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May 26, 2011
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It doesn't matter that I can't see your eyes, love.
I've already memorized the deep azure,
and if I stare deeply into the night sky above
I can find their hue, their shimmer in the twinkling starlight.

So it is of little matter that they remain closed
as I lie beside you on your bed of satin,
twisting my fingers through your long, dark hair.
It is longer than when I last saw you,
as you drew shallow, shaky breaths, and I drew you against me,
your frail form clutching with feeble strength
before they took you away.

They didn't want us together, love, you see.
So they hid you away from me, tried to tell me you were gone.
But I knew they lied - you would never leave me.
I heard you calling my name,
summoning me back to you, drawing me to your bed.
Your image haunting my steps until I found your face again:
so pale now - I remember how you used to blush
when I touched you like this; but not anymore.
Now I know you long for it - you're so cold.

So I exhale warm breath against your face
And for a moment, I swear I see you shiver.
You are changed, and yet still beautiful.
I do not hate the pallor that rests upon your features;
I hate the blood that runs beneath my own.
If you could, I know you would reach up,
rake those long, long nails down my back,
draw forth the blood taken from your veins -
would it soak through your skin, returning its scarlet flush?
Would it wake your frozen heart?

Your scent is no longer of lilac, but of earth.
But still it is yours, and I inhale it deeply
as I press my hips into yours.
I did not fall in love with lilac.
I did not fall in love with plump, crimson lips
now withered blue, against my own.
Nor the soft swell of your breast, crumbling beneath my fingers,
nor the curve of your hip, jagged, illumined by moonlight.
No, I fell in love with your spirit, and your spirit is here,
laughing gently in my ear, as I stroke your thighs, back and forth.

You did not chose this fate, this form, how can I fault you?
Did you think I'd abandon you here,
would leave you cold, without my touch to warm you?

Must I fend off the advances of angels
seeking to carry you off in their feathered grasp?
Heaven has angels enough, they shall not have mine!
Am I damned, for keeping you here with me?
Let me be damned then, for I would sooner be damned than parted from you.
No force on heaven or earth shall tear us apart;
no matter how the angels whisper to you, or the devils to me.
No matter how the earth cruelly steals you from me, piece by piece
and I feel you decay in my arms,
and know that I will love the dust of your bones
long after my own have lain to rest.
When nothing remains of your earthly visage,
I shall recall your smile, long after my own has turned to ash.

My heart needn't beat, to belong to you.
And yours needn't beat, to beckon me.
Because really, what could be more romantic?


Okay, begin ridiculously long Artist Comments, because I know an explanation is in order. ^^;

First of all, this was written for :iconlacoterie:’s “Taboos & Transgressions”contest. The taboo I decided to explore is necrophilia. Also mental illness and the supernatural, though the supernatural has never been a taboo for me, even if it is for some people.

I feel the need to point out that the reason this is not more explicit is NOT because I couldn't bring myself to write it or anything - I would have preferred to have maybe made it a bit more overt, actually, but technically, dA policy prohibits any depiction of intercourse, so I can't bring myself to risk getting banned. I would be heartbroken. If you want to read more about the policy, here it is. But be warned - it's graphic. FAQ #565: You prohibit the submission of 'pornographic imagery'; what do you consider this to be?

I likely chose this subject because several months ago I was searching online for a copy of Edgar Allen Poe’s poem Annabel Lee and ran across a scholarly paper on it, which said that the poem contains “shades of necrophilia”. My first thought upon reading that was that “Shades of Necrophilia” would make an awesome name for an indie goth band; my second thought was “Huh. Really? I never noticed that”. I’m no Poe scholar, but I suppose that interpretation is valid, to an extent. Certainly not the point of the poem, but I can definitely see how a reader could get that impression.

Then I was browsing dA for Wuthering Heights fan art (there really isn’t enough) and came across a lovely drawing (which I would totally link to, but I think the artist might not appreciate that) which included in the artist comments the following words: “It must be nice, to have that sort of companionship. Except for the fact that, you know, your significant other is a vengeful maniac who spend his time digging up your grave and gazing lovingly into your coffin.” to which I replied “Oh come on, who doesn’t want their significant other to gaze lovingly into their coffin?” I was only half-joking. There is something oddly romantic about it.

Then of course there are the multitude of songs that skirt around this issue - "Even In Death" and "Like You" by Evanescence come to mind. So clearly there’s a lot of loving-coffin-gazing going on in art, but it always stays behind a certain line. So…I crossed the line.

