they deserve
ask for the main meal
give them hors d’oeuvres.

A hole in the ground
or concrete and bricks
a warehouse or factory
turning out tricks.

They’ll work them all
and take all the licks.
they’ll assemble our world.
with shovel and pick

But they built our homes
and fashioned our clothes
endless production lines
like soldiers in rows.

With expensive shoes
we tread them down
we work them all
into the ground.

Let me tell you this
My honourable man
they get the bacon
we get the ham.

And if we don’t
we have no wealth
there are no producers
among ourselves.

We cannot weave
lay brick or fix
fashion steel
or metals mix.

Nor break our backs
from dawn to dusk
and our offspring
they never must.

Working classes
will feed our lives
to slave for us
our husbands and wives.

Keep your reins tight
my upper-class friend
or this could all come
to a very sad end.

Do you really want
to better yourself?
then learn your place
and reap your wealth.

D Marsden © 2022


Coffin carried to strained alarm
the pipers song fills the isles
with sweet lament and sombre mood
under all the tears, loving smiles.

Many years since Tommy bade farewell
to Glasgow, his childhood home
for a green and pleasant land
England, to explore and roam.

Tommy left his homeland
but it never left his mind
whisky, Celtic, and all that
the Scotsman never left behind.

Tears of sadness filled the room
so many came to say goodbye
words of love we listened to
broken hearts yearn and sigh.

A fitting tribute to a true Scot
sons and grandsons take the strain
as they guide him down the isle
and the bagpipe strikes again.

Now he’s laid to rest in peace
with his dearest he so loved
no more pain, no more grief
joy and happiness greets above.

Even seventy nine years
is so short a life
but comfort fills the heart
knowing this is just the start.

Taken in God’s loving hands
nothing left of pain or fear
comfort will come to all
the ones that love so dear.

Goodbye to a great Scotsman
the king of the Mullen clan
separation isn’t so long
Until all unite again.

The Miracle of Dunkirk

The miracle of Dunkirk.

One day, while at junior school, in 1963, our teacher, Mrs Downing, told the class of a story during the war when the entire nation went to church to pray. She told us that God answered their prayers and halted the German army.

Of course, we were nine years old. It was eighteen years after the war and we didn’t understand everything she was talking about. But years later, after doing some research, here is the full story.

Back in 1940, the German army, Hitler’s panzer division, had the whole British army trapped in a pincer movement on the beaches of Dunkirk in France.

Over 300,000 allied troops were gathered on the beaches of Dunkirk. The German Luftwaffe was bombing and shooting at the troops relentlessly, killing hundreds. All looked lost for the British army.  

Winston Churchill, the British prime minister and his war cabinet, estimated that only a possible 20,000-30,000 troops would escape the carnage. The admiralty of the British Navy estimated 45,000. The British army would be wiped out, killed, and many carted off to prisoner of war camps.

Churchill was about to face parliament and announce the greatest disaster in British military history.

We had a God-fearing man on the throne. King George VI called upon Britain and the commonwealth countries for a national-day-of-repentance and prayer on a Sunday of the 26th May 1940. The churches, chapels, and cathedrals of the nations filled, spilling out onto the streets in response.

A series of miracles happened at the hand of God.

First, it halted the Panzer forces for two days, enabling the allies’ precious time to reform. This confused historians over why it happened. German generals were against the call, but the order came from Hitler, and his generals could do nothing but follow orders. So, the German armoury came to a grinding halt. God’s influence, no doubt.

Churchill gave a theory that Hitler wanted to save his ground troops and armoury from attack and annihilate the allied forces by using air attack only.

The force of God again followed.

The Sky opens up over Flanders

Within 48 hours of the sending up of prayers, a mighty storm broke out over Flanders, this aided in giving cover to the allied troops. The marshlands became soft and boggy, keeping the German armoured division back and grounding the Luftwaffe for most of the operation.

On the 30th of May 1940. General Halder, head of the German Army General Staff, made a note in his diary:

The pocket would have been closed at the coast if only our armour had not been held back. The bad weather has grounded the Luftwaffe, and we must now stand and watch countless thousands of the enemy get away to England right under our noses.

English vessels to the rescue

At this time, the sea became as calm as a millpond, a very unusual scene to see over the English Channel. Many ships and boats of all shapes and sizes crossed the water to rescue the stranded soldiers. Just about anything that could float and carry passengers took to the waters. It was a rescue attempt beyond belief and was successful.

On the 8th of July 1940, The Daily Telegraph printed a report:

Those accustomed to the Channel testify to the strangeness of this calm; the phenomenon of nature staggered them by which it became possible for tiny craft to go back and forth in safety.

Rescue mission accomplished

On the 4th of June 1940, Operation Dynamo triumphed, (the code name) The mission rescued 338,000 troops from the slaughter on the beaches of Dunkirk. Around 140,000 of which belonged to the allied forces of France, Belgian, Holland, and Poland.

The Admiralty came up with a best estimated rescue mission of saving 45,000 troops over a two-day plan of action.

 Churchill stated In the House of Commons on the 4th of June, noting that he had only hoped to rescue 20,000-30,000 soldiers. He was ready to announce what he referred to would have been the greatest military disaster in British history, had it not been for the miraculous rescue.

