Channeling Emily (and how it has worked)

I received word this morning that my poem “(I Cannot Leave) This Place” has been accepted into Shroud’s The Terror of Miskatonic Falls poetry anthology! This was after a requested rewrite.

A quick story behind the poem’s creation (you can read the guidelines here).  Given the scope of the anthology, it reminded me, for some reason of King’s Storm of the Century, which in turn brought to mind Linoge’s utterance of the rhyme “Born in sin, come on in!” As I tried to think of a plot for my poem, that little rhyme kept popping up into my head and before too long I was faced with an alarming reality:

There was going to be rhyming in my poem.

Not that there is anything wrong with this.  But as a rule, I don’t care for much rhyming poetry.  To this day, the only rhyming poetry I can get into is Emily Dickinson’s work and that’s because 90% of everything she wrote is genius.

So as I wrote the non-rhyming stanzas of my poem, I left blanks within it for the rhyming parts.  Within the poem itself, the rhymes serve as a narrative connecting-point for the plot (does that even make sense)?  And, seeing as how I have shied away from rhyming poetry for so long, I went to my book collection and channeled Emily for inspiration.

Here are a few of my favorite lines from her work, one of which in particular gave me the drive to finish “(I Cannot Leave) This Place”:

I felt a funeral in my brain,
And mourners, to and fro,
Kept treading, treading, till it seemed
That sense was breaking through….

As all the heavens were a bell,
And Being but an ear,
And I and silence some strange race,
Wrecked, solitary, here.


My life closed twice before its close;
It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
A third event to me,

So huge, so hopeless to conceive,
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.

AND for good measure:

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

So thanks to these fragments of poems that have stuck with me since I first discovered them at the age of 16 or so, I was able to wrestle out a few beat-like rhymes.  It took an hour or so, but I  manged to get the rough versions of the verses onto the screen and then edited on them for a bit.  Despite my distaste for rhyming verse, I actually think it turned out quite nicely.

Perhaps when the anthology is released, some of you could let me know…



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