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Cats and Owls
Over 100 best-known poems by America’s foremost poetess, Emily Dickinson. They display a technical adventurousness that has impressed generations of poetry lovers in America and abroad.
Walter de la Mare (1873-1956) is the writer of his age most in need of reappraisal. Well-known in his lifetime, with a wide circle of literary friends, including Edward Thomas, Rupert Brooke, Katherine Mansfield and Thomas Hardy, he has been largely ignored till recent times. This biography is impeccably researched and written; worth reading.
Perhaps I need to explain what is meant by 'dark poems'. Well, they are scary, spooky poems, poems set in the night (usually), and meant to give one a haunting feeling. Remember Walter de la Mare? He wrote some really frightening poems. 'The Listeners' is perhaps his most famous poem on the 'scary' theme.
There are other poets like Edgar Allen Poe who wrote that haunting poem, The Raven. Emily Dickinson too wrote some morbid poetry. (At least, it seemed morbid to me. Just like that other morbid female writer, Emily Bronte, whose dark romantic novel, Wuthering Heights, continues to haunt young people with the portrait of that vile and detestable character, Heathcliff. If it wasn't for the cartoon, Heathcliff the Cat, the very word 'Heathcliff' would have set off nightmares - enough to give you the heebie-jeebies!)
William Blake, too, wrote a couple of morbid poems; and John Donne I found to be one of the most melancholy poets ever. William Shakepeare should get credit for writing the darkest drama ever. I am referring to Macbeth. The opening scene (read in childhood) would haunt any sensitive, imaginative child for decades. Lady Macbeth is one character who stands first in the list of female infamy.
But getting back to the subject, I must say that every teenage poet goes through a period in poetry-writing when he experiments with creepy themes. It's a passing phase. If the poet continues to indulge in macabre themes, then it's better he goes on to write horror stories and give up poetry. One should be thankful that there is only one Edgar Allan Poe. There is no more deranged explorer of the dark side of human life than he.
You can understand Blake's mind by looking at his illustrations.
Here is one who is qualified to give you the creeps!
The solitary classic that came from the morbid mind of Emily Bronte. This was a compulsory text-book in college. Glad that they didn't teach it in school.
You can try a sample of the poetry of Donne. If you can stomach Elizabethan English, that is!
The school edition of Macbeth, for those who might struggle to understand this gory drama by Shakespeare.
Two Dark Poems
Eyes Glinting in A Cat
Eyes glinting in a cat, the stairs
Run on to my feet;
The door gapes wide before my eyes...
And suddenly I freeze
For through the yellow flash of light
Something slips into the night
Like smoke, an apparition grey
Descends with silent tread,
And as I turn to run away
Looms into my head
Filling me with ash and bone,
Burning in my breast,
And I, a monument of stone,
Am slowly laid to rest.
Eyes Watching in the Dark
Eyes watching in the dark, eye-balls
Rolling in my mind, asleep
I see owls glide through dusty halls
Where bodies hang from beams:
Choking nooses, spider webs
Round a gargoyle's grotesque head,
Belching fire from its mouth;
Flame spurting from a writhing mouse
With sudden shriek caught in its throat,
Carried away with dying note
From church-bells far away, and then
The silent dark floods me again.
Uh! Oh! Some More Violations!
After some years I get this notice from Hubpages saying that: "Your Hub is currently published. However, it has a large number of Amazon or eBay products listed in comparison to the amount of text. Our policy has changed to require 100 words of original text for every product featured in a Hub. If you edit this Hub without bringing it into compliance with our new policy, it may be moderated as overly promotional."
Those illustrations of Emily Dickinson, Walter de la Mare, William Blake, Edgar Allan Poe, Wuthering Heights (really morbid!), John Donne, and Macbeth (frightfully morbid!) - were meant to illustrate and balance the two "Dark Poems". But it seems I've violated some technical rule somewhere. I seem to be advertising Amazon products. Actually, I was pointing people to the 'morbid' authors - the list of seven I've given above. Personally, I don't care for morbid stuff. But I wrote this when I was a teen, and I had a 'strong dose' of Emily Dickinson. I've grown up now, and I just can't stand Emily! Morbidity is the hallmark of a loser.
But what to do? In literature classes, you have to read these guys. You have to study the dark side of life. My two poems are just exercises in the E.D. style, with a bit of Blake, a bit of Poe, a bit of de la Mare (a far better poet than many others!), a bit of my own fancies, a bit of Saki imagination (from reading too much fiction at that age! I'm talking about a few decades ago!).
I look at those two poems of mine from the distant teenage past, and I think they are 'pretty good'. Am I flattering myself? No. These poems were bottled up for years and years. And they've come out like 'aged wine'. Nothing ghoulish, nothing horrific, and nothing as dreadfully dull as John Donne. Just read them and laugh, if you will; or give a round of applause. They were written when I was 18 years old. And I am not a dark Goth or a macabre Banshee! Never will be! (I am too radiant for that!)