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Best Famous Horror Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Horror poems. This is a select list of the best famous Horror poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Horror poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of horror poems.

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See also: Best Member Poems

by Edgar Allan Poe | |

The Conqueror Worm

Lo! 't is a gala night

Within the lonesome latter years!
An angel throng bewinged bedight

In veils and drowned in tears 
Sit in a theatre to see

A play of hopes and fears 
While the orchestra breathes fitfully

The music of the spheres.
Mimes in the form of God on high Mutter and mumble low And hither and thither fly - Mere puppets they who come and go At bidding of vast formless things That shift the scenery to and fro Flapping from out their Condor wings Invisible Woe! That motley drama! - oh be sure It shall not be forgot! With its Phantom chased for evermore By a crowd that seize it not Through a circle that ever returneth in To the self-same spot And much of Madness and more of Sin And Horror the soul of the plot.
But see amid the mimic rout A crawling shape intrude! A blood-red thing that writhes from out The scenic solitude! It writhes! - it writhes! - with mortal pangs The mimes become its food And the seraphs sob at vermin fangs In human gore imbued.
Out - out are the lights - out all! And over each quivering form The curtain a funeral pall Comes down with the rush of a storm And the angels all pallid and wan Uprising unveiling affirm That the play is the tragedy "Man" And its hero the Conqueror Worm.


by Marcin Malek | |

For life and death of a Poet

Poets
In literal meaning
Are not responsive
To normative rules of dying

Moreover 
Just like the Saints
They do not fit into a
Written conventions

Of the existence
Of the survival
At all costs
At the cost of their own greatness

They rather resemble
Orphaned fortresses
Which has to be taken
Meter by meter - as in the past

With the severe blood loss

Or permanently straining
Among the yellow fields
Mossy towers with no vaults
But with the ever-vigilant gaze

Poet as gaper
- Windblown
- Caressed by storms 
Until he not falls


Never measures 
Himself as the one
- And then all fading behind
For life and death of a Poet
There is no proper time

He lives in himself
Stirring up higher and higher
By the abandoned fortification
Of horror of consequences

To the moment in which
He is taken - far far away 


by | |

The Holy Book

Turning the golden pages with my fervent hands,
As if my pure fingers were handling light,
O immense and luminous book, your powerful prayer
Unfolds, in my night, the mystical treasure!

My spirit, in the night, opens its angel's glances
To plunge their lustre into the recesses of your wisdom;
For those who read you, the secret will be known,
Of how divine love changes even degradation into radiance.

- Eternal and veiling the the horror of the world,
An ineffable mystery has joined mankind and verse,
The human ideal to the most divine flames,

And from the depth of the flesh to the reaches of the azure,
You lift the veil, the enshrouder of souls,
To the sibylline breath of your enchanted word.


More great poems below...

by | |

The Horror of the Rain

Implacably, dismally, prophetically,
It is raining, interminable tears of rain, it rains
Death upon the dismal city, long bereaved of sun.
It rains annihilation, immensely, upon my sleep
and my tormented dreams and, in the night, it rains

implacably, dismally, prophetically?

Oh! the secret sorrow of the Night weeps
Upon the pale wakefulness of my pensive mind.
Upon the slab of my brow, with funereal sobs,
it is raining lividness and obscurity,
upon the wakefulness of my pensive mind,
oh! the secret sorrow of the Night weeps?

implacably, dismally, prophetically?

It is raining, it is raining lethargy upon my flesh,
Rigidly, like chimerical haircloths,
which come to mortify the lecherous obsessions,
it is raining upon my feverish body, scorched with gasps,
Rigidly, like chimerical haircloths,
it is raining lethargy, it is raining upon my flesh?

implacably, dismally, prophetically?


by William Cullen Bryant | |

Mutation

 They talk of short-lived pleasure--be it so-- 
Pain dies as quickly; stern, hard-featured pain 
Expires, and lets her weary prisoner go.
The fiercest agonies have shortest reign; And after dreams of horror, comes again The welcome morning with its rays of peace.
Oblivion, softly wiping out the stain, Makes the strong secret pangs of pain to cease: Remorse is virtue's root; its fair increase Are fruits of innocence and blessedness; Thus joy, o'erborne and bound, doth still release His young limbs from the chains that round him press.
Weep not that the world changes--did it keep A stable, changeless state, 'twere cause indeed to weep.


by William Cullen Bryant | |

The Death of Lincoln

 Oh, slow to smit and swift to spare, 
Gentle and merciful and just! 
Who, in the fear of God, didst bear 
The sword of power, a nation's trust! 

