Fridays in Verse: Take me to hell

I like writing poems about the failed promise of the afterlife. Sue me. I also like to steal the rhyme scheme of Yeats' poem "The Mask" which is my favorite of all time, and you should all go read it now because it's beautiful and dark.  Go.  Read it.  Now.

This first one comes to us all the way from 2009.  

If you would seek Avalon, turn back
Seek shelter in the raging storm
Your eyes may burn, your skeleton crack
But though your body grind to ash
Untried your soul won’t come to harm.
The lasting wound is not the gash
Of sword or brand, recalls offense
Once earned, concealed, where mental lashes
Find no balm, but that they burn
At every touch, destroying sense.
Gold Eden promises to turn
Mind’s ache to joy, and heal both brain
And body—if you merely spurn
Your life and limb, choose loneliness,
Embrace despair, for later gain. 
Destroy yourself, for heaven’s bliss
If sure your loss will earn your fate
For Earth’s content in vain you’ll miss
To find Forever made of glass
Where piety trades cruel real for naught,
Unconscious tomb for ivory gate.  

Oh hey, this was also from 2009 and on the same subtext. 

Come sweetly, soft, and do tread lightly, dear.
Cruel thorns will tear your brow, your feet, your hair,
Sly rocks your ankles twist; no longer near
The sun, but frozen brambles, trees stripped bare,
Mud-choked the stream where even serpents fear
To sift.  Not e’en the frown of winter wear
The mountains’ mouths, but fleshless faces’ leer
O’er changeless plains, shaved of the seasons’ hair. 
These Nature’s bones, too long less hands to rear
Too-tender seeds, the phantom portraits bear
From careless youth, when dyads danced to hear
Spring’s feet approach out Hades’ new-shut lair. 
Lay down with me where late the stern frontier
By our hand smiled, ‘til absence wrought despair
To wilt our Eden, change our bed to bier. 
Our home we scorned to tend, your fate we share!
Our glass eyes other keepers bid beware,
That untilled soil can naught but tombs prepare. 
But let them know that we were happy here.  

The third was written last Saturday.  

The river runs in darkness where the spirits sleep.
You skirt the bank with feeble heart
Who baubled offerings scantly reap
Or faintly start. 

No tiptoe can but fail surmount a steely peak
Without a slip. Fear not the chill
Of Charon’s hand, for him you seek
Then warm you will.

Forget Elysia and still your craven’s call.
Your footsteps scrawled this dusky trail
That whisked you crawling to your fall.
Alone, we fail. 


  1. These are interesting poems to read. I don't normally go for poems similar to these (ones of old, even though it is modern if follows them similarly). But I liked the way they flowed out when reading them. There was a nice music to it, and that's what poetry is about! :D

    1. Aw, thanks so much! I don't claim to be any great poet--I do it for fun, really. But if I have any talent at it, it's at writing things that sound old. I've tried more modern free verse but I'm just not very good at it. Maybe I'll post some of those though, and you with your better-trained eye can judge. ;)