The real issue at heart here though is the idea of "true love". In certain ways, we are encouraged to love deeply, desperately, eternally. And yet, those of us who actually do love that deeply are often viewed as strange, obsessive and even crazy. The young widow or widower who never again marries. The shunned high school sweetheart who never truly loves again. The lover who returns again and again to the partner who inevitably takes them for granted and breaks their heart. I'm firmly in the love should be forever camp (though I don't think the narrator is going about it in the best way), and I find this societal duality sad, yet interesting to explore.

It’s first and foremost a love poem, though I tried to make it equal parts romantic, tragic, and creepy. How did I do with that? I know it’s very dramatic, especially toward the end, but I was taking inspiration from the Gothic Romantic writers, who were heavy on the drama. And besides, you’d kind of have to be dramatic to go to the lengths of digging up your beloved’s corpse. And even though I didn’t have this in mind while I was writing it, reading it over I can conceivably see Heathcliff doing something like this. (Emily Bronte please don’t haunt me!) Actually do. That would be all kinds of awesome. Poe, too. It’ll be a party. ;)

Okay, none of that is helping my case for sanity so I guess I’ll stop here. PLEASE tell me what you think. I’m desperately curious.

Thanks for reading. :heart:


Submitted to the :iconrawem0tion: prompt: Death-In-life Experience

Entered into the :iconwordflight: Darkness contest.

Submitted to the :icongrimgloomtale: contest: Haunted. Inspiration was the poem Annabel Lee by Edgar Allen Poe and the amazing novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Written in the tradition of these and other great gothic writers.

Entered into the :iconknightsofromance: Horror Love contest.
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:icontwilightpoetess:
Let me apologize first and foremost for taking SO VERY LONG to get around to critiquing this. I've been working on these critiques as diligently as I can, but life... Well, it gets in the way, as I'm sure you well know.

Secondly: Eeeeeeyuck. I can imagine this was a difficult topic to write on.

Alright, now that that's out of the way, let's begin.

As I said already, I can imagine that this topic would be only too easy to shy away from, forget about, never touch or think about again... And I admire you for pushing through with it and entering this piece into :iconlacoterie:'s contest! Good work on taking the bull by the horns, so to speak.

I think that, while you maintain your dignity and dA "innocence" by not explicitly going into details on what occurs in this piece, you also make it very, VERY clear to your readers, at the same time, EXACTLY what you're talking about. Specific lines I particularly adored that I think do this piece (and your topic) justice are:

It doesn't matter that I can't see your eyes, love.

and

So it is of little matter that they remain closed
as I lie beside you on your bed of satin,


and

Your scent is no longer of lilac, but of earth.

However, these is also one line that sort of bothered me about this piece. That line is:

Did you think I would forget about you, love;
you, who claim my heart, even from the grave?


You have done so, so well throughout the rest of the piece not to allude directly to your topic, but throwing in that line about the grave jolted me out of the dream-like trance you'd been setting up. It was abrupt, and I don't think it works well with this piece. If you were to take those two lines out completely, you'd maintain that wispy, breathy tone you have throughout the rest of this. You don't need those two lines, I guess is what I'm saying, for this piece to work very, very well. In fact, reading through it and skipping over those lines, I think it might work better without them.

Again, strictly speaking based on my own opinion, I think the same could be said of these:

Must I fend off the advances of angels
seeking to carry you off in their feathered grasp?
Heaven has angels enough, they shall not have mine!
Am I damned, for keeping you here with me?
Let me be damned then, for I would sooner be damned than parted from you.
No force on heaven or earth shall tear us apart;
no matter how the angels whisper to you, or the devils to me.
No matter how the earth cruelly steals you from me, piece by piece
and I feel you decay in my arms,
and know that I will love the dust of your bones
long after my own have lain to rest.


They are unnecessary for us to get what you're attempting to portray, to grasp your message. They work, and they're lovely...but...they also feel a bit superfluous to me, really. They feel forced, as well. They don't have quite the same dreamy quality that the rest of this piece does.

However, this is merely my own opinion. I will not condescend to tell you that I am right in any way; these are just suggestions which may or may not help you. Take them as you will; change or leave this piece as you see fit.

Excellent work in the contest! Congratulations again!
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
2 out of 2 deviants thought this was fair.

:iconkraven42:
Goodness, this was a difficult read. I'm slightly disturbed by necrophilia, to say the least, and as soon as I read the first line of the second stanza, I knew that was the taboo you chose. Which means you did a marvelous job--both at writing this poem, and at giving me chills. :giggle:

There were so many lines in this poem that made me smile--or shudder--because they were so beautifully written, and very appropriate to the subject matter. I love:

So it is of little matter that they remain closed/as I lie beside you on your bed of satin

I remember how you used to blush/when I touched you like this; but not anymore./Now I know you long for it - you're so cold.

Must I fend off the advances of angels/seeking to carry you off in their feathered grasp?

