Archive for ‘Horror’

Saturday, 29 October 2022

The Vampire by Delmira Agustini

In the bosom of the sad evening
I called upon your sorrow… Feeling it was
Feeling your heart as well. You were pale
Even your voice, your waxen eyelids,

Lowered… and remained silent… You seemed
To hear death passing by… I who had opened
Your wound bit on it—did you feel me?—
As into the gold of a honeycomb I bit!

I squeezed even more treacherously, sweetly
Your heart mortally wounded,
By the cruel dagger, rare and exquisite,
Of a nameless illness, until making it bleed in sobs!
And the thousand mouths of my damned thirst
I offered to that open fountain in your suffering.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

Why was I your vampire of bitterness?
Am I a flower or a breed of an obscure species
That devours sores and gulps tears?


Date: 1910 (original in Spanish); 2003 (translation in English)

By: Delmira Agustini (1886-1914)

Translated by: Alejandro Cáceres (19??- )

Saturday, 16 July 2022

Together by Ian Seed

There were two of our daughter
and my husband wanted to kill both of them
to make her come back to life as one.

While I held each of my daughter down
my husband wielded the knife, blood on both
our faces. Our daughter returned whole

but still my husband wasn’t happy. He wanted
to kill her again and bring her back
as someone else, yet recognisable

as ours. Once more I went to hold her down,
but this time she fled because a part of her
remembered what we’d done before.


Date: 2020

By: Ian Seed (19??- )

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

The Griesly Wife by John Streeter Manifold

“Lie still, my newly married wife,
Lie easy as you can.
You’re young and ill accustomed yet
To sleeping with a man.”

The snow lay thick, the moon was full
And shone across the floor.
And the young wife went with ne’er a word
Barefooted to the door.

He up and followed sure and fast,
The moon shone clear and white.
But before his coat was on his back
His wife was out of sight.

He trod the trail where’er it turned
By many a mound and scree,
And still the barefoot track led on,
And an angry man was he.

He followed fast, he followed slow,
And still he called her name,
But only the wild dogs out in the hills
Yowled back at him again.

His hair stood up along his neck,
His angry mind was gone,
For the track of the two bare feet gave out
And a four-foot track went on.

Her nightgown lay upon the snow
As it might upon the sheet,
But the track that led from where it lay
Was ne’er of human feet.

His heart turned over in his chest,
He looked from side to side,
And he thought more of his blazing fire,
Than he did of his griesly bride.

And first he started walking back
And then began to run,
And his quarry wheeled at the end of her track
And hunted him in turn.

Oh, long the fire may burn for him
And open stand the door,
And long may the bed wait empty:
For he’ll never see it more.


Date: 1941

By: John Streeter Manifold (1915-1985)

Sunday, 24 October 2021

The Little Witch by Johann Peter Hebel

I whittled at a stick one day, —
‘T was just to pass the time away:
A little girl came tripping by,
With rosy look and witching eye.

With artless smile and simple grace,
She looked me sweetly in my face,
And said, ” That knife is sharp, I ween, —
Another thing will cut as keen. ”

And then she laughed, and said, ” Good-day, ”
And like a dream had flown away;
The voice, the look, was with me still,
When all at once I felt me ill.

I could not work, I could not play;
I saw and heard her all the day.
That witching eye was sharp, I ween;
O, that was what would cut so keen.

I saw and heard her day and night, —
Her voice so soft, her eye so bright:
When others lay in slumber sweet,
I heard the clock each hour repeat

I could not stay and linger so:
Like one entranced, away I go;
Through field and forest, far and wide,
I seek if there the witch doth hide.

By bush and brake, by rock and hill,
Where’er I go, I see her still:
The little girl, with witching eye,
Is ever, ever tripping by.

Through town and village, too, I stray;
At every house I call and say,
” O, can you tell me where to find
The little girl that witched my mind? ”

I’ve sought her many a weary mile;
Methought I saw her all the while:
Ah! if I can’t the witch obtain,
I never shall be well again.


Date: 1803 (original in German), 18?? (translation in English)

By: Johann Peter Hebel (1760-1826)

Translated by: James Gates Percival (1795-1856)

Sunday, 3 February 2019

To Putrefaction by Erik Johan Stagnelius

Putrefaction, hasten, Oh beloved bride,
to ready our lonely lover’s couch!
By the world rejected, by God set aside
thou art my only hope, I vouch.
Quick! our chamber now adorn—on bier of somber decorations
the sighing lover to your dwelling shall go.
Quick! prepare the bridal bed—soon springtime’s gift of new carnations
shall over her grow.

Caress in thy womb my body, which yearns!
In thine embraces smother my pain!
My thoughts and my feelings dissolve into worms,
of my burning heart let but ashes remain!
Rich art thou, o maid!—in dowry dost give
the vast, the verdurous earth to me.
Up here do I suffer, but happy shall live
down there with thee.

To stifling, enchanting realms of desire
black-velvet pages lead bridegroom and bride.
Our nuptial hymn chiming bells will attire
and curtains of green will both of us hide.
When out on the oceans tempests prevail,
when terrors will not bloodied earth release,
when battles are raging, in slumber we’ll sail
in aureate peace.

From: Gustafsson, Lars and Rovinsky, Robert T. (transl.), Forays into Swedish Poetry: Bilingual Text Edition, 2012, University of Texas: Austin, Texas, p. 81.