In sorrow by thy bier we stand, 
Amid the awe that hushes all, 
And speak the anguish of a land 
That shook with horror at thy fall.
Thy task is done; the bond of free; We bear thee to an honored grave, Whose proudest monument shall be The broken fetters of the slave.
Pure was thy life; its bloddy close Hath placed thee with the sons of light, Among the noble host of those Who perished in the cause of Right.


by John Greenleaf Whittier | |

A Word for the Hour

 The firmament breaks up.
In black eclipse Light after light goes out.
One evil star, Luridly glaring through the smoke of war, As in the dream of the Apocalypse, Drags others down.
Let us not weakly weep Nor rashly threaten.
Give us grace to keep Our faith and patience; wherefore should we leap On one hand into fratricidal fight, Or, on the other, yield eternal right, Frame lies of laws, and good and ill confound? What fear we? Safe on freedom's vantage ground Our feet are planted; let us there remain In unrevengeful calm, no means untried Which truth can sanction, no just claim denied, The sad spectators of a suicide! They break the lines of Union: shall we light The fires of hell to weld anew the chain On that red anvil where each blow is pain? Draw we not even now a freer breath, As from our shoulders falls a load of death Loathsome as that the Tuscan's victim bore When keen with life to a dead horror bound? Why take we up the accursed thing again? Pity, forgive, but urge them back no more Who, drunk with passion, flaunt disunion's rag With its vile reptile blazon.
Let us press The golden cluster on our brave old flag In closer union, and, if numbering less, Brighter shall shine the stars which still remain.


by William Lisle Bowles | |

Bereavement

 Whose was that gentle voice, that, whispering sweet,
Promised methought long days of bliss sincere!
Soothing it stole on my deluded ear,
Most like soft music, that might sometimes cheat
Thoughts dark and drooping! 'Twas the voice of Hope.
Of love and social scenes, it seemed to speak, Of truth, of friendship, of affection meek; That, oh! poor friend, might to life's downward slope Lead us in peace, and bless our latest hours.
Ah me! the prospect saddened as she sung; Loud on my startled ear the death-bell rung; Chill darkness wrapt the pleasurable bowers, Whilst Horror, pointing to yon breathless clay, "No peace be thine," exclaimed, "away, away!"


by Petrarch | |

SONNET CCXIII.

SONNET CCXIII.

O misera ed orribil visione.

HE CANNOT BELIEVE IN HER DEATH, BUT IF TRUE, HE PRAYS GOD TO TAKE HIM ALSO FROM LIFE.

O misery! horror! can it, then, be true,
That the sweet light before its time is spent,
'Mid all its pains which could my life content,
And ever with fresh hopes of good renew?
If so, why sounds not other channels through,
Nor only from herself, the great event?
No! God and Nature could not thus consent,
And my dark fears are groundless and undue.
Still it delights my heart to hope once more
The welcome sight of that enchanting face,
The glory of our age, and life to me.
But if, to her eternal home to soar,
That heavenly spirit have left her earthly place,
Oh! then not distant may my last day be!
Macgregor.


