Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Husks, rags and bones, waste-paper, excrement,
Denied a soul whether for good or evil
And casually consigned to unfulfilment,
Are pronged into his bag by the great-devil.

Or words, over and over and over,
Until their sense sickens and all but dies,
These the same fellow like a ghoulish lover
Will lay his hands upon and hypnotise.

From husks and rags and waste and excrement
He forms the pavement-feet and the lift-faces;
He steers the sick words into parliament
To rule a dust-bin world with deep-sleep phrases.

When healthy words or people chance to dine
Together in this rarely actual scene,
There is a love-taste in the bread and wine,
Nor is it asked: 'Do you mean what you mean?'

But to their table-converse boldly comes
The same great-devil with his brush and tray,
To conjure plump loaves from the scattered crumbs,
And feed his false five thousands day by day.

—Robert Graves


Blogger NJH said...


This is evidently a political poem rather than horror - I take no element of what could be construed as horror from this. Why did you think it did? there doesn't even seem to be a horrified tone in the N's voice - it seems more resigned and fatalistic.



9:52 pm  
Blogger Caratacus said...

The banal, dusty horror of Reality/Hell, encated in imagery that suggests disease/decay/horror: death, excrement, ghoulish lover, sick language, 'a dust-bin world with deep-sleep phrases' zombie-like, evil illusions--I think there's enough here to qualify as horror in our wider sense, and to suggest the range we are interested in.


11:04 pm  

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