Archive for ‘Horror’

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.

From: http://www.poetrybyheart.org.uk/poems/an-upper-chamber-in-a-darkened-house/

Date: 1860

By: Frederick Goddard Tuckerman (1821-1873)

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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.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=gomhxkJ1SzkC)

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.

From: http://wabushpoets.asn.au/pastpoets/Sorensen/banshee.html

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.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=o7i1DQAAQBAJ

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.

From: https://newrepublic.com/article/115424/poem-widows-halloween

Date: 1976

By: Wyatt Prunty (1947- )

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Widow by Martha Keller Rowland

Never give their clothes away
If you want the dead to haunt you
Dusk or dark or dawn or day,
Bar no ghost from glass, they say,
If you want the dead to want you.

Leave them there by the birchwood bed,
Coat and breeches and shirt and shoes.
Fit the living or fit the dead,
Hang them up on the hooks, I said—
The hooks he used to use.

Set the table with fork and knife.
Plump the pillow and coverlid.
Where would a man who loved his wife
Lie except where he lay in life—
Same as he always did?

Leave the mirror upon the nail.
Yes, I know that the first one who
Looks in it will perceive the pale
Dead therein—and his heart will fail.
Do what I tell you to.

Set the mirror the way it was.
Let the crepe that has hid it fall.
What thing better could come to pass
Than to find my dead in the looking-glass
Hanging upon the wall?

From: Harper’s Magazine, Volume 181, 1940, Harper & Brothers, Publishers: New York and London, p. 171.
(https://archive.org/details/harpersmagazine181junalde)

Date: 1940

By: Martha Keller Rowland (1902-1971)

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Ordinary Women by Stephanie M. Wytovich

Ordinary women are
dangerous;
they are the epitome,
the definition,
the classification
of the underestimated
and that is what makes them
unsafe.

Unsafe,
because no one expects an
ordinary woman to
stab her boyfriend in
the throat, to castrate him
with gardening shearers,
or set the house on fire he sleeps.

Ordinary women
are a hazard, a loose cannon
of psychopathy waiting
for the precise moment
to go off, because ordinary
is camouflage and that’s
what makes them a
threat.

From: http://horror.org/9351-2/

Date: 2015

By: Stephanie M. Wytovich (19??- )

Monday, 31 October 2016

Even a Man Who is Pure in Heart by Curt Siodmak

Even a man who is pure in heart,
And says his prayers by night
May become a Wolf when the Wolfbane blooms
And the autumn Moon is bright.

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curt_Siodmak

Date: 1941

By: Curt Siodmak (1902-2000)

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Wolf by Carina Bissett

I’ll never forget the first moment I saw you
flying across field and fallow
in a wild ride to grandmother’s house—
scarlet cape streaming out behind you,
white hands urging that black steed
to madness, to death, to certain ruin.

Like one of the furies you appeared,
a creature not of this tame green place
but of my land,
where the lamia creep in crags and caves
and the bogey haunt misty borderlands.
A country where ghouls devour the sun
and the whirlwind stirs the fog on a whim.

I watched and waited.
And when I realized nothing pursued you,
not a demon’s furious hunt or a spurned lover.
I smiled
and followed quietly on the forest fringe.

And now as the darkness approaches,
my appetite whetted by the rising moon,
ravenous thoughts consuming me,
forcing me to madness at the lush pain of it all
I raise my voice to the stars
and surrender.

I can’t stand the fierce seduction a moment more—
that thick, dark pelt of sable hair and scarlet hood
hiding the heat of your throbbing pulse
from my ears, eyes and mouth.
I can’t bear the torment, the bliss,
the fear of your savage secrets.

I love you so.
I’ll gobble you up.

From: http://www.thehorrorzine.com/Poetry/Dec2015/CarinaBissett/carina.html

Date: 2015

By: Carina Bissett (19??- )

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

The Skeleton’s Defense of Carnality by Jack Foley

Truly I have lost weight, I have
lost weight,
grown lean in love’s defense,
in love’s defense grown grave.
It was concupiscence
that brought me to the state:
all bone and a bit of skin
to keep the bone within.

Flesh is no heavy burden
for one possessed of little
and accustomed to its loss.
I lean to love, which leaves me lean
till lean turn into lack.

A wanton bone, I sing my song
and travel where the bone is blown
and extricate true love from lust
as any man of wisdom must.

Then wherefore should I rage
against this pilgrimage
from gravel unto gravel?
Circuitous I travel
from love to lack
and lack to lack,
from lean to lack
and back.

From: http://www.towerjournal.com/summer_09/foleyclips.html

Date: 2003

By: Jack Foley (1940- )