'Dracula at Whitby'

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'Dracula at Whitby'

Post by peterfrknight » Sat Dec 30, 2017 8:03 am

I am an Australian living in Perth, Western Australia. My wife, from Greater Manchester, emigrated to Australia at age 19. We first met shortly thereafter. We now visit England from time to time. We appreciate what Whitby has to offer. It is a favorite place with us, as is much of North Yorks.
My poem 'Dracula at Whitby' [see below] is an imagined encounter between 'Dracula' author Bram Stoker & his literary creation Count Dracula. Stoker is the poem's 'voice'. The poem explores what may have been going on in Stoker's mind, while in Whitby, when he was conceiving the persona of Dracula.
I have not included the poem's prelude & first 3 sections. They principally concern Stoker being a conflicted homosexual. When staying in Whitby at the relevant time, he was married with a child. However, for the first week of that stay, he was without his family or others.
I read 'Dracula' a few years ago. I was amazed that Whitby was a significant locale in the book. My wife & I first visited Whitby some years before without being aware of its Dracula connection. We revisited Whitby a few years after I had read 'Dracula'. On this visit, indications of that connection were quite evident, eg some visitors wore vampire apparel.
With Whitby & Dracula, I found a mix of the forces of darkness & evil, the eerie majesty of the ruined Abbey, the uniqueness of the town's location & the dilemma of Stoker's personal situation intriguing. I attempted to give vent to some of that intrigue in my poem.

Read &, hopefully, enjoy.
Peter Knight

Dracula at Whitby [156]

My legs, heavy, moving,
rising, with the force of my will,
in stepped ascending,
above the reach of twinned lights
on whitewashed lighthouses,
uncompromising tall cylinders,
one each located east and west,
standing upon the breakwater jaws
that are the river Esk’s man-made mouth.

No one is about me
but I know that I’m not yet
far removed,
when looking down
at jumbled Whitby town,
its night time show
quietly blinking back,
on both flanks of the river,
so distanced, so reduced in scale.

The river is where
I could have ended,
but I have transcended
my drowning doubts, even if only
for the feel of the dark.

Arrived at the top of the steps,
I tread the well trodden surrounds
of St Margaret’s churchyard,
the scent of sea salt sailing on the air,
there, and about the nearby Abbey,
receptive to what the mind
and spirit can conjure
from the substance
of this night atmosphere.

Here any spirit could rise above
its any coffin constraint.
I expect to see a large black dog
of exotic, dangerous breed,
with red eyes to guide
and prominent pointed teeth and ears.
Such beast does not confront me yet.

Instead, such spirit may be like me.
It may be some form of man
or of something wild, or both.
Such beast/man will hunger
after what man cannot have to himself
except in fantasies, darkness and dreams.
As a beast, he will puncture skin
and draw bodily fluid
to slake his lust.

A hybrid creature now moves
from the depth of that shadow
that has been within me.
Outed, we glance.
That glance holds firm to a stare.
We share some commonality, I see.
I can let go my reaction of repulsion?

Yes, he, my quasi-creation,
will not devour me.
I will not allude to others
of his existence,
at least at this time,
before he is seen to be liberated, done,
bounding toward the nearest moors
like a hound proclaiming new territory.
We should both live and thrive,
in those roles I now ascribe to us.

He will soon be gone,
His steeled presence will be forged by my hand
to papered words,
he, so vigorous when filled with blood,
to predate, at large, at a solitary time each night,
at the cusp of my imagination,
indulging himself in his dark wet delight
without recrimination from me.

But now he still stands before, in my sight,
his appetite honed sharp
after his journey of sleep
from a far foreign sea,
his body buried beneath foreign soil,
and his recent escape to shore alien to him.
His heart is reduced to a small size and withered state,
his body secured within his great black cloak,
his hands protruding, clenched like claws.
His cloak is much the same as mine,
smothering a decrepitude of sin
and a twisted intent of less common kind.

Making to gesture to me, incredibly, he then speaks,
words of his making, spat from his moist lips,
mouthing awakening thoughts, maybe stimulated
by the pinch of salty air. He says:

“I am ready for this country
and its sanctimonious ways,
your corruptible and corrupting,
suffocating England, Mr Stoker.”

“Ready to devour it, bite by bite, to ingest its juices of the flesh,
depositing ranks of undead where I will have been.”

“Don’t restrain your pen, let me continue to be.
Are we to be released beyond this present tense?”

“Yes,” I stammer, “this moment now delivered,
though largely unexpected, is more than mere fiction.”

“We must settle a new equilibrium,
balanced upon the shifting point of our existences,
distance ourselves from the shabby, the habitual, the known,
to give vent to our undeniable, undying preferences,
each one’s strange life’s destiny
tracked in the record of our choice.”

Peter Knight www.peterknightpoetry.com
Copyright reserved.

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