Saturday, 31 October 2009

Before Midnight

As Halloween approaches, I've dug out a suitable poem that I wrote a few years ago. It draws on all the Victorian gothic traditions - Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, Charles Dickens Christmas Carol, M.R. James and Bram Stoker.
Before Midnight
Lamplighters in the twilight hour
Gas flames bright, nightly power
Down the streets of London town
And fogs descending like a gown
I walk softly on the cobbled lane
And hear the siren of steam train
No midnight clear upon this eve
But church bells calling to believe
This special night, for all the dead
I hear horses hooves, clip-clop tread
Hansom cabs now homeward bound
See beggars sleeping on the ground
And forms in misty white take shape
For some remains there no escape
To walk the earth, unseen by most
Wander chained like Marley's ghost
That justice came to those who hide
They once passed by the other side
Blinded self to poverty and pain
Looking inwards, so sure and vain
And now they walk, a sign to see
For compassion and for charity
Before midnight, hear their sighs
These phantoms in a misty guise
Now Big Ben chimes at midnight
They vanish, vapours lost to sight
And silence comes, and all is dark
I stand alone, nearby Hyde park


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