Saturday, 28 December 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas Horror

Here we are on the fourth day of Christmas, with a hefty slice of indigestion and plenty of feasting days left to go! In order to sustain us all through the jollity and over-indulgence, I have cobbled together this slightly altered version of one of the best known Christmas Carols. I'll just write the final verse, I'm sure you can work out the rest...

On the twelfth day of Christmas a psycho sent to me;

Twelve zombies chomping,
Eleven goblins hissing,
Ten ghouls a-shambling,
Nine spiders scuttling,
Eight ghosts a-haunting,
Seven mermen swimming,
Six vampires flying,
Five enchanted rings,
Four howling wolves,
Three Big Foots,
Two beasts from the deep,
And a severed head in a pear tree!

There you go, Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

A Christmas Gift To You

'Twas the Night Before Christmas
by AFR Pearson (after Clement Clarke Moore)

‘Twas the night before Christmas,
And all through the flat,
Not a creature was stirring,
Not even Old Cat.

The children were sleeping
And dreaming of toys,
When from downstairs’ garden
There came a loud noise!

They ran to the window
To gawp and to stare.
You never could guess
What the children saw there.

The kids’ mouths dropped open
Like a pair of such fools.
The first thing they noticed
Was a pile of tools.

There were hammers and set squares,
Shaped like a “T”,
But what were they building?
Oh, what could it be?

At the base were some wheels,
Getting ready to run.
At the top was a star,
Shining bright like the sun,

And there in the corner,
As plain as could be,
The neighbours had built
A great big Christmas tree.

The children breathed deeply
And tried not to panic.
A Christmas tree robot!
This fir was mechanic!

The children put coats on,
Waved ‘bye to Old Cat,
Crept past their mum’s bedroom
And snuck out the flat.

As they stepped out the door,
Their teeth started to chatter,
But they braved the cold night
To see what was the matter.

As the lift travelled down
The kids heard a loud whirring.
They shouted together,
“The tree must be stirring!”

By the time the lift stopped
And they’d reached the ground floor,
The Christmas tree stood
In the garden no more.

The Christmas tree robot
Rolled off down the street,
With the kids in pursuit
On their small, slippered feet.

Through that Christmas Eve night
The tree rolled and it whirred.
The kids were surprised
That nobody else stirred.

As the robot moved on,
The night soon became foggy.
Then the children heard clearly
The miaow of a moggy.

Then more cats miaowing,
Each a poor little stray.
Just what was occurring?
The kids just couldn’t say.

They followed the tree
And it soon became clear.
That the robot tree paused
When each cat did appear.

It would bend down it’s branches
And then, just like that,
Before you could blink
It would pick up the cat.

The kids were dismayed.
Oh, such dark thoughts were brewing!
Just what could the Christmas Tree
Robot be doing?

An answer appeared,
With the force of a punch.
Was the tree finding felines
To eat for it’s lunch?

But so many cats
Were now sat in the tree,
The kids knew it hadn’t
Had many for tea.

And then with a “sproing!”
The tree’s actions changed.
It lifted it’s branches
And it looked quite deranged.

And into each house,
Be it mansion or flat,
If a cat would find love there,
They were given a cat.

The kids followed behind
Till they knew without doubt,
That each stray had a home,
Not one cat was left out.

They went back to their block,
And up to their floor,
And home to the sound
Of their mum’s noisy snore.

They went to their room
In their warm homely flat,
And looked out the window
While cuddling Old Cat.

And there stood the robot,
A branch up and stretching,
With a small kitten on it,
So cute and so fetching.

The kids opened the window
And shouted with joy
“We’ve got a new kitten!
That beats any toy!”

Old Cat was delighted
And as for their mum,
As soon as she saw it,
She tickled its tum.

Although it had started
With a bit of a fright,
Everybody found joy
On that Christmas Eve night.

So do not be scared
If this Christmas you see
A gigantic robot
That’s shaped like a tree.

It won’t try to eat you.
It won’t go berserk.
It’s happy to roll around
Doing good work.

And the kids heard their neighbours,
Who had caused the delight
Say “Merry Christmas to all,
And to all a good night!”

Sunday, 22 December 2013

In Which I Am Pleased to Have Made Some Paper Zombies

(This post is best read in the voice of Dr Frankenstein, or your favourite mad scientist)

I did it! I made them! I made them all!

I nearly cut my finger off, but that didn't stop me!
Stupid pointy little feet!
So what if his arms fell off again. They stayed on long enough for this picture, didn't they?!
His stupid head wouldn't stay together! Aaaarrggghhhhhh! But I stuck it together. They've all been made! All the paper zombies! Mwah ha ha ha haaaaaaa!!!!!!!! And now? Now I'm going to throw them all into the recycling bin so that I never have to see their evil looking faces ever, ever again!!!

HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Fine Art of Putting Things Off

Today I would like to offer you some tips on the fine art of prevarication, postponement and putting things off. What, I hear you ask, could dear Momento Maureen possibly have to put off in this run up to Christmas-tide? Well, Beautiful Reader, allow me to tell you.

