Blood is a theme entirely appropriate for poetry. Whether you simply want to frighten someone with some bloody ballads or whether you just want to write some rhymes of red, it’s worth pointing out the deeply symbolic meaning of blood. It may not be to your taste, but surely there is room for plasma poetry, hemoglobin haiku, and cellular cinquains—perhaps one might even throw in an ode to oxygen!
Our own poems here, we have to admit, are bit creepy and scary, but as it’s the autumn season we hope you’ll indulge us. Each poem is written in free verse, and you’ll find it only on Shadow of Iris.
by Ivan Edge
He went to the sink,
and he gazed at his hands;
they dripped in crimson red.
Already under his finger nails
the blood had dried
into a dark brownish color,
and between his fingers
it had quickly begun to congeal,
into something horrid—
a viscous substance of garnet,
both sticky and thick.
The fluorescent light over the mirror
flickered coldly—and he could see
splattered across his body,
and even his face,
uneven splashes of dark crimson—
dried tears of pain.
He turned the spigot on the sink
and watched the clear water
dribble down the drain.
Soon the water was ruby tinged,
as he tried to gently rinse
the fetid hate off his flesh.
Finally, he reached for the soap,
but no matter how hard he tried
he could not wash any of it away.
Patches of sangria stained him,
so he reached for a bristly brush,
and after adding a little stringent soap,
he brutally scrubbed at his hands
until he’d created a frothy blush foam,
then that, too, he rinsed down the drain.
Yet still under his nails, he could see
the dried bits of garnet flaking.
He took out a small nail file, and using
its sharp pointed end, he scraped away
the cherry colored dirt behind his nails.
Then, like he’d done with the rest,
he washed it all down the drain.
After that, for several more minutes
he just stared at his hands, looking
for hidden signs and secret portents;
surely, if anyone were looking,
they’d immediately see it all—
the hate he’d unleashed.
His hands were already flush and pink
from the repeated heavy scrubbing,
but he turned on the water once more
and lathering up with soap;
he washed his hands again
and again and again …
Rain of Blood
by Harry Kane
He’d told no one of his encounter
with a virus carrier—
the last thing he wanted were officials
taking him to a quarantine center
where he’d live out his last days
with doctors poking at him
and nurses looking down at him with pity.
No, if he was going to die,
he’d do it like a man, on his own terms—
alone, with a bottle of whisky
and heavy metal music blasting in his ears.
When the fever struck, it was more intense
than anything he could ever remember—
his head pounded and his muscles ached;
He swallowed ibuprofen like candy,
but it didn’t matter
because nothing would stay down—
and then came the blood,
the horrible oozing blood;
It was then that he realized it was real—
that he was dying.
The hate began slowly, but then it spread
until it encompassed all his heart and mind;
it was an ungodly hate
that stole across his soul;
its source, deep and unfathomable.
All he wanted then was to not die alone:
if he were going to descend down into hell,
then he’d pull a few others down with him;
it was with this evil resolution
that somehow he mustered up his strength
and in a drunken stupor left his apartment.
He staggered across the street
with cars screeching to avoid hitting him
and horns blaring every which way—
all those who saw him were aghast.
Once across the street,
he shambled into the local family diner,
and with blood literally dripping
from his mouth and his eyes,
he took out a knife and slit one of his palms,
then began to flick his blood everywhere.
It landed over syrupy drenched pancakes
and on top of sunny side up eggs;
it fell into both milk and orange juice;
it scattered across tables and chairs and faces;
one poor woman got it in the mouth.
People screamed bloody Mary,
chairs fell backwards and plates fell and crashed;
it was instant pandemonium
even if no one knew what was going on.
Two large truckers got up
from blood dripping coffee cups,
and they approached the man—
but when they saw him close up,
even they grew afraid—
He laughed at them all,
and even as he raised his hand
to flick out yet more blood
he collapsed into a heap on the floor, dead;
his evil vengeance as complete
as it was meaningless.
by the Eclectic Poet
In the blood of mammals
there is a definite point
at which the molecules
form a complex that exceeds
iron, protein, plasma —
ferric and feral,
blood burns —
it is saturated through
and falls to the floor,
another ounce gone,
another dream forlorn,
another bit of truth
gone down the drain.
life that flows
from you to me—
my brother in arms,
as we fight
a war never seen
but only ever
We’re a bag of bones
puffed up with blood,
fragile chaotic systems:
a little prick here
and a little prick there
and we leak so bad—
it’s just a lack of oxygen
that can’t make its way—
it leaves me dizzy
and falling deep into the red.
With the blood covering
her hands and the walls
and the body of the dead
that lay there, mangled before her,
she realized she needed a smoke;
when the police entered the room,
that was how they found her,
sitting down in the chair
calmly exhaling smoke—
her long, soft, golden hair
rustling softly in the wind.
Give love and keep blood between brothers.
— Pete Townshend
We hope you’ve enjoyed these poems about blood. We hope they inspire you try and pen your own cantos of coagulation and musings over marrow. Remember, if you don’t subscribe to our poetry updates, you might miss a poem!