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Today, Oct. 7, is National Dark Poetry Day. This date was chosen in order to commemorate the death of Edgar Allan Poe, Oct 7, 1849. Anybody have any favorite dark poems, whether by Poe or anybody else?

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I have always been partial to Poe's Annabel Lee, but here is one fitting for the upcoming Halloween season.

Spirits of the Dead

Thy soul shall find itself alone
’Mid dark thoughts of the gray tombstone—
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.
Be silent in that solitude,
   Which is not loneliness—for then
The spirits of the dead who stood
   In life before thee are again
In death around thee—and their will
Shall overshadow thee: be still.
The night, tho’ clear, shall frown—
And the stars shall look not down
From their high thrones in the heaven,
With light like Hope to mortals given—
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy weariness shall seem
As a burning and a fever
Which would cling to thee for ever.
Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish,
Now are visions ne’er to vanish;
From thy spirit shall they pass
No more—like dew-drop from the grass.
The breeze—the breath of God—is still—
And the mist upon the hill,
Shadowy—shadowy—yet unbroken,
Is a symbol and a token—
How it hangs upon the trees,
A mystery of mysteries!
Source: The Complete Poems and Stories of Edgar Allan Poe (1946)

Four Preludes On Playthings Of The Wind

'The past is a bucket of ashes.'
THE WOMAN named To-morrow
sits with a hairpin in her teeth
and takes her time
and does her hair the way she wants it
and fastens at last the last braid and coil
and puts the hairpin where it belongs
and turns and drawls: Well, what of it?
My grandmother, Yesterday, is gone.
What of it? Let the dead be dead.
The doors were cedar
and the panels strips of gold
and the girls were golden girls
and the panels read and the girls chanted:
We are the greatest city,
the greatest nation:
nothing like us ever was.
The doors are twisted on broken hinges.
Sheets of rain swish through on the wind
where the golden girls ran and the panels read:
We are the greatest city,
the greatest nation,
nothing like us ever was.
It has happened before.
Strong men put up a city and got
a nation together,
And paid singers to sing and women
to warble: We are the greatest city,
the greatest nation,
www.PoemHunter.com - The World's Poetry Archive 151
nothing like us ever was.
And while the singers sang
and the strong men listened
and paid the singers well
and felt good about it all,
there were rats and lizards who listened
... and the only listeners left now
... are... the rats... and the lizards.
And there are black crows
crying, 'Caw, caw,'
bringing mud and sticks
building a nest
over the words carved
on the doors where the panels were cedar
and the strips on the panels were gold
and the golden girls came singing:
We are the greatest city,
the greatest nation:
nothing like us ever was.
The only singers now are crows crying, 'Caw, caw,'
And the sheets of rain whine in the wind and doorways.
And the only listeners now are... the rats... and the lizards.
The feet of the rats
scribble on the door sills;
the hieroglyphs of the rat footprints
chatter the pedigrees of the rats
and babble of the blood
and gabble of the breed
of the grandfathers and the great-grandfathers
of the rats.
And the wind shifts
and the dust on a door sill shifts
and even the writing of the rat footprints
tells us nothing, nothing at all
about the greatest city, the greatest nation
www.PoemHunter.com - The World's Poetry Archive 152
where the strong men listened
and the women warbled: Nothing like us ever was.
Carl Sandburg

My favorite line is "The past is a bucket of ashes."; I like it so much, I printed it up and framed it.

Here's another favorite:

I Shall not Care

When I am dead and over me bright April
Shakes out her rain-drenched hair,
Tho' you should lean above me broken-hearted,
I shall not care.
I shall have peace, as leafy trees are peaceful
When rain bends down the bough,
And I shall be more silent and cold-hearted
Than you are now.

Cold Dark Corner
Blake Duffy© Blake Duffy

Published: March 2009

There's a cold dark corner
in the back of my room,
it speaks to me
and says I'm coming for you.

As I lie on my bed
in the fetal position,
my eyes are closed
hoping and wishing.

Maybe that one day
my dreams will come true,
that I don't have to be here
so down and blue.

The corner keeps talking
about how I'm going to die,
all I can do
is lie there and cry.

As the corner gets closer
and takes me in,
my soul starts to burn
as so does my skin.

My bones shall lie there
turning to dust,
my bed surrounding
nothing but rust.

Dark but beautiful; thanks for starting this discussion!

I knew you'd like this one.

It's that day again. Dark Poetry Day to commemorate Edgar Allen Poe. Delve onto something new and morbid and have a sleepless night.

There are cemeteries that are lonely,
graves full of bones that do not make a sound,
the heart moving through a tunnel,
in it darkness, darkness, darkness,
like a shipwreck we die going into ourselves,
as though we were drowning inside our hearts,
as though we lived falling out of the skin into the soul.


Steel horses nodding
In the petroleum field are beasts
That suck
The crude of earth.
They have lived here for as long as I
Remember. This moment,
I smell wild incense:
Heather, abducted by a desert wind.
Its growth hides
The rain-carved ribs of the foothills.
Evening swallows
The city fasting on late fall.
Years ago, after hearing the story
About a boy who lost
Both legs while playing on an oil pump,
I was dared to straddle one.
All my friends were there to watch
The Pacific behind me burning with dusk.
The brute lifted me to the sky,
Where I merged with the twilight,
A warm breeze embracing my back.
None of them noticed
The world stopped to breathe.
When I looked, they disappeared.
Nearby in pink-flowered bushes
Someone found
The girl who’d been missing for weeks.
They stood in awe, the body
Decomposing, while I rode
The slow bucking animal.
Two months later, off the same pump,
A man dove,
An imperfect swan into night.
He landed in the dirt gully
Breaking the soft, white wings
He never had.
Today, I catch in my hand
An insect charged with lightning.
It tickles
The obscure scoop of my palm
As I hold it to my mouth and explain
A wish so simple
By morning I will have forgotten it.
I release
The bug to a desert wind
That is racing toward the sea,
A brutal dryness in its wake.
Fire in the hills everywhere.

The Infinite Abyss by Peter Payack

Once mom died

I felt the weight and immensity

of never and forever.

~~from Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Jan./Feb. 2017 issue


by English poet Siegfried Sassoon

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.

The Hollow Men

T. S. Eliot


We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.




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