The Monday Poem – Five Haiku by Paul Eluard

This week’s poem is Paul Eluard’s Five Haiku. I hope it inspires you 🙂

There were only a few of them
In all the earth
Each one thought he was alone
They sang, they were right
To sing
But they sang the way you sack a city
The way you kill yourself.

Frayed moist night
Shall we endure you
Shall we not shake
Your cloacal evidence
We shall not wait for a morning
Made to measure
We wanted to see in other people’s eyes
Their nights of love exhausted
They dream only of dying
Their lovely flesh forgotten
Bees caught in their honey
They are ignorant of life
And we suffer everywhere
Red roofs dissolve under the tongue
Dog days in the full beds
Come, empty your sacks of fresh blood
There is still a shadow here

A shred of imbecile there
In the wind their masks, their cast-offs
In lead their traps, their chains
And their prudent blind-men’s gestures
There is fire under rocks
If you put out the fire
Be careful we have
Despite the night it breeds
More strength than the belly
Of your wives and sisters
And we will reproduce
Without them but by ax strokes
In your prisons

Torrents of stone labors of foam
Where eyes float without rancor
Just eyes without hope
That know you
And that you should have put out
Rather than ignore

With a safety pin quicker than your gibbets
We shall take our booty where we want it to be

Paul Eluard

I Cannot Give the Reasons

One of my favourite and most re-read books is Mervyn Peake’s A Book of Nonsense. The following poem comes from this book.


I cannot give the reasons,
I only sing the tunes:
the sadness of the seasons
the madness of the moons.

I cannot be didactic
or lucid, but I can
be quite obscure and practic-
ally marzipan

In gorgery and gushness
and all that’s squishified.
My voice has all the lushness
of what I can’t abide

And yet it has a beauty
most proud and terrible
denied to those whose duty
is to be cerebral.

Among the antlered mountains
I make my viscous way
and watch the sepia mountains
throw up their lime-green spray.

Mervyn Peake
Mervyn Peake

Favourite 1880s Horror Tales by Robert Louis Stevenson (4)

This is the last post in a series of four. I hope you’ve enjoyed them all!

Markheim as illustrated by Michael Lark
Markheim as illustrated by Michael Lark

Short story Markheim.

This is considered to be one of Robert Louis Stevenson’s more macabre tales. The ending in particular is a great interpretation of fate and human nature. It’s an unusual read, but interesting throughout. The devil can teach a criminal many things. Good versus bad, so they say.

Interesting insights: This story was originally published in The Broken Shaft: Tales of mid-ocean in 1885. The book was edited by Sir Henry Norman.

Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson
Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson

What’s your favourite Robert Louis Stevenson story?

Not read enough today? Try Ambrose Bierce’s A Diagnosis of Death!