by J R R Tolkien | |

Roads Go Ever On

 Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.
Roads go ever ever on, Under cloud and under star.
Yet feet that wandering have gone Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen, And horror in the halls of stone Look at last on meadows green, And trees and hills they long have known.
The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone, And I must follow, if I can, Pursuing it with eager feet, Until it joins some larger way, Where many paths and errands meet.
The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone, And I must follow, if I can, Pursuing it with weary feet, Until it joins some larger way, Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
The Road goes ever on and on Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone.
Let others follow, if they can! Let them a journety new begin.
But I at last with weary feet Will turn towards the lighted inn, My evening-rest and sleep to meet.
Still 'round the corner there may wait A new road or secret gate; And though I oft have passed them by, A day will come at last when I Shall take the hidden paths that run West of the Moon, East of the Sun.


by Alec Derwent (A D) Hope | |

Standardization

 When, darkly brooding on this Modern Age, 
The journalist with his marketable woes 
Fills up once more the inevitable page 
Of fatuous, flatulent, Sunday-paper prose; 

Whenever the green aesthete starts to whoop 
With horror at the house not made with hands 
And when from vacuum cleaners and tinned soup 
Another pure theosophist demands 

Rebirth in other, less industrial stars 
Where huge towns thrust up in synthetic stone 
And films and sleek miraculous motor cars 
And celluloid and rubber are unknown; 

When from his vegetable Sunday School 
Emerges with the neatly maudlin phrase 
Still one more Nature poet, to rant or drool 
About the "Standardization of the Race"; 

I see, stooping among her orchard trees, 
The old, sound Earth, gathering her windfalls in, 
Broad in the hams and stiffening at the knees, 
Pause and I see her grave malicious grin.
For there is no manufacturer competes With her in the mass production of shapes and things.
Over and over she gathers and repeats The cast of a face, a million butterfly wings.
She does not tire of the pattern of a rose.
Her oldest tricks still catch us with surprise.
She cannot recall how long ago she chose The streamlined hulls of fish, the snail's long eyes, Love, which still pours into its ancient mould The lashing seed that grows to a man again, From whom by the same processes unfold Unending generations of living men.
She has standardized his ultimate needs and pains.
Lost tribes in a lost language mutter in His dreams: his science is tethered to their brains, His guilt merely repeats Original Sin.
And beauty standing motionless before Her mirror sees behind her, mile on mile, A long queue in an unknown corridor, Anonymous faces plastered with her smile.


by William Ernest Henley | |

I. M. R. T. Hamilton Bruce (1846-1899)

 Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.


by William Ernest Henley | |

Invictus

 Out of the night that covers me, 
 Black as the Pit from pole to pole, 
I thank whatever gods may be 
 For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.


by Thomas Edward Brown | |

Dora

 SHE knelt upon her brother's grave, 
 My little girl of six years old-- 
He used to be so good and brave, 
 The sweetest lamb of all our fold; 
He used to shout, he used to sing, 
Of all our tribe the little king-- 
And so unto the turf her ear she laid, 
To hark if still in that dark place he play'd.
No sound! no sound! Death's silence was profound; And horror crept Into her aching heart, and Dora wept.
If this is as it ought to be, My God, I leave it unto Thee.


by C S Lewis | |

On a Vulgar Error

 No.
It's an impudent falsehood.
Men did not Invariably think the newer way Prosaic mad, inelegant, or what not.
Was the first pointed arch esteemed a blot Upon the church? Did anybody say How modern and how ugly? They did not.
Plate-armour, or windows glazed, or verse fire-hot With rhymes from France, or spices from Cathay, Were these at first a horror? They were not.
If, then, our present arts, laws, houses, food All set us hankering after yesterday, Need this be only an archaising mood? Why, any man whose purse has been let blood By sharpers, when he finds all drained away Must compare how he stands with how he stood.
If a quack doctor's breezy ineptitude Has cost me a leg, must I forget straightway All that I can't do now, all that I could? So, when our guides unanimously decry The backward glance, I think we can guess why.


