Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Nightmare (John Henry Fuseli), Sonnet #132

Nightmares are death undergoing animation,
A stiffening fog of imagery shot through
With replete hues and stagey illumination,
Shifting floors and infinitely receding views.
They rarely project what we deeply fear
(Which I won't begin to name even here;
I don't tempt the fates crouching inside me),
Yet made real they would scream insanity.
Nightmares climb over the lip of the ego-well
To give flesh to creatures in my personal hell.
The woman's are not just imps with accusing grins.
Her blinded horse looms with a seeming friendly face.
The humped incubus pins her with her fleshly sins.
That equine smile makes a mocking promise of grace.

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