Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hell

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

2 Comments:

Blogger NJH said...

Paul,

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.

N

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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.

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11:04 pm  

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