Monday, October 31, 2011

'Vampire Sestina' by Neil Gaiman


Neil Gaiman's ode to vampires 

Vampire Sestina by Neil Gaiman

I wait here at the boundaries of dream,
all shadow-wrapped. The dark air tastes of night,
so cold and crisp, and I wait for my love.
The moon has bleached the colour from her stone.
She’ll come, and then we’ll stalk this pretty world
alive to darkness and the tang of blood.

It is a lonely game, the quest for blood,
but still, a body’s got the right to dream
and I’d not give it up for all the world.
The moon has leeched the darkness from the night.
I stand in shadows, staring at her stone:
Undead, my lover . . . O, undead my love?

I dreamt you while I slept today and love
meant more to me than life — meant more than blood.
The sunlight sought me, deep beneath my stone,
more dead than any corpse but still a-dream
until I woke as vapour into night
and sunset forced me out into the world.

For many centuries I’ve walked the world
dispensing something that resembled love –
a stolen kiss, then back into the night
contented by the life and by the blood.
And come the morning I was just a dream,
cold body chilling underneath a stone.

I said I would not hurt you. Am I stone
to leave you prey to time and to the world?
I offered you a truth beyond your dreams
while all you had to offer was your love.
I told you not to worry and that blood
tastes sweeter on the wing and late at night.

Sometimes my lovers rise to walk the night . . .
Sometimes they lie, cold corpse beneath a stone,
and never know the joys of bed and blood,
of walking through the shadows of the world;
instead they rot to maggots. O my love
they whispered you had risen, in my dream.

I’ve waited by your stone for half the night
but you won’t leave your dream to hunt for blood.

Good night, my love. I offered you the world.

(What's a sestina? Read this interesting post about the sestina.)