I started this poem many years ago and could never finish it. Finally, two weeks ago, I did it. It reflects my interest in all things macabre and supernatural – and my love for writing poetry with intricate rhyming. To me the music of a poem is just as important as the story it tells. The lines have to sing.
(or, An Interesting Take on Writer’s Block)
The mists had come, the night was still
the moon was sick and shy,
The sun had set but still its blood
was dripping on the sky.
And at her desk she took her plume
and dipped it in her ink,
The virgin page was panting
in its eagerness to drink.
The hours passed, the flame grew low
but still the page was white –
She lit the lamp, pulled back the latch
and slipped into the night.
She pressed her notebook to her breast
and prayed beneath her breath
She whispered through the cobbled streets
that wore the mask of death.
And just inside the city wall
she paused lest she should swoon
The nauseous air clung to her lips
as she whispered to the moon:
“I do not ask for riches
or for love, or worldly gain;
I ask only that you grant this wish
‘fore I see the sun again:
I long to write for heaven’s angels
Of faithfulness and hope
and the purity of love;
But my Muse has grown silent
and she hides her lovely face;
I implore thee! Light my path,
and lead me to her hiding place!”
She shivered as the night appeared
to tremble, then grow still,
A pale wind caressed her ear
then whispered, “As you will…”
And slowly, as a starving cur
limps blindly to obey
A single queasy stain of light
appeared to guide the way.
It led her through the city gate
and as it bid her follow
Her beating heart grew weak and slow
and her breath came quick and hollow.
It cost but half an endless hour
to leave her life behind her,
The barren notebook in her hand
the solitary reminder.
And then, the sickly light was still
and fear and passion mated
For in the dark and cursèd night
a silent figure waited…
“O Blessèd Muse!” She swooned, then fell
Her notebook fell before her,
She raised her eyes and formed the words
with which she would implore her.
But words froze, strangled in her throat
The Heavens screamed above her
The figure reached out, pulled her close
and whispered like a lover:
“Dear écrivaine, you’ve been deceived,
Your quest is sore misguided,
‘Twas not your Muse who held your pen
and to your soul confided;
Your gentle Muse is but a dream
that quickly fades on waking
Your life depends not on her kiss
but on that dream forsaking
‘Twas I who breathed upon your page
and filled your soul with glory;
‘Twas I who wooed you here tonight
to pen a different story.
Come write for me, bound by my love,
Your worldly ties all sever!
Oh come, die but a little death
and thou shalt live forever.”
The Heavens wept, the moon cried out,
The stars all hid their faces,
And Legions from the depths of Hell
arose to take their places.
Her maiden breast he then laid bare
She moaned, and bid him plunder
His urgent lips seduced her throat
then ripped her flesh asunder.
And as her life dripped out of her
red ink o’erflowed his well,
He filled his pen, then lifted her
and stole her off to Hell.
And so to you, my author friend
I offer now this warning:
If, in the deathly midnight hours
you long to write ‘til morning,
And if you call upon your Muse
to fill your well and slake you
But still your page lies white and pure
and words and hope forsake you,
Search not for her outside your door;
Let the dawn find you alive
For better to have writer’s block
than become the Devil’s scrive.