The Bed

  • Part one of the Greenwood Manse Poetry Cycle. For more on that, go here:

    The Bed

    In my Grandmama’s house, there is a room decorated in the most sublimely under stated way;

    and it is in this room that I customarily retire to, when I occasion to stay

    Within this quaintly curious room of quiet disquietude, there is an ebony-posted bed,

    which is my favorite place, at the day’s end, on which to rest my head.

    It is an old family heirloom, which belonged to my Great Aunt Lucretia.

    She spent the last six months of her life in it, wasting away from consumption and dementia.

    It all started when she lost her lusty young lover to the sickness known as anemia.

    She became listless, wan, and her behavior grew quite unseemlier.

    She slept till late in the day, spent all of her time, and took meals in her bed;

    as she pored over many a tome of eldritch lore, and was called upon by many self styled communers-of-the-dead.

    As her illness progressed, they put her into trances to see if it could be divined what her ailment might be.

    But mesmerism was indeed not the answer, and she deteriorated not just in body now, but also mentally.

    She commenced to cry out in the middle of the night, and when asked what was wrong

    would rant about shroud-clad revenants, with eyes of fire,breath so foul, and eye-teeth sharp and long.

    These stories were met with much consternation and disbelief,as she was assumed to have gone mad.

    But when she spoke of having been made love to by the cadaver of her beloved, they destroyed all of the occult books she had.

    They say she died on the eve of May Day, and a ghastly shriek was said to have reverberated throughout the household.

    They found her in her bed, wide-eyed, bloodless, and in her fist–something clenched in a death-grip hold.

    Well, after some time, when rigor mortis gave way, they found what that something had been.

    It was apparently a torn ear, a right ripe ol’ piece of carrion, all putrescent and green.

    But that was long ago, and what need have I to fear old ghosts and undying loves?

    For I am a smart young lass; virginal, pious, and pure as the snow white dove.

    I say my prayers each night, and although I may indulge in a good ghost story now and again,

    I steer clear of such writ of the like which my aunt treasured so and helped to drive her insane.

    So when she comes to my bedside in the wee hours, with her cadaverous visage and sepulchral breath,

    I recite some old psalms, and clutch the crucifix, which rests on my young tender breast.

    And when she finally leaves, a-hissing and spewing curses foul, with her one-eared lover in tow,

    I whisper my grateful thanks to God, let out a nervous chuckle, pull up the sheets, and dream about the evening’s show.

    Image of a Victorian bed which approximates what Lucretia's four poster might have looked like.

    Image of a Victorian bed which approximates what Lucretia’s crib might have looked like.


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