Grey Harlowe Sampler–Poetry Corner!

I know, I know, poetry and horror are two things some might describe as…incongruous. But I love ’em. I’m one of those die hard poets who feels the art can make a comeback in the digital age, and that genre doesn’t matter as long as one’s poem is excellent.

I can’t exactly claim these two are excellent, but there are some of my better poetic explorations* in the world of scary literature over the last few months. They were compiled for an anthology submission to a book on gothic horror. Enjoy!

* Note to certain readers: these poems are not, I repeat, not autobiographical.

*

A Victorian Maiden Speaks

It’s time I had a voice.

One of the ethereal and persistently silent

in your stories, erratic and spindly,

always has the vapors,

which is just a polite way of saying

I’m suffocating, you intolerable gentlemen,

too quaint to ask a lady to unlace,

breath deep and sit down.

I am sensuous only in dreamscape.

The rest of the time, I’m so upright

my ribs are brittle as xylophone

plinked in the deafening vacuum of parlors.

I have little else to do but learn to speak

when spoken to, eat little, inhale less.

My mind sits empty as a secret diary

no one has the key for.

My quill pen scrawls over only stationary.

Is it any wonder the ghosts come for me?

The Vampire with his blood washed tongue?

I am such easy prey.  Idle and vulnerable,

though the proverbs say this makes me workshop

for the devil.  And you say you’re not the devil.

I am your creation, tied up, immobilized, awaiting.

You do not want me filled by any other

than He Who Shall Be Called Husband.

What if no husband finds me?

Whom do I wait for then?

Whom do I wait for?

*

In this House, High on the Hill

Here we are ensnared by our small forest.

The trees snarl and bite.

I am one who has been bitten

by their vines, the arbiters

of terrible complacency.

I want for nothing

except freedom,

but this enclave holds me

tighter than any man could,

or anyone else for that matter,

Abbess, overlord, jailer,

all the options I have for escape.

I will not escape.

Here, we have unsettling noises at night.

Ceaseless clamor, phantom footsteps,

and, once, an appalling shriek at midnight,

like someone falling to a death

that would never end.

No one talked of it again.

No one talks of the blood streaks

on the bedclothes,

or the hideous, heart-pained dragging

of the chains he made her wear

her entire married life.

So what if his coin purse is still fat?

What will it matter when I am old and green

like the forest?

The unknown beyond the vines

still scares me more that what I know here.

A consequence of knowing too much

and growing too comfortable.

I am his pet, another word

for prisoner.

I will not escape.

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