Tag Archives: haunted

“Haunted” by Siegfried Sassoon

Gustave Doré

Gustave Doré

Evening was in the wood, louring with storm.
A time of drought had sucked the weedy pool
And baked the channels; birds had done with song.
Thirst was a dream of fountains in the moon,
Or willow-music blown across the water
Leisurely sliding on by weir and mill.

Uneasy was the man who wandered, brooding,
His face a little whiter than the dusk.
A drone of sultry wings flicker’d in his head.
The end of sunset burning thro’ the boughs
Died in a smear of red; exhausted hours
Cumber’d, and ugly sorrows hemmed him in.

He thought: ‘Somewhere there’s thunder,’ as he strove
To shake off dread; he dared not look behind him,
But stood, the sweat of horror on his face.

He blunder’d down a path, trampling on thistles,
In sudden race to leave the ghostly trees.
And: ‘Soon I’ll be in open fields,’ he thought,
And half remembered starlight on the meadows,
Scent of mown grass and voices of tired men,
Fading along the field-paths; home and sleep
And cool-swept upland spaces, whispering leaves,
And far off the long churring night-jar’s note.

But something in the wood, trying to daunt him,
Led him confused in circles through the thicket.
He was forgetting his old wretched folly,
And freedom was his need; his throat was choking.
Barbed brambles gripped and clawed him round his legs,
And he floundered over snags and hidden stumps.
Mumbling: ‘I will get out! I must get out!’
Butting and thrusting up the baffling gloom,
Pausing to listen in a space ’twixt thorns,
He peers around with peering, frantic eyes.

An evil creature in the twilight looping,
Flapped blindly in his face. Beating it off,
He screeched in terror, and straightway something clambered
Heavily from an oak, and dropped, bent double,
To shamble at him zigzag, squat and bestial.

Headlong he charges down the wood, and falls
With roaring brain—agony—the snap’t spark—
And blots of green and purple in his eyes.
Then the slow fingers groping on his neck,
And at his heart the strangling clasp of death.

I wanted to find a good “horror” poem that was not written by Edgar Allan Poe, so I did a web search and found this one. I was totally unfamiliar with Sassoon, so I did not have any expectations. I have to say, I really found this poem powerful, haunting, and well-written.

I see this as symbolic of someone who is haunted by memories of his past, most likely something deeply traumatic. He has kept his pain locked inside, and this pain is represented by the forest in which he wanders. He keeps thinking that he will eventually find a clearing, a place of reprieve from his inner torment, which is symbolized by the “open fields” and “meadows.” But it never happens. The vines and brambles of his memory snag him and hold him in the past. Demons that haunt his psyche swoop down on him. Eventually, he dies, carrying with him the burden of his suffering.

While this is certainly a grim poem, it should be looked at as a warning. We all carry guilt, pain, and suffering. But what is important is that we do not keep that pain hidden inside us. When we do, it grows and morphs into nightmares which haunt us psychologically, and the longer we keep those secrets hidden inside us, the sicker we become, until they ultimately consume us.

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Witchblade Issue 161

Witchblade_Issue161

This was kind of an interesting issue. On one hand I really liked it, but then it left me feeling like there is something missing. Maybe this was intentional on the part of the writer. It is sort of a stand-alone tale, but it also ties in with other sub-plots and also ends with “To Be Continued.” I guess I will have to read the next issue to see how things resolve.

In this installment, Sara gets hired by a young, accomplished, professional woman who thinks she might be haunted. Sara discovers that the spirit of the woman’s twin sister is in fact watching over her. This twin spirit is covered with tattoos, which have a mystical power.

What intrigued me about this issue was the spiritual bond between the twin sisters. I have experienced spiritual connections with other people and I believe that the closer you are to a person, the stronger that spiritual connection. I can only imagine how intense that connection must be in the case of twins.

That’s about all I have to say regarding this issue. It was very good, but like I said, it left me feeling somewhat uncertain. I am curious to find out what happens next in the saga. I’ll let you know as soon as I acquire the next issue and read it. Cheers!

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“The Haunted Palace” by Edgar Allan Poe

EdgarAllanPoeI had never read this poem before, but the title seemed like it would be appropriate for one of my October posts. I found it to be excellent. The poem is not very long, but too long to include in this post, so if needed, click here to read it online before continuing.

I interpret the haunted palace as a metaphor for the mind of a depressed individual slipping into insanity. In the first stanza, Poe makes the connection between the palace and the mind of a person when he refers to the palace as “Thought’s dominion.”

Once a fair and stately palace—
Radiant palace—reader its head.
In the monarch Thought’s dominion—
It stood there!

A series of events occur which cause intense sorrow. One can only assume that they are connected to the death of a loved one. These sorrows take their toll on the individual’s psyche, resulting in overwhelming despair.

But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch’s high estate.

Poe uses the symbol of windows to represent the eyes of the individual. He also ties in the idea of the eyes as windows to the psyche, whereby looking into the eyes of the person, you can see into their being. Poe contrasts the way the eyes appear. The first reference to the “windows” is before the plunge into depression.

Wanderers in that happy valley,
Through two luminous windows, saw
Spirits moving musically,
To a lute’s well-tuned law,

In the next reference, after the person has sunk into despair, the eyes become bloodshot and reflect the painful memories that crowd the brain.

And travellers now, within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms, that move fantastically
To a discordant melody,

The last four lines of the poem are what lead me to believe that the person is moving from depression to insanity. It is the laughter, described as hideous and void of mirth, that conjures an image of a madman laughing as the last remnants of sanity are washed away.

While, like a ghastly rapid river,
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever
And laugh—but smile no more.

I find the idea of slipping into insanity to be incredibly scary. It can happen to anyone. The mind is fragile and a series of events beyond one’s control can send even the soundest of minds spiraling into the abyss. The fact that this can happen to anyone is what makes it a truly terrifying work of horror.

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