I think this might be my first effort with this scheme,  I did up the stakes a bit. It was a lot more difficult than I though it was going to be and you’ll probably notice it’s not that good. The couplet kinda works in a sort of crude way but to be honest it was just the first thing that came out. It sort of half works, it’s got the switch characteristic of this form and I do like the St. Catherine thing, although that’s where I had to cheat on the metre.

Through sky the fugitive black tumult mill
With unattested alacrit, all night.
Through the chase, they seek a disparate thrill,
Some kind of solace for those without sight.
Voices that turn vernal air rank and as still
As the breath of St. Catherine’s plight.
Hunger that dooms each ephemarid kill,
Whose dead accrue to what manifest height?
Creatures of a torpid diurnal will,
In the darkness they awake to cause fright
To those who find a place on their tumbrel.
At dawn the surviving testament,
A pile of steaming bat excrement.


~ by deadspidereye on November 30, 2013.

19 Responses to “Bats”

  1. Bats are fascinating creatures. It’s a wonder that Poe never wrote about them (or did he?).

    • Yes bats do hold a certain curiosity, I think because they appear to have no fear of human presence or at least in my experience and when you encounter them in numbers it’s like stepping into a different reality. I had particular incident in mind when while I composed this, I stepped out early one summer morning to go to a lake, I mean real early 3:am ish, the air is very still at that time of day in the summer and on that day it was alive with bats, literally the only sound you could hear was the occasional splash as they dropped the remains of their last meal.

      I’m not sure if Poe made much reference to bats, I don’t recall any, not even a notable adjective or metaphor

      • I wonder what the bats were feeding on when you saw them? Mosquitoes? I’ve seen them at dusk. I like them as long as they’re ouside. I know someone who found a bat asleep in the curtain in his apartment! He managed to get the curtain outside without waking the bat up. Enjoyed your poem. You write well.

      • Thanks for the compliment, I’m glad you enjoyed the poem. I wonder how that bat got inside, do you think it mistook the room for a cosy roost? I’m almost certain the bats I witnessed were feeding on mating mayflies and other aquatic insects, it was June, there was a full moon and it had been a very still night. The bats were concentrating their flight almost entirely over the water, although I seemed to attract quite a lot of attention from them while I was standing. I’m not sure if this apparent attention is a result of my perspective or perhaps I had some moths following me.

      • Hi. that’s a good question. I don’t how the bat got in the house. It was in the bedroom. I don’t if the guy opened the window at night? Actually, that’s the second time I’ve heard of a bat getting in someone’s bedroom. Probably mistook the curtain for a roost. Bats are definitely attracted to water and the insects flying above it. Fortunately, I’ve always seen bats from a distance. I’m not afraid of them, but a vet told me that bats have a high rate of rabies, although the largest carrier of rabies is the raccoon and after that–the fox. Hey, that would make a good story: a rabid bat in the curtain. Yikes!

      • Yes is that is pretty good idea for a story, I can imagine that kind of incident being the subject of night terrors quite easily. If you ever get the terrors, it’s usually fixated on some presence in the room. We’re pretty lucky here, there’s no rabies and I think the bat are purely insectivores but I by no means an expert. You do see them occasionally in a residential context, after swifts’ve packed in for the night but it’s mostly amongst the hedgerows. I’m planning to extend Bats into a longer piece, so I might crib your idea about the bat in the room for some of it.

  2. Interesting that you mention “night terrors.” I wasn’t familiar with that term until recently. Children get them. I’m not sure what causes night terrors, but I’ve witnessed the phenomena. Supposedly children outgrow them.

    Sometimes I have nightmares–and thirty-some years ago, I saw a demonic apparition in the room. I didn’t know exactly what to do at the time. I was a fairly new Christian. Now if a demon appears in a dream, I tell it to leave “in the name of Jesus.”

    Do you dream in black and white, color, or both? Just wondering. My nightmares are always in black and white or grey scale.

    I’ve started watching a series called “Dreams & Visions” by John Paul Jackson. A fascinating program archived on the Internet.


    • I’m not sure if I dream in black & white, I never recall much impression of colour more events and movement but it seems real at the time so I suppose it should be in colour or maybe greyscale because things are always modelled with a complete tonal range. I don’t suffer the terrors that often but I did used to sleep walk in my teens, which I’m told is the most common age. It’s not true about waking up being fatal but it is pretty traumatic, a bit like being born because you have no recollection at all, of who you are or what the world is find yourself in. Thankfully I haven’t encountered a demon, or at least one that I recall but I have heard of the terrors being related as prophetic and I did write a very short Halloween story about some incidents my mother experienced. I’m not sure how I’d cope with witnessing children in the midst of the terrors, they’re generally not nice experiences at all, although occasionally the experience can be quite vivid and pleasant but that doesn’t happen too often and when it does, there’s a kind of remorse when you wake up. I’ll have a look for the Dreams & Visions thing, it sounds interesting.

  3. Oops! I wrote “Dreams & Visions.” I meant “Dreams & Mysteries.” Season One contained 12 shows in the series. Season Two should start soon. Season One is really good. You can watch all 12 programs on the Internet. John Paul Jackson is an awesome host and dream interpreter.. Regarding dreams in color vs. black and white, try to remind yourself when you’re dreaming to look for color or the absence of it.

    Recently, I had a black and white dream, but the last “scene” in the dream featured a women in an emerald green dress. Most dreams are symbolic. For example, my “house dreams” are generally about me or an issue I’m dealing with.

