by M. Alan Vreeland

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Trigger Warning: Self-harm

Sarah knew not of the depths
my love had lately plumbed,                                             
nor could she fathom countless steps
that left my heart succumbed.                   

Sad the man whose mistress’ eyes
are nothing like the sun;
for Sarah’s eyes were yond the skies,
a universe of one.

Her raven hair, so sleek and soft
caressed her slender neck;
once a visage so aloft,           
has left my heart a wreck.

This cursed plague descended
on her lovely graceful frame;
her bloom could not be mended;     
Death has a soul to claim.

Insatiate Reaper will not win!
My Sarah stays with me
beneath the rosebush safe therein
— nature’s thorny filigree.

Circling buzzards overhead,
osmatic — they betray;
why can’t they smell instead
the balm of love’s bouquet?

Damn fever now flows through my veins;
Oh, Death, perhaps you see;
do pity me my heartfelt pains —
to Sarah, please send me!

But why presume that Death will call;
could torment be his game?
Must I wait in shadowed pall
to find my soul unclaimed?

No! I will ensure my fate
and lie among the roses;
a helpful blade to consummate;
my placid clay reposes.

As life drains in a pulsing flow,  
I fade and close my eyes;
How well will scarlet roses grow
with blood to fertilize.

I do believe our spirits merge;
Sarah’s soul to mine does call.
Weep not for us, nor play a dirge;
for Sarah, love is all.

©️ 2021 by M. Alan Vreeland

“Sarah,” by M. Alan Vreeland, was first published on February 18, 2021 in Love Letters to Poe and can be found in Love Letters to Poe, Volume I: A Toast to Edgar Allan Poe.

Interview with M. Alan Vreeland, Author of “Sarah”

What inspired your story?

The current pandemic led me to consider what would happen if a couple both caught a disease. One dies and the other, facing possible death, does not want to be separated. The poem developed out of a love story.

What’s your favorite gothic story or poem and why?

Poe’s “The Raven.” I am in awe of the poem’s rhythm and musicality that drive the story forward in an almost sinister way. The use of classical references and unusual vocabulary add to the depth of the poem.

How long have you been writing?

The earliest record I have of writing poems is from fourth grade. As a teen, I wrote a horror short story that creeped out my teacher so much she said she was worried about me, so I figured it was good. Over the years, I have written in many genres, poems, songs, plays, and short stories. As far as submitting for publications, it has only been in the last couple of years that I have sought publication.

Do you have a theme you return to time and again?

When it comes to gothic/horror poetry, I tend to focus on the power of love which causes a person to act against their own best interests and the subsequent tragedy that this love causes. 

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?

Yul Brynner – “We are born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Everything in-between is a gift.” To me, this is both inspirational and tragic. We seek love and belonging as a means of escaping our existential loneliness, but as humans we often are unsuccessful at recognizing the gifts.

What are you working on now?

A murder mystery script, a horror short story, and another Poe inspired poem.

What else would you like people to know? Where can people find you online?

As a middle school language arts teacher, I often wrote humorous rhyming poetry to get reluctant students interested in poetry. Lately, I’ve branched out into other poetic forms, including gothic and horror. My poem “Fixer Upper” is published in Putrescent Poems anthology. You can find me on Facebook at M. Alan Vreeland.