Did you know, we have launched a poetry challenge? Write about fear. Write, so we can publish the winner of our October competition on Halloween (31-10-2017). If you need to be inspired, take a close look at the poem of Edgar Allan Poe: The sleeper.
About the poem
Many of you know the poem The raven written by Poe. The sleeper is maybe even better, when it comes to fear. When it comes to death or when it comes to darkness.
Even Poe considered this poem to be better than The raven.
Poe dwells on death and compares it with sleep. One of the classic mistakes one can make, is to call death sleep. This will lead to questions and a desire not to go to sleep. Still, we humans like to compare things. Even things we cannot explain. Death is definitely one of the things in life, we cannot explain. Yes, we know what happens: life stops, it marks the end of a human life. But the need to always describe what happens than and the answers we cannot answer, they give death another dimension.
In the month of June, we find the poet at a graveyard. He describes what he sees: a beautiful lady. Is that the fear? Probably. It is the fear of not only letting go, but also having to doubt the fact that this beauty is dead. There is no waking up, even if the poet thinks this might just happen.
At midnight, in the month of June,
I stand beneath the mystic moon.
An opiate vapor, dewy, dim,
Exhales from out her golden rim,
And softly dripping, drop by drop,
Upon the quiet mountain top,
Steals drowsily and musically
Into the universal valley.
The rosemary nods upon the grave;
The lily lolls upon the wave;
Wrapping the fog about its breast,
The ruin moulders into rest;
Looking like Lethe, see! the lake
A conscious slumber seems to take,
And would not, for the world, awake.
All Beauty sleeps!—and lo! where lies
Irene, with her Destinies!
Oh, lady bright! can it be right—
This window open to the night?
The wanton airs, from the tree-top,
Laughingly through the lattice drop—
The bodiless airs, a wizard rout,
Flit through thy chamber in and out,
And wave the curtain canopy
So fitfully—so fearfully—
Above the closed and fringéd lid
’Neath which thy slumb’ring soul lies hid,
That, o’er the floor and down the wall,
Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall!
Oh, lady dear, hast thou no fear?
Why and what art thou dreaming here?
Sure thou art come o’er far-off seas,
A wonder to these garden trees!
Strange is thy pallor! strange thy dress!
Strange, above all, thy length of tress,
And this all solemn silentness!
The lady sleeps! Oh, may her sleep,
Which is enduring, so be deep!
Heaven have her in its sacred keep!
This chamber changed for one more holy,
This bed for one more melancholy,
I pray to God that she may lie
Forever with unopened eye,
While the pale sheeted ghosts go by!
My love, she sleeps! Oh, may her sleep,
As it is lasting, so be deep!
Soft may the worms about her creep!
Far in the forest, dim and old,
For her may some tall vault unfold—
Some vault that oft hath flung its black
And wingéd pannels fluttering back,
Triumphant, o’er the crested palls
Of her grand family funerals—
Some sepulchre, remote, alone,
Against whose portals she hath thrown,
In childhood, many an idle stone—
Some tomb from out whose sounding door
She ne’er shall force an echo more,
Thrilling to think, poor child of sin!
It was the dead who groaned within.
— Edgar Allan Poe
Remember, you can enter your poems for our Poetry Challenge too! Read more!