by Marilyn L Taylor | |

The Blue Water Buffalo

 One in 250 Cambodians, or 40,000 people,
have lost a limb to a landmine.
—Newsfront, U.
N.
Development Programme Communications Office On both sides of the screaming highway, the world is made of emerald silk—sumptuous bolts of it, stitched by threads of water into cushions that shimmer and float on the Mekong's munificent glut.
In between them plods the ancient buffalo—dark blue in the steamy distance, and legless where the surface of the ditch dissects the body from its waterlogged supports below or it might be a woman, up to her thighs in the lukewarm ooze, bending at the waist with the plain grace of habit, delving for weeds in water that receives her wrist and forearm as she feels for the alien stalk, the foreign blade beneath that greenest of green coverlets where brittle pods in their corroding skins now shift, waiting to salt the fields with horror.


by Katherine Mansfield | |

Covering Wings

Love! Love! Your tenderness, Your beautiful, watchful ways Grasp me, fold me, cover me; I lie in a kind of daze, Neither asleep nor yet awake, Neither a bud nor flower.
Brings to-morrow Joy or sorrow, The black or the golden hour? Love! Love! You pity me so! Chide me, scold me--cry, "Submit--submit! You must not fight!" What may I do, then? Die? But, oh my horror of quiet beds! How can I longer stay! "One to be ready, Two to be steady, Three to be off and away!" Darling heart--your gravity! Your sorrowful, mournful gaze-- "Two bleached roads lie under the moon, At the parting of the ways.
" But the tiny, tree-thatched, narrow lane, Isn't it yours and mine? The blue-bells ring Hey, ding-a-ding, ding! And buds are thick on the vine.
Love! Love! Grief of my heart! As a tree droops over a stream You hush me, lull me, dark me, The shadow hiding the gleam.
Your drooping and tragical boughs of grace Are heavy as though with rain.
Run! Run! Into the sun! Let us be children again.


by Edmund Spenser | |

Poem 18

 NOw welcome night, thou night so long expected,
that long daies labour doest at last defray,
And all my cares, which cruell loue collected,
Hast sumd in one, and cancelled for aye:
Spread thy broad wing ouer my loue and me,
that no man may vs see,
And in thy sable mantle vs enwrap,
>From feare of perrill and foule horror free.
Let no false treason seeke vs to entrap, Nor any dread disquiet once annoy the safety of our ioy: But let the night be calme and quietsome, Without tempestuous storms or sad afray: Lyke as when Ioue with fayre Alcmena lay, When he begot the great Tirynthian groome: Or lyke as when he with thy selfe did lie, And begot Maiesty.
And let the mayds and yongmen cease to sing: Ne let the woods them answer, nor theyr eccho ring.


by Edmund Spenser | |

Poem 18

 NOw welcome night, thou night so long expected,
that long daies labour doest at last defray,
And all my cares, which cruell loue collected,
Hast sumd in one, and cancelled for aye:
Spread thy broad wing ouer my loue and me,
that no man may vs see,
And in thy sable mantle vs enwrap,
>From feare of perrill and foule horror free.
Let no false treason seeke vs to entrap, Nor any dread disquiet once annoy the safety of our ioy: But let the night be calme and quietsome, Without tempestuous storms or sad afray: Lyke as when Ioue with fayre Alcmena lay, When he begot the great Tirynthian groome: Or lyke as when he with thy selfe did lie, And begot Maiesty.
And let the mayds and yongmen cease to sing: Ne let the woods them answer, nor theyr eccho ring.


by Christina Rossetti | |

Sleeping at last

 Sleeping at last, the trouble and tumult over, 
Sleeping at last, the struggle and horror past, 
Cold and white, out of sight of friend and of lover, 
Sleeping at last.
No more a tired heart downcast or overcast, No more pangs that wring or shifting fears that hover, Sleeping at last in a dreamless sleep locked fast.
Fast asleep.
Singing birds in their leafy cover Cannot wake her, nor shake her the gusty blast.
Under the purple thyme and the purple clover Sleeping at last.


by Christina Rossetti | |

Beneath Thy Cross

 Am I a stone, and not a sheep, 
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath thy cross, 
To number drop by drop Thy Blood's slow loss, 
And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved 
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee; 
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly; 
Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon 
Which hid their faces in a starless sky, 
A horror of great darkness at broad noon-- 
I, only I.
Yet give not o'er, But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock; Greater than Moses, turn and look once more And smite a rock.


