Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Morning Star

At the risk of turning this into a borrowed-poetry blog, I must keep this here. For some strange reason, it gives me gooseflesh. I know Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Grey was substantially dark, but this is something else. Terrifying but transfixing. Much like what it describes. I'm surprised I never ran across this so far.

The Harlot's House

We caught the tread of dancing feet,
We loitered down the moonlit street,
And stopped beneath the harlot's house.

Inside, above the din and fray,
We heard the loud musicians play
The "Treues Liebes Herz" of Strauss.

Like strange mechanical grotesques,
Making fantastic arabesques,
The shadows raced across the blind.

We watched the ghostly dancers spin
To sound of horn and violin,
Like black leaves wheeling in the wind.

Like wire-pulled automatons,
Slim silhouetted skeletons,
Went sidling through the slow quadrille,

Then took each other by the hand,
And danced a stately saraband;
Their laughter echoed thin and shrill.

Sometimes a clockwork puppet pressed
A phantom lover to her breast,
Sometimes they seemed to try to sing.

Sometimes a horrible marionette
Came out, and smoked its cigarette
Upon the steps like a live thing.

Then, turning to my love, I said,
'The dead are dancing with the dead,
The dust is whirling with the dust.'

But she--she heard the violin,
And left my side, and entered in:
Love passed into the house of lust.

Then suddenly the tune went false,
The dancers wearied of the waltz,
The shadows ceased to wheel and whirl.

And down the long and silent street,
The dawn, with silver-sandalled feet,
Crept like a frightened girl.

Oscar Wilde


Anushka said...

I don't like ALL of Wilde's poetry but this is something else. It gives me goosebumps. I'm so glad you gave me a chance to re-read it, it's so easy to forget returning to these little gems.

T. said...

wow Wilde makes London whores sound positively creepy when he talks about that marionette smoking a cigarette as if it were a live thing i felt a chill run down my spine. Brrr! like you say gotta love Wilde!!!

Tangled up in blue... said...

Anushka, I have just read one other called "Requiescat" I think, and well I came across this one in a poetry reading on youtube today. Definitely a gem.

T., I so get! and yes, you gotta love Wilde..:D

Ramya said...


Shankar said...

lovely, certainly lovely :)

Anonymous said...

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 labour, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school where children played,
Their lessons scarcely done;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 'tis centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.

Emily Dickinson

S. Susan Deborah said...

Dear Bluey:

Hope your remember me! I thought you had left blogging and I always was wondering about you. So glad to see you again. How come I never knew that you were back again.

So so glad :)

Joy always,

S. Susan Deborah said...

Gosh, how I missed reading from a blog that was called "I loved three men called Pablo." I visited this place many times before you restarted, only to find "This blog no longer exists."

Joy always,

Mohit said...

Brilliant! I didn't understand all of it at one go...but it has that quality of sucking you in. Thank you :)

Antara said...

This is dreamy, almost surreal. Like everything Wilde does, it has that quality.

Tangled up in blue... said...

ramya, yes it is lovely in a way! :)

shankar, indeed!

anon, thank you for that.

Tangled up in blue... said...

Susan, I missed you too! I have exams right now, will be on your blog soon! :) And course I remember are not one easily forgotten! :D And I deleted my old blog some months before I started this one.

Leo, you're welcome! :) I am glad I found it the way I did.

Anty, what I wud not have given to have had a conversation with Wilde! Or actually just him talking..:D