Black Veil

For dVerse we were to write a poem inspired by a piece of fiction.  I chose Nathaniel Hawthorne and his second to last paragraph in the Minister’s Black Veil

“Why do you tremble as me alone?” cried he, turning his veiled face round the circle of pale spectators.  “Tremble also at each other!  Have men avoided me, and women show no pity, and children screamed and fled, only for my black veil?  What, but the mystery which it obscurely typifies, has made this piece of crape so awful?  When the friend shows his inmost heart to his friend; the lover to his best-beloved; when man does not vanity shrink from the eye of his Creator, loathsomely treasuring up the secret of his sin; then deem me a monster, for the symbol beneath which I have lived, and die!  I look around me, and, lo! On every visage a Black Veil!”

My Poem

A scar from a falling star

Unseen in vapors dark

Spit poison in my eye

Sight shrinks tight as night

On the eve when wedding bells cry unbeknownst

And eyes die behind veils black

Leave me be

Leave me fade dead

Leave me covered in my earthly bed

But veil your tongue

Veil your heart still beating

Veil your scar still bleeding

For many stars fell

And cast their spell

On souls unveiled with light


Mock me

Mock your stain

See me

See your chain

Pity your breath wasted

Wondering about my scar in vain

Beneath mossy dust

And grass-grown stone marked grave

Moldered beneath

Veil black

In silenced pain

Set free


13 thoughts on “Black Veil

  1. wow henry…your interpretation leaves me just speechless..so well done…love how you split this..love the images you come up with..the rhymes work well..the repetitions also..wow..you surely met the bar with this

  2. this has a great rhythm to it henry…you did really well with this…evocative…the variation to the repittion is great and pounds it in…veil your scar, veil…and mock…mock…nice….

  3. As I read the original I was struck by the many strong long “a”s (pale/spectator/veil/Creator/and the delicious Victorian crape) and so I enjoyed seeing that you’d retained that sound with different, cleanly modern keywords (pain/stain/grave/wasted/chain).

  4. Very impressed with your choice of text. What a great short story but one of the great short story writers of all of American literature.

    Clearly you are very aware of the effect of sound construction within a poem — you have done a wonderful job here, making this work so well. I love how you took the “asides” and moved them to the side. Excellent response to the challenge!!!

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