Gothic Poems: 16 Creators Embrace the Somber Side of Art

Gothic poems stand for more than darkness! On one hand, the word gothic embodies everything macabre about humanity. Indeed, orators expressing a darker theme stands alongside light-hearted topics! On the other, darkness is multilayered. Writing is truly a companion to everyone’s life.

Gothic Poetry’s Roots

During the 19th century, Edgar Allen Poe gave gothic poetry a voice. Pieces such as “Annabel Lee” and “The Raven” conveys loss and heartbreak. His sadness speaks to many who searches for kindred spirits to listen. Christina Rossetti was another poet with gothic roots. Her piece “Goblin Market” is well renowned, warnings of goblin men creeping in orchards on summer days.

Gothic Poems: Expressive and Emotional

As time moved on, the definition of gothic broadened. For example, the term specifically defines a foreboding of bad omens. This could describe either a paranormal experience or a traumatic event in life. Poets express somber times in a variety of instances. Despite its horror origins, gothic poems reflect both an appreciation of the eccentric and a yearning for acceptance.

16 Gothic Poems From Talented Artists

This group features poets unashamed of their dark side! These artists use music and spoken word to share their unique outlook on life. Despite their departure of sunny passages, their words represent power.

Rios de la Luz: “Itza”

Great grandma, also known as Abuelita,
died in her sleep.
Her bed was in the middle of the forest…
A giant maple leaf covered her face,
her long, white hair
Spread above her head and reached
the edges of her bed…

Books by Rios De La Luz: Itza

Lanf Leav, “Sunday Best”

Do you remember that night
I turned up on your doorstep?
I was wearing my Sunday best.
You watched the mascara as it
ran down like fault lines,
and you knew there was blood
on my lips.

Books by Lang Leav: Memories (Volume 3), Sad Girls

Donna Lynch, “My Girls Are Always”

My girls are always vicious,
beautiful wolves and serpents
in their truest form, and
I like to believe
they are pieces of me,
If it’s possible to have
that much ugly history
etched upon my bones.

Books by Donna Lynch: Daughters of Lilith, Ladies and Other Vicious Creatures

Dua Saleh, “Pins and Needles”

When you prick a rainbow with a needle
what color does it bleed?
For me it bleeds Black.
Black is a lingering soot that
clings to an oak tree
after her father burns her body alive
and writes her deadname
in her eulogy…

Dua Saleh’s website

Nayo Jones, “Healing”

I had someone tell me once I could not love anyone else
until I learned to love myself.
This time I got to laugh, this time
the sick joke was mine…was me.
Might as well wait forever…

More Info about Nayo Jones: Poetry/Pedagogy Profile

Joanna Valente, “Lake of Blood”

What is the first word
you remember
that lit up a burning ocean,
a flesh
burning of its owner
whose name was burned into your back,
unsaid and unknown.

Books by Joanna Valente: Marys of the Sea, Sexting Ghosts

PJ Harvey, “On a Dirt Road”

We drove up the mountain,
turned off the engine
climbed through a barricade
and walked towards the village
through a thousand fallen plums

Books by PJ Harvey: The Hollow of the Hand

Christina Rosettie, “An October Garden”

In my Autumn garden I was fain
to mourn among my scattered roses;
Alas for that last rosebud which uncloses
To Autumn’s languid sun and rain
When all the world is on the wane!
Which has not felt the sweet constraint of June,
Nor heard the nightingale in tune…

Books by Christina Rosetti: The Complete Poems, Goblin Market and Other Poems

amanda lovelace, “to make monsters out of girls”

I would be lying if I ever said
you served no greater purpose
in the book of my life.
There is at least one good deed
that I can attribute to you.
Only after you left me stranded
and I found myself still breathing
that I knew I could withstand
everything that came after you…

Books by amanda lovelace: To Make Monsters Out of Girls, The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One, The Mermaid’s Voice Returns In This One

Edgar Allan Poe, “The Raven”

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”

Books by Edgar Allen Poe: Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe

Alfred Tennyson, “The Lady of Shalott”

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro’ the field the road runs by
To many-tower’d Camelot

Books by Alfred Tennyson: The Complete Poetical Works of Alfred Tennyson, Idylls of the King

Nikita Gill, “Lessons From Hephaestus”

If hate is what made you,
how does one replace it with love?
You learn sweetness despite being
built with jealous commands,
You choose a different path
than your blood demands

Books from Nikita Gill: Great Goddesses: Life Lessons From Myths and Monsters, Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul

Pablo Neruda, “Tonight I Can Write The Saddest Lines”

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
Write, for example, “The night is shattered
and the blue stars shiver in the distance.
The night wind revolves in the sky and sings

Books by Pablo Neruda: The Poetry of Pablo Naruda, Odes to Common Things

W.S. Merwin, “Thanks”

Listen
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
standing by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

Books by W.S. Merwin: The Essential W.S. Merwin, The Moon Before Morning

Rupi Kaur, “Excerpt From Milk and Honey

The woman who comes after me
will be a bootleg version of who I am.
She will try to write poems for you
to erase the ones I’ve left memorized
on your lips, but
her lines can never punch you
in the stomach the way mine did

Books by Rupi Kaur: Milk and Honey, The Sun and Her Flowers

Trista Mateer, “What I Would Tell You If I Were Not Stubborn”

You are not the moon, or the sun
or a planet, or a dwarf star.
I am not stuck in your gravitational pull.
You are a girl too far away,
with chapped lips and messy skin
and yellow hair and I love you…

Books by Trista Meteer: Honeybee, Aphrodite Made Me Do It

Gothic Poems: Additional Links

Want more expressive material? 25 Dark Poems for When You Want to Explore the Shadows has what you need! 14 Gorgeous Poems Written and Performed by Poets of Color also highlights strong talent!

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