Murder is a dark subject for a poem. Yet we feel that poetry cannot simply be restricted to flowers and fluff. Still, we caution readers about the dark nature of some of these poems. If you are in a morbid state of mind, now might not be the best time for you to read them. Instead, go out among the living and take a pleasant walk. Save them for a calmer time. Be that as it may, Shadow of Iris presents four original poems about murder. While the topic might be a negative one, we hope that each stimulates you artistically in a manner that is positive. To search for the light, you’ve got to explore the darkness.
by Emma Blue
A man is charged in the death
of his three-year old step daughter—
I want to hear no evil:
can you make it stop?
The defendant is on suicide watch;
he is charged with second-degree murder
and first degree manslaughter;
add in assault
and endangering the welfare of a child—
I want to speak no evil,
God, tell me,
how could it happen?
She was just a little girl
in a shelter for the homeless
scared of her step-dad,
so scared that one day
she soiled herself;
so he punished her,
and her sentence was death—
I want to see no evil,
God, enlighten me,
let me know the why of this?
Intent to Kill
by Paul Bearer
He blamed it all
on a series of psychiatric breakdowns;
the murder trial was a sensation,
and everyone watched it on the news
with abated breathe, wondering
what would happen.
He did it all
with a pair of scissors,
and he said it was the war—
that flashbacks of trauma
were triggered by an argument
with his ex-girlfriend,
after he’d shown up at her apartment.
She should never have let him in—
Yes, it may have been her,
who first picked up the scissors,
and who took the first swipe.
Fear, will do that to you.
When the jury saw the photos
they couldn’t image
the ferocity of the attack
he had carried out on her,
wound after wound after wound,
all across her body—
it was brutal and inconceivable.
The turning point came
when the defendant, his face stone,
admitted she’d begged to live—
his own lawyer’s jaw dropped,
and he tried to have the testimony withdrawn,
but it stuck,
and now he waits on death row.
Stony and silent he sits in his cell,
his mind opaque,
his hatred unfathomable.
by Isabel Tolling
The couple in the apartment next to mine
had always kept to themselves,
and I really knew nothing about them—
only that they were an older couple
and that they still at times held hands
and smiled at one another in public.
I remember coming home that day,
to find that their door hung open,
and knowing the neighborhood we live in
that concerned me, so I took a closer look.
I’d never seen the inside of their apartment,
the walls were painted a dark warm orange,
and there were quiet and serene paintings
spaced nicely across it—
there was also a large plaque that read,
home, sweet home.
The furniture had faded floral patterns,
and tossed across the well worn love seat
were throw pillows and a wool blanket—
there were attractive lamps ever where,
and they had been left on, casting
a gentle incandescent glow over the room.
Dinner had been served, a small roast chicken,
with a salad of gently fried vegetables,
and a side dish of string beans and carrots.
There were two plates, each with folded napkins,
a fork and a knife on top—
everything looked cold and entirely untouched.
She laid there sprawled out on the floor
directly in front of the dining table;
she’d fallen forward on her stomach
and I could see the knife
planted solidly in her back—
a pool of blood had flowed from her
creating a viscous, frightening puddle.
No one would ever know why he’d done it,
for he lay not far from her,
the back of his head blown away
from his own self-inflicted gunshot.
When the police arrived,
they asked me question after question,
and I couldn’t answer any of them;
I just kept crying and crying
and trying to understand
the pointlessness of it.
The murder of poetry
by Charlie Tann
Ballads of butchery that barb the breath,
Lyrics of lynchings that leave life lingering,
Ferocious free verse that frays the fervor,
Cantos of carnage that creep the conscience,
Triolets of terror that tempt the temperature,
Ditties of destruction that dampen the disposition,
Haikus of homicide that haunt the heart,
Melodies of manslaughter that melt the marrow,
an outright one-way opera offing
to stanzas that slay
and rhymes that rub out.
Murder’s out of tune,
And sweet revenge grows harsh.
— William Shakespeare
Again, the impetus here is not to wallow in the darkness, but instead to help us cope with it while we search for the light. Whenever you’re feeling morbid or depressed call up a friend, take a walk in the sun—or just go shopping. Keep writing and keep exploring, the best way to deal with the darkness is to bring light to bear upon it.
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