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Heart of Darkness: A poem which vaguely follows the story of Joseph Conrad's novella 'Heart of Darkness'
Posted by Douglas, Jul 16, 2008. 3258 views. ID = 1486

Heart of Darkness

Posted by Douglas, Jul 16, 2008. 3258 views. ID = 1486
This post was written in 0 minutes.
If you've never read Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness, the parts in italics might not make much sense - they are direct quotations from the book. And the rest of the poem might not make much sense either! You can read my explanation for the poem in my next post.
This post has been awarded 28 stars by 7 readers.
This post is Part 1 of a writing series titled Heart of Darkness.

Moreover, the changes take place inside, you know.

Like whited sepulchers that stand their guard
Along the deep and winding waterways,
The looming pride of civil man endures
And proudly waves its ensign to the sky.
Yet who could note by measured contemplation,
Or know with certainty its hollow pride -
The limp and humid drooping of its flag,
While underneath, the darkness - snakelike - churns.

The groans...distract my attention.

A cup of cappuccino at four and eighty-five
Says the Starbucks sign on Elm and Fifth;
Stop in, indulge your taste, and deeply drink,
While air-conditioned breezes gently sigh.
Step carefully and cautiously, my friend,
For there, outside, you see the sullen man,
The hungry man, the gaunt, disheveled man,
Whose skull-like visage gazes hungrily,
Whose toothless rictus grimly forms a smile,
While stretched out, tangled limbs contort and twist,
And you desire to simply pass on by.

Beware the hungry man; pretend his plight
Bears no significance upon your joy,
Take care his hungry eyes don't meet your own,
Impelling you to deeds of wasted sacrifice;
For soon, they say (on every corner sign),
Your coffee's price will rise to four and ninety-five.

Men who come out here should have no entrails.

These hollowed, carved out, empty headed fools,
Enlightened by a flick'ring candle flame,
Their evil, grinning faces haunt the night
And turn to trembling adolescent fears;
Yet men, with intellect their steady flame,
Perform such shocking, wicked cruelties
For spite or greed or just for deviltry -
'Twould curl the pumpkin hair of bald and witless Jack.

The horror! The horror!

See to my left, a cocked pistol.
See to my right, a meat cleaver.
And over it all, the eloquent charm of masterful words.

Comfortably moored between
Safety and satiation,
Bound to a world of civility.

Yet what if the pistol becomes steaming jungle?
And the cleaver is traded for damp, cloying air?
And what if the voices that draw me fall silent?

Let your eyes close.
Gaze not on the darkness.
It, too, shall blind you.

The last word he pronounced was - your name.

Now at the last, with all masks stripped away,
Shocked out of unconscious pride and self-love,
Swept down the dark, murky river of souls,
Toward that helpless obscurity found at its end:
Grinning and toothless, the specter of death, who
Claims for his own all these ghastly remains.
Leaving us all to find sense out of darkness,
Courage to speak of the horror we've seen
And discover the truth of the darkness within.

Copyright 2008 Douglas. All rights reserved. has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.

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This post has been awarded 28 stars by 7 readers.
This post is Part 1 of a writing series titled Heart of Darkness. The next part of this series can be found here: Heart of Darkness (Novella and Poem).
This post is part of a writing prompt: Alphabet Soup - H
This is a revised version of a post. Click here to view the original version

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