Eldritch

You wait for the third hoot
of owl to flutter down
the chimney but the only sound
to gild the shadows
is the silence of moonlight, broken
only by the slap of feet
across the kitchen floor.

Through the back-door window,
the wind waltzes with the willow,
the one-two-three
ghost steps of branches
rustle on the other side of the pane.
You’re watching
for those eldritch shapes again.

Pebbles scattered on the path
are made midnight by the moonlight,
and river ink composes
nightmares in the reeds,
plays havoc with the toads
and spills secrets under hump-
backed bridges.

You step into the garden, sacrilegious
in your longing to play shadow games with witches.

Kim M. Russell, 8th November 2018

Image result for hieronymus bosch creepy owls pinterest
Hieronymus Bosch  – image found on Pinterest

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar: Metaphors

Björn is our host this Thursday and he reminds us that one of the most important things in poetry is the use of unique metaphors. He also reminds us what a metaphor does:

  • states that one thing is another thing
  • equates two things not because they are the same but because there is a symbolic resemblance or comparison

and that it can be used not only in poetry but also in other texts and in day-to-day speech, which means that language is filled with metaphors that have become idioms and clichés, which means that the poet is always on a quest find unique metaphors.

Which is what Björn would like us to do: take words and things around us and try to equate them to something symbolic such as an emotion, or the description of a person. To make them unique, he wants us to fill the imagery with descriptions and, when we have a few descriptions, we should equate them to something abstract such a sense of love or another person’s rage, and then build a poem around them. He says that we can also combine our metaphors with other techniques, for example using two contradicting metaphors or a negation can make for very interesting poetry.

We can use any form (or lack of form) except forms that actually ‘prohibit’ metaphors, such as haiku.

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44 thoughts on “Eldritch

  1. The word ‘eldritch’ is full of poetry on its own! Great that you flushed that one out … and wonderful imagery here. Love the ‘sound of the moon’s silence gilding shadows’ in particular and the ‘river ink’. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Part Poe, part Emily D.–this piece is delicious and dark, teetering on delirium, and it is a solid macabre read. Love me a /humpbacked bridge/. Like several others , you had me at the /river ink composing nightmares in the reeds/–great word-smithing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A wonderful and enthralling incantation, bridging fear into longing and then union with the sacred dark. This is altogether one world all together, even as we step out into its boundaries unfamiliar to us not because of space, but rather experience. And we find these layers filled with the lives of familiars after all. I feel the same realizations in the beauty of Psalm 139:

    11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
    12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

    I love your powerful synesthetic silence of the moonlight and oh! Those shadows. Also love the Bosch. So well done Kim, we all have a little wonderful witch in us. 🖤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this – I am indulging in a little fit of line envy- three excellent complementary images in one sentence! Like how the whole poem leads up to that enigmatic ending so beautifully- is the sacrilegep simply playing desiring to play with witches or teasing them with shadow games?

    river ink composes
    nightmares in the reeds,
    plays havoc with the toads
    and spills secrets under hump-
    backed bridges.

    Also appreciated how well this pairs with HB’s painting.

    Liked by 1 person

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