On the same day, came a report from the BBC: “The Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, has described the miracle of deliverance from Dunkirk and warned of an impending invasion.”

Admiral Sir William James acknowledged the rescue mission as a miracle. He was in charge of later evacuating the Normandy and Brittany ports. In his words: “Thank God for that miracle of Dunkirk.”

After reflecting on the events of Operation Dynamo, Vice-Admiral Ramsay had similar thoughts. He wrote a letter to his wife stating: “The relief is stupendous. The results are beyond belief.”

General Pownall, Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief of the BEF, (British Expeditionary Forces), also had thoughts of divine intervention. He wrote in his diary: “The evacuation from Dunkirk was surely a miracle.”

Comedian, Spike Milligan, referred to it also as miraculous. He later wrote: “the Channel was like a piece of polished steel. I’d never seen the sea so calm. One would say it was miraculous.”

O the 8th of June 1940, C.B. Mortlock wrote in the Daily Telegraph:

… the prayers of the nation were answered… the God of hosts himself had supported the valiant men of the British Expeditionary Force… One thing can be certain about tomorrow’s thanksgiving in our churches, from none will the thanks ascend with greater sincerity or deeper fervour than from the officers and men who have seen the hand of God, powerful to save, delivering them from the hands of a mighty foe, who, humanly speaking, had them utterly at his mercy.

When congregations gathered for services of national thanksgiving in all churches on the following Sunday, it was with a great feeling that many a choir and congregation sang the words of Psalm 124, for they applied to that situation through which the nation had just passed:

“If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, let Israel now say – if it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive,” (Psalm 124, KJV Holy Bible).

A Tortured Soul

A tortured soul
he died of his fear
family and friends loved him
held him so dear
but sometimes seemed distant
when he was so near.

The life and soul
made everyone laugh
joking at parties
his favourite gaff
but his tormented self
chose the wrong path.

To teenager from child
where to or from where
his thoughts pulled him down
thoughts of despair
but never showed signs
or gave vacant stare.

Thoughts we didn’t know
or being aware
a kind gentle soul
with too much to bare
thought all would judge
be hurtful and stare.

Started to drink
took drugs without care
mind full of torment
too lonely to bare
alone on his path
the world didn’t care.

Thought God didn’t love
heard prejudice and hate
so kept it inside
from family and mate
not knowing we knew
and now its too late.

If he just came out
of the closet they say
life would have been good
just happy and gay
his life really mattered
he threw it away.

Not willingly though
not his real choice
the world shut him out
took away his voice
should have lived on
a right to rejoice.

Society pulls down
causes the rot
the ones that do judge
for sinners they're not
they cast the first stone
that unrighteous lot.

Where do we go
in a world full of hate
say you don't fit
don't open the gate
let’s all give our love
before its too late.

D. Marsden 2022©


The world is on the brink
a tyrant's heart so cold
evil shoots across the sky
a fear of dread around the globe
of rising mushroom clouds
a future yet untold.

History again repeats itself
a scale not seen so long
evil knocking at the door
peacemakers sing their song
a mighty army in defeat
defiance to submit still strong.

When will the missiles silence
their destruction on the land?
Patience all around running thin
enemies suffer by their own hand.
End this diabolicle war,
a world shouts out its command.

Silence falls upon the towns
a bankrupt army in retreat
the sound of cheer in Ukraine
the crunch of marching feet
the cities to rebuild
they will never taste defeat.

D Marsden 2022

A Poem of Poetry

I put down words of thought
to write poetry in rhyme
sometimes tender, sometimes bold
some may take a little time
but a feeling from within
is from no heart but mine.

The form of love stirs the mind
romance has its place on high
irony take on its silent punch
we read and ponder why
the truth and its poignant grasp
to make the reader cry.

A verse of summer time
brings joy to our hearts
flowers dance in gentle breeze
while sunshine plays its part
blossoms hang on tender branch
a bird in song at day’s start.

But don’t forget the tragic poem
of war, and death, despair and need
no scent of bloom and words of love
just tragedy, hopelessness, and weed
all by the hand of human kind
caused by selfishness and greed.

D Marsden © 2022

The Extinct Animal

Strolling through the jungle
I met a lamb in ragged clothes
he told me of injustice
he had a bloody nose
he sees it all around
wherever his journey goes.

I turned a darkened corner
and met a tiger selling spice
have a little try, he said
it really is quite nice
but he was laying a trap
a big cat killing mice.

Above the grass and trees
a mountain to the sky
made of glass and concrete
I dare not venture why
hungry rabbits in their homes
young bunnies, here them cry.

I wandered through the trees
to a place I know not where
I met a lion with golden mane
and a castle for his lair
he told me to clear off
you are not welcome here.

So I turned around
from suburban park
back to concrete jungle
where I met a lark
with grinning face and shiny blade
you don't come here at dark.

I'm looking for justice, 
that rarest breed of all
I cannot find him anywhere
he must be really small
no such animal, said he
he exists not at all.

Call me a merchant
one of doom 
but first look around
and see all the gloom
when will it all end?
maybe very soon.

Unfairness roams the woods
the wolf he has a gun
no truth, just greed and lies
power thinks he's won
but as it is in heaven
on earth justice will be done.

D Marsden 2022 ©