Date: c1818 (original in Swedish); 1978 (translation in English)

By: Erik Johan Stagnelius (1793-1823)

Translated by: Robert T. Rovinsky (1940-)

Friday, 30 November 2018

An Upper Chamber in a Darkened House by Frederick Goddard Tuckerman

An upper chamber in a darkened house,
Where, ere his footsteps reached ripe manhood’s brink,
Terror and anguish were his cup to drink;
I cannot rid the thought, nor hold it close
But dimly dream upon that man alone:
Now though the autumn clouds most softly pass,
The cricket chides beneath the doorstep stone,
And greener than the season grows the grass.
Nor can I drop my lids, nor shade my brows,
But there he stands beside the lifted sash;
And with a swooning of the heart, I think
Where the black shingles slope to meet the boughs,
And, shattered on the roof like smallest snows,
The tiny petals of the mountain-ash.


Date: 1860

By: Frederick Goddard Tuckerman (1821-1873)

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

A Glimpse of Starlings by Brendan Kennelly

I expect him any minute now although
He’s dead. I know he has been talking
All night to his own dead and now
In the first heart-breaking light of morning
He is struggling into his clothes,
Sipping a cup of tea, fingering a bit of bread,
Eating a small photograph with his eyes.

The questions bang and rattle in his head
Like doors and canisters the night of a storm.
He doesn’t know why his days finished like this
Daylight is as hard to swallow as food
Love is a crumb all of him hungers for.
I can hear the drag of his feet on the concrete path.
The close explosion of his smoker’s cough
The slow turn of the Yale key in the lock
The door opening to let him in
To what looks like release from what feels like pain.
And over his shoulder a glimpse of starlings
Suddenly lifted over field, road and river
Like a fist of black dust pitched in the wind.

From: Powling, Anne, O’Connor, John and Barton, Geoff (eds.), New Oxford English, Book 3, 1997, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 44.

Date: 1968

By: Brendan Kennelly (1936- )

Sunday, 28 October 2018

The Banshee Called for Me by John Alfred “Jack” Sorensen

I heard the Banshee call last night
The Banshee called for me,
Out where the shrouded clouds slain light
Patterned a bloodwood tree
She called twice eerily.

The wind gushed down from the Leopolds
To sunder the sullen night
With a song it learned in the mystery holds
That never knew light nor sight.
The voice of a mountain’s might.

With fright clutched throat and sweat-bathed face
I lay on my bamboo bed,
My hut was fey as is a place
Of the unforgiven dead.
But a voice within me said:

Her grim forbode in my native “Meath”
I well could understand
But she follows me with moan of death
To this carefree sun sweet land.
Then anger forced my hand.

I went forthwith to the bloodwood tree
And found her crouching there.
Raw rage was running red in me
My despair had mastered fear
As I grasped her wind-swept hair.

Wind flayed the staid Pandana Palms
(The wind is a frantic fool)
As I carried her with hate-steeled arms
To the bunyip-haunted pool.
She drowned in the waters cool.

The lilies closed above her head
But never a cry made she;
Then I sought sleep on the bamboo bed
In my hut near the bloodwood tree.
But ere dawn she called for me.


Date: 1949

By: John Alfred “Jack” Sorensen (1907-1949)

Saturday, 27 October 2018

The Phantoms of the Dark by Francis William Ophel

I hear them pass at eventide,
I hear the dead pass by.
Ever the long processions ride,
While sorrow’d night winds sigh.

Bright burns the camp-fire at my feet
White stars burn overhead,
Beyond the flame, in shadows, meet
The roaming, restless dead.

Dead bushmen go, in ghostly guise,
Unseen within the night
Save by the herds with startled eyes,
Stampeding in affright.

All night — all night — waked or asleep
The fall of hoofs I hear;
Softly the phantom horses creep
Past my lone camp — and near.

The champing of a jingling bit
Faintly insistent sounds;
With loosened rein wan stockmen sit
And ride their endless rounds.

Oh, shadow made their fences are,
Grey wraiths the flocks they see;
And Death has neither bound or bar
Except eternity.

Lured by the will-o’-th’-wisp’s pale fire
(Mock lights of hut and home);
Onward by spectral post and wire
Damned souls for ever roam.

Shrill comes a cry across the dark,
And weird — I know it well —
It is the lost who call. And, hark!
The tinkling of a bell.

A heap of whitened bones there lies,
And stands the dead man’s steed;
Though never may the rider rise.
Faithful he waits his need.

And when the winds the storm-clouds bring
And loud the tempest roar.
I hear the drover galloping
To meet his love once more.

Night after night, in wind and rain,
He rides and leaves his flocks,
And night by night he falls again
Over the fatal rocks.

And crashing through by bush and bole
In dread, and dumb, and straight
Goes one, sere-stricken to the soul,
And leaves a murdered mate.

At morn my sweating horses stand
Trembling in wild-eyed fright,
For they have seen the phantom band
That pass’d into the night.

Ever by my lone camp they go,
Nor heed the stars or moon.
I hear them always, and I know
That I shall join them soon.

For surely I shall ride away
To turn some midnight rush,
And, greeting Death, remain for aye —
A spirit of the bush.

From: Kinsella, John and Ryan, Tracy (eds.), The Fremantle Press Anthology of Western Australian Poetry, Fremantle Press: Perth, pp.71-73.

Date: 1903

By: Francis William Ophel (1871-1912)

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

The Widow’s Halloween by Wyatt Prunty

The pumpkin’s hollow head returns her gaze;
His yellow eyes are dancing in the flame.
And she, she has him on her window sill
Within a draft that flickers on his brain.

His jagged smile and diamond eyes
Are mirrored in the darkened panes.
Set to be seen, not see, to blaze before the wind
Or wither on the wick and snap black out.

Grinning backwards into the room.
On either side and looking in.
His gaze, she feels, was sharply cut
To burn beneath her dresses’ hems

Or follow her when reaching for the broom;
She wears the latest fashions as her age
But feels the flicker of his gaze
And will not pass near him.


Date: 1976

By: Wyatt Prunty (1947- )