Thursday, October 13, 2016

Real Poetry Is A Haunted House

[to Edith Sitwell]

real poetry is a haunted house
said the princess. looking over her shoulder;
drenched in the fabled rains.

"who among all these ghosts,"
cried she (at the clavichord formerly)
in her last velvets, reverie-

"could not help but be
numbered among the musical,
I ask Thee".

oh stand in the castle door;
that's all that's left
besides the wild grasses.


whispered the Princess
and none to hear.
"real poetry is the haunted house"

she murmured to leafmold
and to the ancient spores;
the stars swung in

their windy chandeliers=
and none, and naught to fear-

"the saints must live in,
or else, turn, out of doors".

mary angela douglas 13 october  2016

P.S. This poem was written when an obscured (as the moon is obscured by clouds) fragment of Emily Dickinson's line half floated in, with me knowing only someone somewhere said something related to this. It is a musical transposition of it. The line from Emily is:

“Nature is a Haunted House - but Art - a House that tries to be haunted.” —Emily Dickinson

Well, her poetry was always haunted; she didn't have to try though she was too modest to realize or say that. The poem is dedicated to Edith Sitwell because the music of it and the odd imagery resembles that period of her poetry that seemed to be coming from a different century or even speaking from an ancient tapestry on a moldy castle wall and also was written under the influence of two documentaries I saw of Irish and Scottish castles recently with the living images of ruins in some cases, only the door and a few walls left of the original structure, and the weeds grown up around this. I also thought of Hans Andersen's The Princess and the Pea as it is sometimes theatrically presented with the Princess showing up at the castle door pre-test having walked through soaking rains.