SABLE REVERY by Robert Nelson
Black roses sprout across the sky,
Pipes sing insensate ‘neath the sea,
The clamant heads of madmen fly
And shatter with a dark outcry,
As tones transpose to deeper dye
And leaves whirl wild with jubilee
Through the mad organist’s rambling brain;
In the disordered sepulchre
A lady’s dead eyes strive to stir,
She dares to laugh, but all in vain;
Three-fingered hands paint a far frieze
With the black blood of vanquished devils,
Who sway and slay the music-breeze
In their daft and dying revels.
Now ebon fluids ‘gin to flow
And drip with waxen candle-men;
Black disks of stone are trundling low;
From the organ’s bosom fuming slow,
Fouler and sadder perfumes blow
To drown the bourns of demon ken;
Skulls flown from swarthy corpses kiss
And feed upon the organist’s soul,
Which ne’er doth cease to toll and roll
Bell-like within this dusk abyss;
Fell plants and flowers writhe in wombs
Of blighted worlds remote from morn,
And musty myrrh exhales from tombs
Whirling in utmost stars forlorn.
Swart suns on sounding waters swell
The turgid notes to direr din,
And murky spirits soar from hell
To flap their cerements palpable
In the wild player’s face, and tell
Jet jewels into his mouth, and spin
Mad gossamers amid his hair;
Swift raven locks entwine his throat,
His eyes no longer glare and gloat;
As from a tower high in air,
The console wakes a weirder fear;
His flaming, fitful fingers chill;
One tear he weeps, a dead man’s tear:
The sable revery is still.


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