Dark Gothic Poems


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psychic gothic

Dark Gothic Poem: SUNDAYS
 
 
Mournful Sunday afternoons in winter,
in the drowsiness of provincial towns,
where some inconsolable weather cock
 
like a bird of iron, creaks alone on a roof-top!
 
And drifting on the wind who knows what anguish.
Rare passers-by travel the pavements:
priests, working women in great black hooded cloaks,
beguines returning from the parish service.
 
The faces of listless women are pressed 
to the pane, gazing on the void and silence,
and a few meagre flowers, settled in somnolence,
achieve their death in the veiled frames.
 
And in the space between the curtains
in drawing rooms of large patrician mansions
one might see, on backgrounds of old gobelin tapestry
in ancient frames of gold, ancestral portraits,
 
in velvet doublet and ruffs of lace,
coats of arms at each corner of the canvas,
who, as a star is lit scan the far distance
and the town sleeps on in heavy silences.
 
And all those old mansions are empty, lifeless,
within them seeking refuge, the dead middle ages;
and so it is, at evening, the luminous sun
seeks refuge too in their melancholy lanterns.
 
Oh lanterns, guarding the memory of fire,
the memories of light long disappeared,
so dejected in the affliction and emptiness of the street
they seem to burn for the cortege of some deity!
 
And now of sudden the restless bells
disturb the belfry planted in its pride,
and their sound, heavily bronzed, gradually falls
on the coffin of the town as if in spadefuls.
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Dark Gothic Poem: THE OLD QUAIS
 
 
That exquisite hour at evening's approach,
when the heavens fill with processions tinged rose
which advance, shedding souls and flowers,
casting into the air the fragrance of censers.
 
Then, more lucid beneath the declining light
of sunset, whose crimson glow gradually dies,
a charm is revealed to the dreamer's jaded eye:
the charm of old walls where ancient streets end.
 
Facades ornamented, coloured stained glass,
bands of captive cupids in the mournfulness of cartouches,
women on whom dust has shed the blossom of their lips,
flowers of stone lending cheer to walls lavishly historiated.
 
The black gothic of the gables is traced
on the slumbering current as stairways of crepe
and the moon rises at the halo's core,
like a lamp of gold upon a grand wooden bier.
 
Oh, the old quais drowsing in the solemn evening
sensing of a sudden on their faces of stone
the icy kiss of the river's farewell
that runs under bridges and into their tunnels.
 
Oh, the bluish shade they acquire at the hour
when lamps are lit, canals gazed on by lovers
who before the waters exchange their vows
as they hear through the mist the bells moaning sound.
 
All is in the throes of death, all keeps silent:
nothing is heard but a melancholy tune on a weeping flute,
alone in some blackened dwelling, unseen
on whose worm-eaten remains the player leans!
 
And one imagines far off, the mournful musician,
crestfallen, impoverished, playing beneath crumbling roofs;
as into his fingers passed evening's sorrow,
and from the holes he draws song from the shadows.


-Georges Rodenbach



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