The last of my Dickinson selections for now. In December, I’ll post some of my favourite Christmas poems & carols.
I’ve been reading about the Gothic lately, from this piece in the Guardian about the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ann Radcliffe, to wishing I could visit the British Library’s new exhibition, Terror and Wonder : the Gothic Imagination. Ann Radcliffe always reminds me of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey & Valancourt Books are reprinting the seven Horrid Novels that Isabella Thorpe & Catherine Morland frighten themselves into fits over. I was reminded of the images of haunted houses, abbeys & assassins in this poem, even though it’s about the mind’s capacity to be haunted rather than literal haunted houses. I’ve always loved it.
One need not be a Chamber—to be Haunted—
One need not be a House—
The Brain has Corridors—surpassing
Far safer, of a Midnight Meeting
Than its interior Confronting—
That Cooler Host.
Far safer, through an Abbey gallop,
The Stones a’chase—
Than Unarmed, one’s a’self encounter—
In lonesome Place—
Ourself behind ourself, concealed—
Should startle most—
Assassin hid in our Apartment
Be Horror’s least.
The Body—borrows a Revolver—
He bolts the Door—
O’erlooking a superior spectre—