by Murray Ewing
The moon was bright
The breeze was light
As I stepped outside, that fateful night
And felt upon my neck the bite
Of winter coming, toothed in white
And there amidst the tombs the sight
Of my beautiful onetime bride
That moon, so pale,
A deathly veil
Had cast upon her face, once hale
My bride, my bride, I saw you ail,
Saw doctor, priest and lover fail—
But now you walk a graveyard trail
How so, beloved bride?
The solemn owls
From feathered cowls
Affixed me with their yellow scowls
While something in the dark a-prowl
Gave interrogatory growls
Amidst the growing night-wind’s howls
About my beautiful bride.
“My love,” she said
“Why not abed?
“These hours are best left to the dead.
“It was in life that we were wed
“But now my bridal gown is red
“I’m promised to the night instead.”
Thus spoke my onetime bride.
My wits were slow
Transfixed with woe
Or staggered by this dreadful blow
As without further word or show
Enveloped in her ghostly glow
She turned into the night to go—
My longed-for, mourned-for bride
“My love!” I cried
“I would have died
“To be forever at your side!
“I would have cast the world aside—
“Almighty God Himself defied!
“How is it, then, I am denied
“My oh still beautiful bride?”
She stopped, she turned
Her dark eyes burned
I reeled as though I had been spurned—
What fury was this I had earned
When it was love for which I yearned?
And low as could still be discerned
Thus spoke my spectral bride:
“Through darkest deed
“And foulest greed
“By night I am compelled to feed
“Upon the vein I cause to bleed—
“Know then, I am of this creed
“And driven by the vilest need—
“A vampire, not your bride!”
“I love you still,
“For good or ill!”
I cried, and though the night was chill,
My collar buttons opened, till
A cloud of bats about us shrilled
“Without you, love, my life is nil,
“Come, be my Vampire Bride!”
She answered not
But to some plot
Where graveyard flowers, gone to rot,
Were pillow to a headstoned cot
And all the earth one dark red blot—
She led me to this lonely spot
Why here, tormented bride?
“Come end of night
“Before the light
“Can fix me with its burning sight
“I slip into my coffin tight
“And here I gain what brief respite
“That sleep can grant me from my plight.”
Thus spoke my wretched bride
“I cannot share—
“I do not dare—
“The awful loneliness I bear.
“Your love, though powerful and rare,
“Would wither in its deathly air.”
And so it was she left me there,
My beautiful Vampire Bride
I could have wept,
I could have wept!
To think, tonight I might have slept
In lonely ignorance have kept—
Instead, unto the night I stepped
And found this painful soul who crept
In the shape of my onetime bride
In death unwed
In life undead
We share our solitude instead
Upon the separate paths we tread
She in her grave, me in my bed—
Until, perhaps, I too am dead?
Till then, my Vampire Bride!