Nightmare Ballad

Today’s prompt on dVerse Poetics, “You Want It Darker,” is courtesy of Lucy who asks us to “write a poem about the transient notion of life to death, or topics germane to the theme. With a twist.” The twist is to write a ballad that “will/can include dark, gothic themes and imagery . . . . It’s October and we’re looking for some dark poetry, publies.”

I’ve taken as inspiration a painting by Polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński who once said, “What matters is what appears in your soul, not what your eyes see and what you can name.”

Zdzisław Beksiński (1929-2005)

Nightmare Ballad

between October’s mists
my ring on your finger
your fingers in her hair
my heart consumes fire

wonders casual causality
between your white-rowed teeth
her crimson, wet-bladed lips
crimes hallowed like wine

when the moon fell from the sky
on a common day of sepia-tints
the ground bled red
nightmares rode split tree trunks

into a necropolis of fears
where decayed hope
breeds madness
the food of the gods

where desires feign love
where mirrors that were eyes
open silently
bend inward
and scream

till I wake

For more on Zdzisław Beksiński's paintings, click here.
Click Mr. Linky for more poems and join in.

22 thoughts on “Nightmare Ballad”

  1. My favorite line in this piece pertains to madness being the feast of the Gods. That is not only a witticism, but there’s a well of truth in this. Chaos and disorder, it benefits those who create it or provide the means for it to happen. This entire poem describes a descent into a nightmare, and with imagery such as with the cemetery, nightmares on tree trunks, white-rowed, and madness, I feel like I’m swimming in the dark. Yes, I am swimming in the dark, eyes closed, head nearly down in the crashing waves as I absorb each picture that comes to mind from your words. It’s chilling.

    Fantastic, fantastic piece. I really enjoyed reading it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Whew! I’m so glad you liked it, Lucy, as I loved your prompt but that my attempt at dark ballad kept turning into the whimsical. So I turned to the painting which pretty much scared me witless — thus, inspiration! You’re the gold standard on “dark” scapes though 😉 Thank you for your generous comments!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The painting made me think of Alien, so good choice! The flatness of your nightmare landscape, the banality of it, is what makes it unsettling for me. That moon falling from the sky on a common day… Banality of evil.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. into a necropolis of fears
    where decayed hope
    breeds madness
    the food of the gods

    That’s a strong element Dora this piece had a majesty to it dark reality very engaging. Held me throughout well written, well written.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. kaykuala
    between October’s mists
    my ring on your finger
    your fingers in her hair
    my heart consumes fire

    The opening itself reveals the direction leading towards a nightmare of a relationship. The darker side follows brilliantly thereafter. Great take Dora!

    Hank

    Like

  6. I admire the nightmare sketch and the painting that inspired your muse. This is my favorite part:

    into a necropolis of fears
    where decayed hope
    breeds madness
    the food of the gods

    Thanks for joining in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Grace! I’m relatively new to dVerse so it’s good to know you’re one of the “bartenders.” This prompt really stretched me, but I enjoyed it, and Lucy’s a great motivator 🙂 Thanks for the gracious feedback! Much appreciated 🙂

      Like

  7. That first stanza pulled me in and oh what a chilling darkness by the end. My favorite part:
    “nightmares rode split tree trunks
    into a necropolis of fears
    where decayed hope
    breeds madness”

    Liked by 1 person

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