Poetry can be about anything and yet, it’s usually the ones about love and heartbreak that usually captures the reader’s heart. But in the dimly lit corridors of literature’s haunted mansion, there exists a hidden chamber where verses of eerie beauty and spectral melancholy reside, seldom visited by bibliophiles. Here’s a list of five poems that explore the spectral realms of human imagination, where the line between the living and the departed blurs.
- “The Listeners” by Walter de la Mare
- This haunting poem tells the story of a traveler who arrives at a deserted house in the woods, only to find it occupied by spectral listeners who do not respond to his calls. Set during a moonlit night, it leaves the reader with a sense of unease. While Walter de la Mare started publishing his works in the early 1900s, “The Listeners” is a haunting poems that would perfectly into horror classic “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, an 1820 short story by Washington Irving.
- “The Haunted Palace” by Edgar Allan Poe
- While Poe is well-known for his macabre tales, this poem often gets overshadowed by his other works. “The Haunted Palace” describes the decay and corruption of a once-beautiful palace, serving as a metaphor for the human mind’s descent into madness.
- “The Phantom-Wooer” by Thomas Lovell Beddoes
- Beddoes was a 19th-century poet who delved into dark and supernatural themes. “The Phantom-Wooer” is a mysterious poem that tells the story of a ghostly lover who visits a young maiden in her dreams. He takes the theme of romance, then transforms it into something morbid and nightmarish through this poem.
- “The Ballad of Tam Lin” (Traditional Scottish Ballad)
- This traditional Scottish ballad is filled with supernatural elements, including a young woman’s encounter with a man who has been captured by the Fairy Queen. It’s a tale of love, bravery, and enchantment. The Ballad also inspired the 1970 British horror film “Tam Lin” starring the stunning Ava Gardner.
- “The Little Ghost” by Edna St. Vincent Millay
- A short, playful poem that presents the idea of a child’s ghost visiting the living, with a touch of whimsy and spookiness. The poet describes a child’s spirit with great enthusiasm, but it’s also a poignant and somber reflection on those who depart from us too soon. It highlights how those dealing with such losses might conjure their own perceptions of a deceptive presence.
Also Read: 10 Fiction Books That Re-Imagine Greek Myths (Audio version below)