Cast your mind back to August, when I took part in Momento Maureen's Fantabulous Week of Challenges. One of those tasks was to make a zombie army from my Fold-Your-Own-Zombie calendar. I had expected it to be fun, but actually it was a nightmare of glue, sticky tape and tiny bits of paper.

It nearly broke me.

Well, I have managed to do exactly what I told myself I wouldn't. I haven't made another bloody paper zombie since. Now I have four of the little bastards, still in their 2D form, mocking me.

December is slipping through my fingers, it seems unlikely that I'll do it in Christmas week and I want them out of my life before 2014 hits. That gives me a week.

Now really I should just sit myself down and get on with it. But I know it's not going to be fun, and I don't like doing things that aren't fun.

So, instead I have written this blog post. You see, the best way to put things off is to do other things instead, things that really are quite useful, so you feel like you're being productive. I remember my tutor at university telling me that when she was meant to be writing up her PhD thesis she actually found herself ironing her flatmate's sheets. I'll probably do the washing up in a bit, maybe wrap some Christmas presents, perhaps think through what my New Years Resolutions should be. I'm even considering starting a new blog in which to chart my rise to mental health (fingers crossed) so that this one can stay a bit more purely zombified and joyous. I'll definitely try and make all the sentences in this post that little bit longer than is strictly, if you think about it, absolutely necessary.

But next time I post here there will be the remaining members of my zombie army (probably), and then I might just burn all the little shits.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Where have I been?

I have decided to explain why I haven't posted here for a while in the style of Yann Martel's The Life of Pi, but shorter and with fewer tigers. I'm going to give you two reasons and you can decide which one you like the best. Okay, it's only very loosely in the style of The Life of Pi, but just go with it.

Story 1:
I haven't posted here for a long time because I've been having problems with anxiety. I've had anxiety problems my entire life, but most of the time I cope with them really well. Unfortunately, sometimes I don't cope so well. In those times I find it hard to go out and do anything without having a panic attack. I have to confine myself to seeing one person at a time and find it a challenge to be in larger groups, especially if it involves meeting new people. For the last month or so I've been doing my best to make sure I get out of the house every day and check my emails and facebook reasonably regularly so as not turn into a complete hermit, but sometimes I just need to curl up on the sofa, where I feel calm and safe.

I finally went to the doctor about it and she was really lovely. She didn't make me feel like I was making a fuss about nothing, and we had a really nice chat. I've got an appointment to talk to someone from Ealing Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (the not-very-catchy IAPT). The first stage is a phone interview, which I am feeling a bit stressed about, of course, but at least it means I don't have to go to a strange new building. I'm feeling good for having done something about it.

I also decided that I was just going to tell people what's going on for a change, because lots of people have problems with anxiety and depression, yet it's still quite hard to talk about and kind of embarrassing. That just adds a whole extra level of stigma that causes further distress. Reading stuff by Jenny Lawson at, who has far worse problems than I do and yet is hilariously funny and really good at regularly updating her blog, made me feel a lot better about myself, and maybe if we could all be a bit more open and a bit more accepting, life would be a bit better for everyone.

Story 2:
I haven't posted here for a long time because there has been an outbreak of Zombiism in London and I have spent the last month or so, chopping, shooting and stomping zombie brains as part of a local fight back.

The problem started on a Monday morning, when everyone was looking quite tired and worn out by the weekend, and it was hard to tell who was infected and who just really didn't want to go back to work. The government sent in the army, who confined the undead to South Acton Estate and then sealed the entire estate shut. It was up to the surviving residents to join together and wipe out the zombie hoard once and for all.

We formed a small militia, making sure that no one was ever on their own, and systematically swept through the estate, using cricket bats, lead pipes, school-kid catapults and anything else we could find to kill the zombies before they could make us one if them.

We put people with mobility issues in charge of surveillance, making sure they were nice and safe in the highest tower blocks. We got the mothers and fathers of large families to cook up big nutritious meals for us all, and made sure that everyone got their fair share.

It took some time, and real organisational skills, but eventually we did it. South Acton is zombie free and the army finally took down the barricades and unblocked our internet access so that I could post on my blog once again.

One of those stories is real, the other one isn't. I leave it to you to decide which one.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Two quick things

Quick thing one - I just wanted to make sure that as many people as possible know about NaNoWriMo. Why? Because it's awesome. It stands for National Novel Writing Month and the aim is for everyone involved to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. It's great in the way it encourages you to just knuckle down and write something and I found it really helped stir my creative juices last year. This year I'm doing it despite going on two holidays and starting a really intensive course on the 18th. Eek!

If you have any interesting in writing, I suggest you give it a go. Even though it's already the 5th, it's not too late. I started on the 10th last year and managed it, and even if you don't reach the word count, it will still have been fun. Check it out at

Quick thing two - Remember, remember the fifth of November! Hope everyone is going to see some awesome fireworks tonight, even if it's just out the window while you stay snug and warm. What I really want to do is offer a quick safety warning. I'm sure you don't need me to nurdle on about fire safety. No! This is about the danger of toffee apples! You may laugh, but I've got a centimetre long cut on my tongue from the toffee apple I had earlier and it ended up mainly tasting of blood. I'm sure there's a horror film in there somewhere.