by Mark Strand | |

Courtship

 There is a girl you like so you tell her
your penis is big, but that you cannot get yourself
to use it.
Its demands are ridiculous, you say, even self-defeating, but to be honored, somehow, briefly, inconspicuously in the dark.
When she closes her eyes in horror, you take it all back.
You tell her you're almost a girl yourself and can understand why she is shocked.
When she is about to walk away, you tell her you have no penis, that you don't know what got into you.
You get on your knees.
She suddenly bends down to kiss your shoulder and you know you're on the right track.
You tell her you want to bear children and that is why you seem confused.
You wrinkle your brow and curse the day you were born.
She tries to calm you, but you lose control.
You reach for her panties and beg forgiveness as you do.
She squirms and you howl like a wolf.
Your craving seems monumental.
You know you will have her.
Taken by storm, she is the girl you will marry.


by Robert William Service | |

I Shall Not Burn

 I have done with love and lust,
 I reck not for gold or fame;
I await familiar dust
 These frail fingers to reclaim:
 Not for me the tiger flame.
Not for me the furnace glow, Rage of fire and ashen doom; To sweet earth my bones bestow Where above a lowly tomb January roses bloom.
Fools and fools and fools are you Who your dears to fires confide; Give to Mother Earth her due: Flesh may waste but bone will bide,-- Let loved ones lie side by side.
Let God's Acre ever dream; Shed your tears and blossoms bring; On age-burnished bone will gleam Crucifix and wedding ring: Graves are for sweet comforting.
Curst be those who my remains Hurl to horror of the flames!


by Robert William Service | |

The Bandit

 Upon his way to rob a Bank
 He paused to watch a fire;
Though crowds were pressing rank on rank
 He pushed a passage nigher;
Then sudden heard, piercing and wild,
 The screaming of a child.
A Public Enemy was he, A hater of the law; He looked around for bravery But only fear he saw; Then to the craven crowds amaze He plunged into the blaze.
How anguished was the waiting spell Of horror and of pain! Then--then from out that fiery hell He staggered forth again: The babe was safe, in blankets wrapt, The man flame lapt.
His record was an evil one, Of violence and sin.
No good on earth he'd ever done, Yet--may he Heaven win! A gangster he .
.
.
Is it not odd? --With guts of God.


by Robert William Service | |

Portent

 Courage mes gars:
La guerre est proche.
I plant my little plot of beans, I sit beneath my cyprus tree; I do not know what trouble means, I cultivate tranquillity .
.
.
But as to-day my walk I made In all serenity and cheer, I saw cut in an agave blade: "Courage, my comrades, war is near!" Seward I went, my feet were slow, Awhile I dowsed upon the shore; And then I roused with fear for lo! I saw six grisly ships of war.
A grim, grey line of might and dread Against the skyline looming sheer: With horror to myself I said: "Courage, my comrades, war is near!" I saw my cottage on the hill With rambling roses round the door; It was so peaceful and so still I sighed .
.
.
and then it was no more.
A flash of flame, a rubble heap; I cried aloud with woe and fear .
.
.
And wok myself from troubled sleep - My home was safe, war was not near.
Oh, I am old, my step is frail, My carcase bears a score of scars, And as I climbed my homeward trail Sadly I thought of other wars.
And when that agave leaf I saw With vicious knife I made a blear Of words clean-cut into the raw: "Courage, my comrades, war is near!" Who put hem there I do not know - One of these rabid reds, no doubt; But I for freedom struck my blow, With bitter blade I scraped them out.
There now, said I, I will forget, And smoke my pipe and drink my beer - Yet in my mind these words were set: "Courage, my comrades, war is near!" "Courage, my comrades, war is near!" I hear afar its hateful drums; Its horrid din assails my ear: I hope I die before it comes.
.
.
.
Yet as into the town I go, And listen to the rabble cheer, I think with heart of weary woe: War is not coming - WAR IS HERE.