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POEM — Marriage of the Eldritch Tales

Written with a nod to the style and content of the classic Eldritch Tales, this poem plays with patterning as events unfold, maintaining pacing and holding a modern reader’s interests. Thanks Carly for this one.

 

*

Weary and crumbl’d, castle walls surround me,

Hard stone, now fallen away;

Left for a hundred years, a score,

Abandoned,

Save for this wandering soldier,

Not lost, but seeking his ever more.

 

I pressed in, amid decaying ruin

Bush and briar crowding ‘round,

Now, long overgrown;

And passing through them

I was scratched –

By the thorn’d cobbled stone.

 

Blood streamed down my hands and thighs,

And I, did pause

Staunching flow as best I can;

And heard – a voice,

— strange and beautiful, echo off the stone

She beseeched me, calling for me;

But one in all the land –

She called, entreating

Drawing onward;

Her voice was my command.

 

The stories told me,

To be cautious –

But fear, now thrown aside;

I continued, pacing faster,

Sought out my heart’s delight.

 

My bloodied hands, now held aloft, away from briar’s reach,

I pressed onward, hands held high,

And preventing further harm;

Seeking mystery, I continued, pushing further on.

From the turrets, a nesting family

Of darkish rooks, called hoarsely,

Crumbl’d ruins echoing alarm.

 

And yet –

Branches seemed to part around me,

Thorn’d briar trembled, mov’d with subtle grace;

Roses bobbed and scattered petals,

Red droplets stained the floor;

And still pursuing, endless seeking

I sought my ever more.

 

With soft caresses, brush eased aside,

As I passed by; tangled briar

Now no longer blocking path;

But, instead, waving onward,

Seemed to beckon,

Entreated my behalf.

 

The door appeared, I’m sure it did

Where none was there before,

And at that moment the rooks

High-stationed,

Set up their clamour’d roar.

 

The door stood waiting,

As though for me,

And only me alone;

Seizing the handle, I did push it;

Creaking, ancient timber shuddered,

And iron’d-hinges groaned.

 

And as it opened the silence struck me

— Quiet as a crypt

Then I saw her – it was she,

Hidden in the night,

The one I’d heard of, countless tales;

In that moment, door swung open,

I saw, my heart’s most truth,

— delight.

 

She stood buried in the shadows,

Dark hair tangled ‘round her worn face,

She’d been waiting, endless waiting

— a millennium or more;

And as I stepped in, further,

The rooks gave up a final, fearful roar.

 

As I stepped in, the gloom wrapped ‘round,

She shrank back;

And door slammed in from behind;

She hissed – her terror causing, leaping,

— sparking

Panick’d through my mind.

 

She stared at me, luscious creature

With eyes of ambered haze,

And hair hanging in wild tangles

About her wearied face;

 

Raising a single finger to her

Red, red lips of rose –

She implored me

Without speaking,

Nary a single word –

 

Join her – in isolation

Together we as one;

Souls bound for all eternity,

Shadow’d existence, for forever,

Amid thorn’d cobbled stone.

 

I tried to talk – God knows I did,

But what the use is speech

To a creature, surpassing centuries

Barely living – or undead?

 

She hissed, and wavered, and

Implored again, with a

Silent threat –

 

Those eyes beseeched me,

Ripe with warning,

I hung my head, and shied;

 

Glancing upward,

I caught her smile,

Sharp fangs gleaming wide

 

And stepping forward

I surrendered,

And met my newfound bride.

 

*

Carly Zee is a writer and dreamer of strange things. Her work appears online in different forms and places, including Scriggler and Shot Glass Journal. You can reach Carly through https://carlyzee.wordpress.com/

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