She said it would eat her, such fancies were her diet
but at last she broke the shell away from her heart
at vespers underneath her coat –

the leathern psalter in his hand,
he mounts the stairs in her  spiralled mind
so take the bell and ring it thrice, he falls.

Out cold for weeks and months
beneath a blanket made of snow; they told her
what she already knew, the broken spit
upon a distant shore too hard to navigate, to find
unbound leaves , a broken spine.

Lying lies. It stays down when nailed fast
beneath the wood, the varnished unsmiling smile
his blacke wyrme bites and squirms
he is  unaneled, unhouseled
a hungry ghost on  skewering pins

She soars and swoops
a gold eyed ravening  wild bird.


Veronica Aldous 2016 all rights reserved

Christopher Thomas Schmitz writes: There is an interaction between a man and a woman in “Gothick,” but its nature is mysterious to me. The poem sounds in places like a dangerous liaison, an erotic but deadly game of cat-and-mouse. Christian imagery is threaded throughout: vespers (evening prayers), psalter (book of psalms), unaneled (not given Last Rites), unhouseled (not given Holy Communion), but there are pagan touches as well like bells ringing three times, hungry ghosts, and wild birds.

The poem begins with an image of consumption, (“She said it would eat her”), and ends with one as well (“She is a gold-eyed ravening wild bird”). The feeding throughout may be from death whose “blacke wyrme bites and squirms” but also from an erotic force. Camille Paglia has said: “Sexual intercourse, from kissing to penetration, consists of movements of barely controlled cruelty and consumption.”



About Veronica Aldous

Writer and artist, Veronica is a lecturer is Fine Art and Creative Writing. Her first book of poems, 'Moon Cinema' is now available on Now there is also 'Mortal' her second book.
This entry was posted in poems and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s