    Dreams are a lot like parables. I keep pen and paper by the bedside, and write down every dream I recall the moment I woke up. If I don’t write it down immediately, I forget it.

    Dreams have inspired inventions, novels, . . . and perhaps poems..

    • It’s funny this conversation about dreams, I had quite a vivid one a few days ago. It’s the first time I remember having one for quite a while, I’m pretty sure it was in colour and it’s odd how cohesive it was, almost like a narrative, guess what I did? I made a record of events in the dream just like you imply here. One strange thing about it was, I was sleeping quite restlessly and moving between consciousness and sleep as I was having it, but the narrative continued unbroken. I also had another which turned out to be quite prophetic in small way, it was about drawing of woman with elaborate eye make-up, that morphed into flowers or feathers around her face. The odd thing is, is that a new member joined a print on demand site I’m a member of and one of the drawings she posted, is exactly like that drawing I saw in the dream.

      One of my favourite of Poe’s works is his, Dream within a Dream and there are some quite interesting quotes I seem to recall on the subject that are attributed to him too.

  4. Your dream narrative had a beginning, middle, and an end? That’s fascinating! So is the prophetic aspect of the dream. Do you have reoccurring dreams or double dreams? They’re significant too.

    In addition to color, look for the presence of words, numbers, exaggerated objects, people and animals in your dreams. House dreams are really significant too. A house usually represents you and/or your family.

    Most of my dreams fall into certain categories such as conditional dreams, directional dreams, warning dreams, and occasionally prophetic dreams.

    I record many of my dreams in a notebook, but I write the most memorable or significant ones in “Moments With God,” a dream journal by John Paul Jackson. It contains a color spectrum, 20 dream categories, and instructions on drawing or diagramming your dreams.

    I haven’t read Poe’s “Dream Within a Dream,” but now I’m intrigued. I’ll try to find it on the Internet. Thanks for sharing your dream. The more you record them, the more dreams you’ll remember.

    By the way, the man who invented Mason jars got the idea from a dream. He “saw” the canning jar with the seal. Keep me posted.

    • Yeah most of the dreams I recall, follow that structure although they rarely conclude before I awake. They do however occasionally run over a succession of nights and it’s not uncommon for me to dream episodically. I haven’t dreamt much lately because I’m not sleeping too well at the moment but I will follow your tip about taking notes although I find my recollection fades very quickly. Did you manage to track down Dream within a dream?

      • Thank you for reminding me of “A Dream Within a Dream.” I looked it up on the Internet just now and then read a few explanations of it. Apparently, it deals with romance, time, and the difficulty in separating fantasy from reality. The sand imagery is interesting, since we associate sand with time slipping away.

        Have you had double dreams? They are supposed to be very significant. For example, in Genesis Joseph had double dreams about his family bowing down to him (which caused him a heap of trouble when he shared them with his family).

        I hope you’re still keeping track of your dreams. When you consider that we spend a third of our lives dreaming, it makes sense that dreams are significant. Often I see numbers or letters or a name or words just before waking up. Most of the time, I have no idea what this means. Dreams are like riddles. To be honest, I forget most of my dreams as soon as I wake up, but some really stick with me, especially when I write them down. Keep writing yours down. What you’ve shared so far is fascinating.

      • Yeah I do occasionally dream in an episodic manner, I don’t remember much about Joseph’s dreams, except for the seven cows, even then I’m a bit vague on the details. Dream within a dream is one of my favourite poems, it’s a fantastic study in metre and rhyme with an elegant simplicity that’s almost austere when compared to most of Poe’s published poems. Unfortuantly it’s one that seems to have been avoided by most of the best Poe recitalists and I’ve never been able to find a really good recording.

      • Thank you for calling “A Dream Within a Dream” to my attention. It does indeed seem to have been avoided. How odd. I wonder why? By the way, have you ever heard of “The LIghthouse?” It’s a short story that Poe started but did not live to finish. A writer friend of mine invited a group of writers to “finish” the story. The results were quite diverse. I wonder how Poe would have finished the story? I bet you could come up with an authentic Poe-like ending.

      • That sounds like a good exercise for a writing group, there’s a certain irony too because there’s a story about Poe writing a letter to Dickens, where he outlines the next instalment of one Dickens’s episodic novels, that’s if I’ve remembered the story correctly. Poe’s a writer who brings genuine creativity to plot, giving a wide birth to many of the restrictive narrative conventions that are still prevalent today, so there’s a lot of scope for writers to express their own ideas when considering this unfinished work. Did you have a go at finishing it?

  5. No, I thought about doing it just for fun on my own, but it’s sounded like a daunting task. I wish I knew what Poe intended. Something apocalyptic perhaps? He generally (always?) wrote in the first person, a point of view that I find difficult to emulate. I prefer writing in the third person. Will try to find “The Lighthouse” on the Internet and send you the link.

  6. I found the link to “The Lighthouse.” The opening is very short.

  7. Hi Sheryl, I’ve been hiding a for a bit again. I’ve just popped in here and saw your comments. Yeah, the lighthouse is an interesting topic, I think that I’d go with a slightly paranoid theme, our antagonist would be over-reacting and extrapolation trivial occurrences. The Dog, whatsisname, Neptune or some such, he is good focus for inciting tension, dogs are a good stand in for innocence in narratives, so readers react well if they’re placed in peril.

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