Saturday, January 24, 2015

H. P. Lovecraft's Poem, The Nightmare Lake

I think if I had had a nightmare like The Nightmare Lake I would have died in my sleep from fright. The imagery is so rich that each time I read the poem I find another detail that I seemed to have missed all the previous times. I love how the poem combines life and death:

A spirit dead and desolate;
A spirit ancient and unholy,
Heavy with fearsome melancholy,
Which from the waters dull and dense
Draws vapors cursed with pestilence.

A spirit that's "dead and desolate" yet is "heavy with fearsome melancholy" and "draws vapors cursed with pestilence." That is so scary! I wouldn't want to meet that spirit in a dark alley!

The lake and its shores are fatal to any living thing that goes near it that even vampires can't survive there. The only thing that seems able to survive are the narcophagi that feed on the rotting corpses of everything that comes into contact with the lake and its unbearable atmosphere. 

Then Lovecraft deliciously combines life and death and death and birth when describing the abandoned sunken town below the lake. The town is decayed and abandoned, nothing there but dancing shadows until the tombs fly open.

Till from the reeking, new-stript earth
Curl’d foetid fumes of noisome birth.
About the city, nigh uncover’d,
The monstrous dancing shadows hover’d,
When lo! there oped with sudden stir
The portal of each sepulchre!

It sends shivers down my spine! Lovecraft had such a command of words and language to be able to bring such horror and fear to life. 

No comments:

Post a Comment