The Muse: The CASE for 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;

My plea is that you grant this wish

‘fore I see the sun again:

I long to write for heaven’s angels

listening above,

Of faithfulness and hope

and of 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 dawn find you alive

For better to have writer’s block

than become the Devil’s scrive.

-Patricia Bell

2 thoughts on “A Halloween Poem for Writers

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