Slovenian Gothic – #poetry #dVerse

We all know the tale of the Knight Erasmus
killed by a fateful canon-ball
while blithely obeying the call
of nature
but who knows the tale of his lady love?
– Perhaps no one at all

but I know the tale of Erasmus’ lover
met by moonlight, under darkness’ spell
for only beneath that black velvet cover
of night
could such a deep passion dwell.
– The tale I now shall tell:

One night, the Knight-errant, the brave Erasmus
emerged from depths of his castle-cave
and there on the cliff-side a shadow was calling
who wraithlike did beckon our errant knave.

To the brink she did lead him, this velvet shadow
and there on the ledge he would plunge head-first
for she had so wholly enthralled this fellow
that he knew nothing more but his carnal thirst.

So he leapt, not to death, but to depthless love
and he drank of her potion, most potent and strong
and from that day on, he was wholly giv’n o’er
to all her dark charms, though she soon was gone.

For she was not a lady of wealth, nor of station
but a creature wilder than the wolves of the east
and he could not take her as his bride: the reason? 
She was wholly unfit for the nuptial feast.

But oh, how he loved her, his dark raven-beauty
and every night to the ledge he would come
there to perform his most chivalrous duty
but never within castle walls was she borne.

And when she discovered that she was with child
and he gave her a gold coin, to pay off her shame
she could not abide, for her passion was wild
and so over the ledge she did plummet in vain.

But even in death, she did never forget him
and every night with the wild wolves would call
and sure, he would hear her, his heart ever-bleeding
as it was on the morn of that last cannon-ball:

She appeared in the hallway, and urged him to enter
the latrine – yes, for she had thrown open the door
and as he obeyed that final call of nature
I can’t tell if she smiled at the things that she saw.

© Experimentsinfiction 2020, All Rights Reserved

About this poem

Written for dVerse Poetics, where host Sanaa has asked us to ‘write a Gothic poem and explore the question: “Which according to you are the deepest, darkest and most concealed of human emotions?” ‘ Well, without question, the deepest is love. But as this is Gothic, it had to be forbidden love.

I set this fictional and tongue-in-cheek Gothic tale in Slovenia’s Predjama Castle. The Knight Erasmus was a real historical figure and lord of this castle, and legend has it he was killed by a cannon ball whilst paying a visit to the toilet. Whether he ever did have a forbidden love I have no idea.

49 thoughts on “Slovenian Gothic – #poetry #dVerse

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  1. Oh… maybe she lured him there to have him join her…or maybe she wanted him elsewhere on a place much darker… love the tale and the style.. the picture is so romantic, so I can well imagine this to have happened.

  2. My goodness this is incredibly riveting, Ingrid! 💝 So much to love here especially; “for only beneath that black velvet cover of night could such a deep passion dwell.” Yes! I have a feeling she more than smiled at the things she saw 😉 Thank you so much for writing to the prompt! 💝

  3. I’ve heard of stories going into the toilet, but this is the first that goes TO the toilet! Very entertaining.

  4. Wow, you went on a Gothic roll, and toilet humor abides. Elvis died on the toile, not from a cannonball, but too many peanut butter & banana sandwiches. I really enjoyed your fantasy/fable/tale.

  5. If someone asked me how to go about writing a Great Gothic Tale (especially a whimsical one) I’d send them here. THIS is how it’s done

  6. This was a very imaginative take, though I had to smile at the ending. Their passion sizzles, even though their love story ended with death.

  7. Utterly wonderful, Ingrid.
    You must have longer days in Bled – the volume and brightness of your recent pieces surely cannot be honed in a regular 24 hours?!
    🙂

  8. such masterful writing, all said above, tis outstanding … please send it off for publication? It must be shared … that men know we will avenge!

  9. This is such a story; I loved it, Ingrid.

    Could you please explain this line to me:

    though she soon was gone.

    Is that a reference to her death at the end?

    And this one:

    She was wholly unfit for the nuptial feast.

    Why was she unfit? 🤔

    -David

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed!

      ‘though she soon was gone’ does indeed refer to her death, and she was ‘wholly unfit’ because she was a pauper and a commoner: not the kind of young lady a Knight would be expected to marry.

  10. Great title, Ingrid – is it a play on ‘American Gothic’, which used to be one of my favourite television series? Forbidden love is a perfect theme and, not knowing much about Slovenia, you’ve introduced me to a new Gothic tale, with a historical background and a very unusual death. I’d love to know how you got from death by cannonball on toilet to forbidden love! I love the line:
    ‘So he leapt, not to death, but to depthless love
    and he drank of her potion, most potent and strong
    and from that day on, he was wholly giv’n o’er
    to all her dark charms, though she soon was gone.’

    1. It is indeed a play on ‘American Gothic’ – well spotted! I don’t really know how I made the connection to a death on the toilet with forbidden love – a slight send up of the genre with some serious moments, I suppose!

  11. Well-written gothic tale that made me laugh and took me back to the Middle Ages! This line was clever: “So he leapt, not to death, but to depthless love,” I do feel sorry for this Knight.

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