Black and blacker

When darkness tiptoed through our streets, we shut
the windows, blocked the doors before they knocked.
“This night is death”, you cried, “it stabs my gut”.
We listened to the tick-tock of the clocks,
and watched the gargoyles tingling into black,
your face, a pale reflection washed in ink.
I poured myself a scotch when on my back,
I felt its ice cold touch, a serpent slinked
foretelling that the visitors had come,
a raven wind and from the basement sighs,
and there was music, woodwind, strings and drums,
and rattling bones, retracted claws — You cried:
“I cannot sleep, the way you toss and turn”,
and there was light, my nightmares had adjourned.

Gargoyles by Morris Graves

A sonnet for Kim at toads using the color black (which really is the perfect absence of color). I will also link this to Poetry Pantry tomorrow morning.
—-
September 22, 2018

45 responses to “Black and blacker

  1. Oh, the speech makes it more tangible — this black gets blacker in its visions and sights. It’s like reading a Shirley Jackson book. I loved the menacing tone and the musical setting, with tick-tocks, woodwinds, rattling bones, et al. The resolution with the light at the end gives some comfort.

  2. Björn, this piece is like thick-woven black silk – dark and luxurious! While I loved the whole thing, this line grabbed in its subtle talent: ” I poured myself a scotch when on my back…” full of meaning and atmosphere.

  3. Ah, I would be grateful for being waked up from this nightmare – whether by someone’s voice or the light of dawn! Very evocative and a bit scary.

  4. Oh Bravo! Bravo!
    I really love this, from start to finish, and how you’ve woven this old-world and yet modern feeling sonnet. It tells such a great story – the images are superb! And the voice shift is just perfect, from the collective to personal, and yet it ends up closing with something that speaks from both angles. And as someone mentioned, the line
    I poured myself a scotch when on my back,
    I felt its ice cold touch,
    is absolutely amazing. Fresh, startling, innovative and very dynamic.
    And this sonnet has such a great exploration of the colour Black – it speaks with several voices, very Poe-sque and others in good company, and yet you’ve made it your own. And it also delights me, not only for the darkness, but how, the voice at the end reveals the problems of sharing a bed – not only with nightmares, but sometimes, with another. This has been a true pleasure and delight to read 🙂

  5. You are so weird. I love it. 🙂

    These are my faves:
    “We listened to the tick-tock”
    “I poured myself a scotch when on my back,
    I felt its ice cold touch, a serpent slinked”
    “a raven wind and from the basement sighs”
    “rattling bones, retracted claws — You cried”

  6. Great fun here – so liked ‘a raven wind and from the basement sighs,’ and the image of the whole deathly orchestra banging away – no wonder your partner can’t sleep. A real danse macabre.

  7. This is deliciously dark and enticing! ❤ Especially like; “We listened to the tick-tock of the clocks, and watched the gargoyles tingling into black, your face, a pale reflection washed in ink.” 😊

  8. My favourite colour, black! I wear it all the time – if I had been born a little later I would most definitely have been a Goth!. I love the night sounds of the rhymes in your sonnet, Bjorn, that knock, tick and tock in juxtaposition to the darkness tiptoeing through the streets. I also love the way you bring darkness and night to life, even though ‘night is death’. My favourite lines:
    ‘…watched the gargoyles tingling into black,
    your face, a pale reflection washed in ink’
    and
    ‘a raven wind and from the basement sighs,
    and there was music, woodwind, strings and drums,
    and rattling bones, retracted claws’.

  9. I’m glad we were saved in the end but finding out it was a dream. It really had hold of me.

  10. i was looking forward to reading your sonnet as they are your forte.. and, WOW!… this is one of your best. The interplay of dialogue and description is masterfully done.

  11. Nightmares can seem so vivid when we are right in the middle of one. Thankfully daylight reveals their insubstantial nature.

  12. Nightmares can seem so vivid when we are right in the middle of one. Thankfully daylight reveals their insubstantial nature.

  13. How dark can one go? Only the nightmare knows — this echoes into chillier rooms down to the bottom where morning light blooms. Nicely done, Bjorn —

  14. Ah Bjorn, it is refreshing to read your tale that ended just when it was getting wild. A denouement not wanted. I just did a check to see, I’ve used “dream” in 34 postd in this blog since it started in 2006. It’s about time to write another.
    ..

  15. Wow! First of all, the rhyme in this – is stellar. Sonnets are not easy, and thus, I love it when they come together without having to squeeze an ill-chosen rhyming word into the-box-awaiting, at the end of a designated line. Secondly, the spoken words are inserted so adroitly (something I find very challenging to pull off seamlessly in a rhymed piece) that I cannot imagine it could have been more deftly done. However the crowning glory of the thing is the comical ‘shoe drop’ at the end of a brilliantly sketched nightmare of imagery. Love it! Love it! Love it!

  16. Dark and wonderfully written…I liked—I felt its ice cold touch, a serpent slinked
    foretelling that the visitors had come,
    a raven wind and from the basement sighs,
    and there was music, woodwind, strings and drums,
    and rattling bones, retracted claws —

  17. I think I rather preferred the dark tale before discovering it was just a nightmare, but then again, I’m always up for a scary tale. I really liked the tone and atmosphere. It was reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe.

    • I understand what you mean, but I would need to find another Volta to change the perspective in the last two lines… might think about what that change of perspective should be… methinks it should be keeping the darkness, but making it a metaphor for something far more personal.

  18. Our nightmares do get the best of us, but when we express it and write it down on paper…we feel connected with our dreams and nightmares and we can make sense of them and feel at ease with our dreams. I love this poem so much…so dark and deeply amazing. 🙂

  19. Pingback: Sleeping with death | Björn Rudbergs writings·

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