When misted twilight shifts to midnight black,
then I drift, but hear her mournful sighing
outside the window, crying, “bring me back”–-
whispers first, but then intensifying.
Why does she with grief-filled moans so haunt me?
What soul-stricken sprite struggles at moon nights,
flickering at a flame–moth-winged banshee–
fleeing at dawn, in sunshine’s gilding light?
And yet–-her shadowed-face, ghostly image
appears each night, (bewitching) she calls me–
I rise, unsure, do I smile or grimace?
Two here on different planes, one not yet free.
So, I know now when next she comes again
the light will fade for me–not why, but when.
This is for dVerse, where Sanaa is asking us to write Gothic-themed poems. It’s my birthday, so this will be fun reading. 😀 I’ve re-worked this sonnet that I wrote for another dVerse prompt about a year ago.
First I love that painting…you have captured that pale moon-lit face and the mystery of what she really is perfectly.
Thank you so much! I think you or Jane used this painting fairly recently, and I thought of it as I was revising this poem.
Munch has an excellent Vampire painting, but many expressionist painters seems quite gothic these days.
Yes, I almost used the vampire painting, but I like this one more–a bit more mysterious.
I know I’ve already said it, but I’ll say it again: happy birthday dear Merril, happy birthday to you! I I love the ‘mm’ and ‘igh’ sounds in the opening line which lead to the ‘mournful sighing’ in the following line, drawing me in. Your ‘soul-stricken sprite’ reminds me of Catherine Earnshaw’s ghost at the beginning of Wuthering Heights.
Thank you so much, Kim!
I may have been thinking of Catherine when I first wrote this.
I remember that image for sure! You’ve captured the dread of a ghostly visitor. Those last two lines clinch it.
Thank you so much, Lisa. Yes, Björn has used this image before, and Jane, too, I think.
You’re very welcome, Merril.
P.S. Happy Birthday!
This poem gave me chills, particularly this:
“outside the window, crying, “bring me back”–-
whispers first, but then intensifying.”
Whether someone who has passed, the fear of death, being haunted by a spirit, or in the process of dying, this poem is remarkably haunting. It reminds me of Poe’s style, especially with the topics you delve into. I also think the narrator is haunted by a past they once lived, and now as they moved on, it wants to come back.
I don’t know for sure, but that’s the beauty of everything in poetry. I love how I can see this in different ways and then find a new perspective that I never considered. This is a beautifully written, and of course, gothic piece! I love, love, love it!
Hope you have a fantastic Birthday. ❤ ❤
Aww–thank you so much, Lucy! Yes, I think perhaps the narrator is haunted by something–there is definitely something dark calling to him (it’s a him in my mind). I think I may have been thinking of Wuthering Heights when I first wrote it.
Happy Birthday, my dearest Merril! 💝 This is a stunningly dark and enticing sonnet 😀 who doesn’t love a banshee? I enjoyed this part; “And yet–-her shadowed-face, ghostly image appears each night, (bewitching) she calls me–I rise, unsure, do I smile or grimace?” Thank you so much for writing to the prompt! 💝
Thank you so much Sanaa! I’m pleased you liked that–that part was all rewritten. 😀
A lot! 💝
Happy birthday! The birthday echo takes four days to cross the Atlantic 🙂
I love this, and yes, it is defo very Cathy at the window.
Thank you. Hahaha. Yes. 😀
Happy Birthday Merril! I hope you have a wonderful day.
You’re poem is classic gothic, and truly haunting (as well as the image which really spooks me every time I see it).
‘Two here on different planes, one not yet free.’ – lines such as this push beyond the gothic stereotype into something deeper, the heart-rending pain of bereavement and loss.
Thank you very much, Ingrid.
I’m pleased you thought this was gothic and haunting. I pleased you singled out those lines because I rewrote them to be more ambiguous–which one of them is not yet free?
Both are deliciously Gothic — poem and art.
Thank you very much, Beverly!
Be joyous, birthday girl, and know in your heart the dark Covid cloud and the Fascist mantle on our government, by your next birthday, both will be nearly gone. I accepted the narrator as a “Him” right off, unless it was a Lesbian tale, that in itself so very Victorian & Gothic .
Thanks so much, Glenn. Yes, I hope things will be much brighter at this time next year despite it being December.
Yes, definitely a him in my mind, but yes, if I were Sarah Waters. . .
“Do I Smile or grimace?” yes.
Happy birthday!!!! I so enjoyed this one specially the opening lines with the mournful sighing. Scary to imagine hearing this kind of grief-filled moans at night.
Have a lovely birthday celebration!
Thank you very much, Grace, for the comment and birthday wishes.
Happy birthday! You’ve captured the ghostly chill of the painting. (K)
Thanks so much, Kerfe.
This gave me an eerie feeling … best descriptors I see above – Gothic and ghostly chill – yes, a haunting chill for me. … More importantly, Happy Birthday!
Thanks so much, Frank. I’m glad it gave you a chill, and thanks for the birthday wishes, too. 😀
Happy birthday, Merril! I hope you had an extra glass of vino. Nice job!
Thank you. Just one glass last night, but I got two bottles as gifts. 😏. And so much food!!😋
Spooky tingling haunting tale. Held mr captive Merril.
Thanks so much, Rob. I’m pleased it did! 😀
Thank you, Claudia.
What a wonderful gothic poem! Loved it…
I’ll Happy Birthday you again 😉
Thank you! 😀
Happy Birthday, Merril! Love your showing off your goth!
Thank you! 😀
The sounds of that memory, haunting…
Yes. . .thank you!
Happy Birthday. Nicely haunting companion to an intriguing image
Thank you very much, Derrick.
Wow, this is stunning and engrossing 🧡
Thank you, Jude. I’m pleased you think so.
This is wonderful Merril; your words have left me spellbound.
Thank you so much, Linda!
Hope your birthday was memorable yesterday! What a spooky poem here, I wasn’t sure what to make of the visitor but enjoyed this thought, “I rise, unsure, do I smile or grimace?” I think the narrator struggles with the curiosity of the unseen, that dark fascination! 😍
Thank you so much, Tricia. I did have a lovely birthday, and I think you’re right about the narrator.
Happy Birthday Merril 🙂
Thank you very much!
Happy late birthday Merril, and thanks for the post! It’s almost themed “vampire” although that word isn’t even used once, that shows how evocative your writing is!
Thank you very much for the birthday wishes and the kind comments about my poem. I’m pleased you like it!
Happy belated birthday, Merril! I like your gothic poem. It has an Edgar Allan Poe feel to it. I like the accompanying painting, too, although at first glance, I thought the figure was a medieval cleric of some kind. 😮
Thank you very much, Liz.
I always think she looks a bit like the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz, but it’s a creepy painting. 😀
You’re welcome, Merril. It is a creepy painting. There’s something off-kilter about it.
Yes, I agree.