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The Poetry Room 2: Dark Poems

        Abby's Room © Sara L. Russell, 3rd July, 2002. In Abby's room the shadows slowly spin deforming and re-forming in the air shape-shifting with the subtlety of djinn enveloping her dolls, and tattered bear. In Abby's room a chair stands up askance revolving in a stately arabesque, grim faces come and go where dust motes dance, as unseen hands open and close the desk. The door is always locked to Abby's room, All sudden noise is left as unexplained, No cut flowers in this house will ever bloom, Rarely are any house guests entertained. When darkness writhes, when silence seems to roar, Tread cautiously when passing Abby's door. The Book of Samothrace © by Sara L. Russell inspired by the painting by Barry Windsor-Smith I "My dearest, sweetest love" the Baron said, "Now that we two affianced souls are one, What's mine is thine, for joy that we are wed And through this house I bid thee freely run. Enjoy the drawing room, the stately hall, The bedchamber where thee and I shall play; The blue room for each annual summer ball, All draped in swags of blue and silver grey; Enjoy the music room, my fine spinet, The gilded harpsichord that sweetly sings, With music to dispel all past regret - Thou hast free rein of all my treasured things. But go with caution to the library, And only ever in my company." II With that, the Baron shewed her all around His mighty chambers, all the corridors; The quarters where the servants could be found, The painted ceilings and mosaic floors. The library he shewed her last of all; The key hung on his chest, on a gold chain. The secrecy thereof held her in thrall; It seemed the library was his domain. "Love, touch ye not the Book of Samothrace, Don't venture to the pages held inside! For when the sun hath turned about its face, Malevolence finds shadow lands to hide! The pages of our lives are clean and bright, The Book of Samothrace is endless night!" III "My handsome sweetheart" Said the Baroness, I'm humbled by thy generosity, And when my maid has helped me from this dress, Thou shalt discern how grateful I can be. Thou gavest jewels for my neck and hair That shine as well by day or candlelight; And I shall kiss thee all and everywhere - Prepare for not a wink of sleep tonight!" With that, she led him to their master bed, Undressed and pressed him down on sheepskin furs; There proving true to everything she said Till he declared his soul forever hers. Anon, with trembling lips and blissful sighs, Yielding to sleep, the Baron closed his eyes. IV How eloquent is beauty in repose The Baroness reflected, as he lay With lips half-open, like a dewy rose, His night-black hair in tousled disarray; And in the central furrow of his chest One hand lay, as if half-protectively, Next to the key more treasured than the rest - The one that could unlock the library. "Love touch ye not The Book of Samothrace" She heard her love's words echo in her head. Remembering, her heart began to race, That such forbidden pages might be read. Thus, yielding unto curiosity, She let her fingers tiptoe to the key... V The golden catch was easy to undo, Seconds before the Baron turned away In blissful dreams of love. He never knew How vicious time was leading fate astray. The key was gone, while in the corridor, His wife was creeping, ever-stealthily, Drawn to the library's beguiling door, Enchanted by base curiosity. Only one lamp revealed the tall bookshelves Which bore the most illustrious of tomes; Huge hide-bound celebrations of themselves Where God and science found unequal homes. Herein her questing fingers came to trace The cover of The Book of Samothrace. VI An ancient script met her enchanted gaze, Whose Foreword mentioned a young sorcerer: The fabled author of this book of days And book of spells, unfolding now for her. The spells were fashioned with one grand design, To be recited in a secret place, To call upon a spirit most malign - A terrible demon, named Samothrace. "...And mighty magick shall infuse the one Who looks the longest in the daemon's eyes; Undreamed-of power, burning like the sun, With insights into Hell and Paradise. Go to the garden seat and draw the ring, Be seated and begin the summoning!" VII If hindsight were the author of our fate We might find ways to live with less regret. The Baron woke to realise, too late, The secrets of his book were safer kept. 'Twere better had he mentioned not at all The Book of Samothrace, so markedly, For now she did not answer to his call - He guessed she must be in the library. He raced downstairs to find the door ajar, The Book of Samothrace had gone astray, Into the garden, yet it seemed too far - He tried to walk, his legs would not obey. Beyond the French door glass, a dreadful sight Had rendered him immobile, mute with fright. VIII His wife sat rigid on the garden seat, Her hair splayed like a sea anemone, With a wine chalice lying at her feet, Her mouth was open, screaming silently. A doppelganger, like in every way, Unto his mistress, with red splayed-out hair Was screaming, still he could not turn away To flee the image of her wild-eyed stare. As time stood still, the Book of Samothrace Floating on air, was burning by her side, Eerie green smoke began to veil her face The earth within the circle opened wide. Out sprang the demon, withered, smoky-grey, With cruel teeth and eyes as bright as day. IX Hereby the demon Samothrace was freed, A great evil unleashed upon mankind, That all life must remember how to bleed Within a world grown dark and mercy-blind. The terrible futility of war Decay and all the tyranny of flies Futility and struggle, all the poor, A hidden curse on every new sunrise. "Love, touch ye not The Book of Samothrace, Don't venture to the pages held inside" The Baron, frozen still in giving chase, Watched and remembered, grieving for his bride. The book, having now caused the demon's birth Fell deep into the chasm in the earth. PROWLER © Sara L. Russell 20:51 15/08/2007 I stand in the space between darkness and light, between thinking and doing emboldened by hate; I lurk in the place where the soul perceives fright, a dread demon, persuing down hallways of fate. I see you alone with your frozen-wide stare caught in the thin glow of one candle flame; mere flesh and bone and with fright-bristled hair... I wait at your window, I whisper your name.

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