Poetry and nightmares. A combination that goes well together. Even I write about my nightmares from time to time and I am not the only one. Expressing your thoughts about those bad dreams is something that many poets have done and stil do. This article is all about nightmares. Not that I hope you will dream unpleasant tonight.
Let’s kick it off with the French poet Charles Baudelaire. Even though he wrote these words so many years ago (Baudelaire was born in 1821 and died in 1867), these words still have a huge impact on the reader. At least, they did so for me.
The dance of death
Carrying bouquet, and handkerchief, and gloves,
Proud of her height as when she lived, she moves
With all the careless and high-stepping grace,
And the extravagant courtesan’s thin face.
Was slimmer waist e’er in a ball-room wooed?
Her floating robe, in royal amplitude,
Falls in deep folds around a dry foot, shod
With a bright flower-like shoe that gems the sod.
The swarms that hum about her collar-bones
As the lascivious streams caress the stones,
Conceal from every scornful jest that flies,
Her gloomy beauty; and her fathomless eyes
Are made of shade and void; with flowery sprays
Her skull is wreathed artistically, and sways,
Feeble and weak, on her frail vertebrae.
O charm of nothing decked in folly! they
Who laugh and name you a Caricature,
They see not, they whom flesh and blood allure,
The nameless grace of every bleached, bare bone,
That is most dear to me, tall skeleton!
Come you to trouble with your potent sneer
The feast of Life! or are you driven here,
To Pleasure’s Sabbath, by dead lusts that stir
And goad your moving corpse on with a spur?
Or do you hope, when sing the violins,
And the pale candle-flame lights up our sins,
To drive some mocking nightmare far apart,
And cool the flame hell lighted in your heart?
Fathomless well of fault and foolishness!
Eternal alembic of antique distress!
Still o’er the curved, white trellis of your sides
The sateless, wandering serpent curls and glides.
And truth to tell, I fear lest you should find,
Among us here, no lover to your mind;
Which of these hearts beat for the smile you gave?
The charms of horror please none but the brave.
Your eyes’ black gulf, where awful broodings stir,
Brings giddiness; the prudent reveller
Sees, while a horror grips him from beneath,
The eternal smile of thirty-two white teeth.
For he who has not folded in his arms
A skeleton, nor fed on graveyard charms,
Recks not of furbelow, or paint, or scent,
When Horror comes the way that Beauty went.
O irresistible, with fleshless face,
Say to these dancers in their dazzled race:
“Proud lovers with the paint above your bones,
Ye shall taste death, musk scented skeletons!
Withered Antino?s, dandies with plump faces,
Ye varnished cadavers, and grey Lovelaces,
Ye go to lands unknown and void of breath,
Drawn by the rumour of the Dance of Death.
From Seine’s cold quays to Ganges’ burning stream,
The mortal troupes dance onward in a dream;
They do not see, within the opened sky,
The Angel’s sinister trumpet raised on high.
In every clime and under every sun,
Death laughs at ye, mad mortals, as ye run;
And oft perfumes herself with myrrh, like ye
And mingles with your madness, irony!”
Death and sleep are connected. I think it has to do with the fact that someone who died may look like they are sleeping. To my humble opinion death has nothing to do with sleep. The worst mistake you can make as a parent is to tell young children that de diceased is sleeping. This doesn’t really help, when they have to go to bed. In the case of my two children, I didn’t make this remark.
Moving on to more things to tell about these nightly hours, I came across a poem by Edward Taylor. Even though he talks about Jesus, it’s not unthinkable that this Jesus is actually a person, instead of the man from the Bible.
Jesus got up one day a little later than usual. He had been dream-
ing so deep there was nothing left in his head. What was it?
A nightmare, dead bodies walking all around him, eyes rolled
back, skin falling off. But he wasn’t afraid of that. It was a beau-
tiful day. How ’bout some coffee? Don’t mind if I do. Take a little
ride on my donkey, I love that donkey. Hell, I love everybody.
You have to understand, that the text above isn’t goofed up or something. This is how the poem is supposed to be.
The final poem I want to quote, well it’s actually one of my own poems. This one I wrote a few days ago.
Cold ands dark, sight
For a second or three
I can feel a cold hand, touching me
Shivering from fright,
I wake up with cold sweat
not able to forget.
As I turn to my side,
I see you, eyes wide open,
my beautiful bride
Asking me with fear in your voice,
if this was my choice
To wake you up by touching,
without a warning
With my fingers cold as frost.
Then you scream out in fear
as you see my hands are crossed,
yelling then at me, who else is here.
And now, it’s time for your poem! Share the poem so that we can publish your work on our website.