May 5, 2017

Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm? by Ryan Stone

On stone walls and fences near Hagley Wood
the question appears in ghostly script: 
Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?

They found her in its hollowed trunk
back in '43. Wedged inside her musty grave 
to grow stiff, to slumber undiscovered,
unnoticed, unnamed.

Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?
for she didn't climb in alone. Gagged
with a scrap of taffeta, missing tooth
and hand--until the cryptic message
no one knew her name.

In a rotting womb, so far from the light
bones become legend, for trees tell no tales.
And every few years, the same phrase appears:
Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?

Ryan Stone is a freelance writer from Melbourne, Australia.  He shares his home in the Dandenong Ranges with his wife, two young sons and a German Shepherd.  A selection of Ryan's poetry, prose, haiku, and flash fiction can be found on his blog -


  1. Shivered with this one, Ryan. Something straight out of Poe. So well done!