Those three parts are my favorites. Each of these lines adds so much to the overall impact of what this character is saying.

What I found truly disturbing in this is how the speaker is handling the situation. He isn't simply turned on by the idea of necrophilia; he -can't- let go of this woman, and at times, you imply that he almost still thinks she's alive. He knows she's dead, that's clear, but... it's almost like he's in denial, when he says he sees her move, and says that Heaven has enough angels already, as if they haven't come to take her away from him, yet.

There are a few technical things that bother me in this, things that I think you could fix easily (if you want to, that is).

The way you phrased this section: Heaven has angels enough, they shall not have mine! could be better, I think. Because you said angels enough, it sounds like you're trying to say that Heaven has angels enough of the time, and that earth can borrow them back, to me. If you switch those two words so it reads Heaven has enough angels, they shall not have mine! it would really clear that up for me. It would also be more technically correct to use a semi colon instead of a comma there, but if the comma was a stylistic choice, I definitely won't tell you to change it.

The other phrase that I stumbled on was They didn't want us together, love, you see. Something about it, to me, is just awkward. I think it would be better to say either They didn't want us together, love, or They didn't want us together, you see. I think the first of those is more effective, but either would work. While what you did is correct, it's sounds a little awkward to me, especially when I read it out loud.

This stanza--

You did not choose this this fate, this form, how can I fault you?
Did you think I'd abandon you here,
would leave you cold, without my touch to warm you?


--is also awkward, to me. First of all, you wrote this twice in the first line. That's just a typo and an easy fix, I do things like that all the time. The stanza as a whole feels unnecessary to the poem, a weaker link in a chain. I think that is because your speaker had never said anything before, or after, about whether or not to fault the dead lover, but in this stanza, it comes up briefly, suddenly, and it feels like he's almost attacking her in the middle of this eerily romantic spiel. I think you could afford to leave it out altogether, but if you want to keep it, I think it's missing a little something.

Overall, lovely</i> piece! I love what you've done here. It reminded me of a slightly more descriptive Annabel Lee type of story. :giggle:
One of the things I like best is your close attention to detail. The lines I specified at the beginning of my critique were just lovely! And all the physical characteristics of a corpse that you included--the longer hair and fingernails, the blood that is no longer keeping her flesh warm, etc.--really add a lot. While I at least thought it was perfectly clear from the beginning that she was dead, these are little hints that add an even more eerie tone to the piece.

I have just one other question for you: how did the woman die? You mention that "they" didn't want the woman and the speaker to be together, which to me implies that she was murdered and then hidden, or simply hidden away and then died of grief. While it's not crucial for the reader to know the cause of her death, it's something I, at least, am curious about. I'd consider adding just a tiny bit more about that, unless you feel it would take away too much from the main point of the poem.

Congratulations again on your placement in the contest! I can definitely see why your entry was chosen as a winner. :clap:
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:iconmozartsnemesis:
This is a very interesting piece. Im pleasantly surprised you managed to take a touchy subject and write so beautifully about it, even if it is a little creepy. Well done. I really enjoy the face that you took such an out-there stance on love, and delivered an awesome poem on it.

Favorite lines:
Must I fend off the advances of angels
seeking to carry you off in their feathered grasp?"
Reply
:iconazizriandaoxrak:
AzizrianDaoXrak Oct 26, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Although I'm sure you've already realized...

This is just a friendly little note to let you know your lovely work has been featured!: [link]

Please consider faving the news article to help support others who have been featured, and keep up the beautiful work!
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:iconmeredyth:
Meredyth Jul 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Your work has been featured here [link]
:)
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:iconladyofgaerdon:
LadyofGaerdon Jul 24, 2012  Professional Writer
Thanks so much! :)
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:iconmeredyth:
Meredyth Jul 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
My pleasure!
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:iconfinnguala:
Finnguala Jul 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Bravo, you managed to turn something vile into something totally beautiful.
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:iconladyofgaerdon:
LadyofGaerdon Jul 15, 2012  Professional Writer
Thank you so, so much. :)
Reply
:iconfinnguala:
Finnguala Jul 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I wish I could say more, but my lit criticism is so poor, I'll only embarrass myself =P I loved reading this, anyhow.
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:iconladyofgaerdon:
LadyofGaerdon Jul 16, 2012  Professional Writer
Aww I bet it's not that bad, but thanks so much! :D
Reply
:iconerinclaireb:
This is wonderful! It certainly fits the 'haunted' theme (I linked over here from #GrimGloomTale's contest page) with the narrator seeming to be haunted both by his lost love but also by a sort of madness her absence has brought on him (or her, I guess!). It's creepy, but in a beautiful way that makes you reread it and try to appreciate the emotions behind the creepiness. Well done!
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