Be safe, have fun, eat your toffee apples responsibly!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Frightfest Hallowe'en All-Nighter

Last Saturday, after years of not being able to make it for one reason or another, my dad and I finally went to the Frightfest All-Nighter. We had a fine array of sweets and snacks (I highly recommend Sainsbury's chocolate eyeballs with popping candy), a flask of coffee for thems as can drink it and some sugary, fizzy goodness for me.

At 6.30 pm the lovely Frightfest team came to introduce the films and we were off. I'm not going to go in to too much detail about everything that happened in the next thirteen or so hours. There was break-dancing, tears of laughter and some very drunken hugs, calls for a disco dance competition and a huge amount of confusion about what time anything was happening given that the clocks went back that night. We could be here all day, so please allow me simply to treat you to a quick run down of the films.

First up was Soulmate. It's the story of a woman who moves to a haunted cottage in the beautiful Brecon Beacons after the death of her husband and makes a connection with the spirit of the former owner. This wasn't a great film. It was quite spooky but there was some really clunky dialogue. However, I did find myself enjoying it, even though I thought I probably shouldn't. It was quite cheesy, but the perfect guilty pleasure for a rainy day. It's worth it for the brilliant performance by the director's dog, Anubis, surely a star in the making.

Next came Patrick, introduced by the lovely Sharni Vinson, who I was super excited to see because she was so good in both You're Next and Step Up 3D - yep, already a legend. I loved Patrick! It's all about telekinesis and obsession and is both crazy and brilliant. There are some really gross moments and sections where I seemed to be jumping out of my chair every few seconds. If you're a horror fan, give this a watch, I'm sure you'll love it too.

Mark of the Devil took away two hours of my life that I'll never see again and made me feel a little disappointed in myself for sitting all the way through it. I did learn that Udo Kier was a bit of a hottie in his youth...

 but that didn't really make up for anything.

I also loved Discopath. An ingenious film set in 1980 about a man driven mad by disco. It's funny and thrilling and had an awesome soundtrack that kept me grooving in my chair despite it being some ridiculous time of night. I hope the suggested sequel doesn't take too long to manifest.

The Station was like an Austrian The Thing but with an environmental message. There were some good monsters and horrible happenings that still make me feel a little queasy, all wrapped up in a good story, I just wish they'd stuck with a direct translation of the original title and called it Blood Glacier, because how much cooler does that sounds?!

Finally, at something like 5.30 in the morning (maybe) was Nothing Left to Fear, the tale of a minister moving to a country town with his family only to discover there's more going on than meets the eye. Hmmm, this was okay. There were some good jumps and creepy bits, but I've seen very similar stories done better, and without some of the massive plot holes this had. Still, you can never really dislike something starring Clancy Brown. Clancy Brown is awesome.

If you like horror films about demons, give it a watch, but don't set your expectations too high.

My goodness, this has got a bit long! It was a fun night spent in brilliant company, and I have to credit the Vue West End with having very comfortable seats. If you love horror films and can cope without the sleep, come along next year, you really won't regret it and I might even let you share my sweeties.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

My 50th Post and Some Lovely Songs

Pop some party poppers, put on a party hat. This is my 50th post! In celebration, I'm going to tell you all about the Zombie Duck.

I was in the park a little while ago and I saw this creature...
Now, I appreciate that this isn't a great picture. I may well have been eating an ice-cream at the time. Anyway, if you look closely, it has a sort of grey head, and spooky looking white bits around it's eyes. It was standing perfectly still for ages and looked just like a Zombie Duck! So, the other day I wrote this song about it, to the tune of the Spiderman cartoon.

Zombie Duck! Zombie Duck!
If he bites you, you're out of luck.
Won't eat bread. Won't eat grains.
He only wants to eat your brains.
Look out!
This is the Zombie Duck!

Then I looked at the picture again and thought, what with that long neck, it was much more likely to be some kind of Zombie Goose. So I adapted my song.

Zombie Goose! Zombie Goose!
This evil fiend is on the loose.
Beware the patter of webbed feet
'Cause it's your brains he's gonna eat.
Look out!
This is the Zombie Goose!

By this point, I was getting quite in to composing these songs, and started writing one about a Zombie Swan, but being that I was actually sitting back in the park and what I could mainly see was seagulls, I came up with this final verse instead...

Zombie Gull! Zombie Gull!
The human race he's about to cull.
You hear him squawking in the hair.
He'll eat your brains, spit out your hair.
Look out!
This is the Zombie Gull!

And with that I was done.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

An Intrepid Search!

Things I found while searching for my hole-punch:

20 pens that no longer work.
A sticky lollipop (at least two and a half years old)
Half a Refresher bar (at least two and a half years old)
2 calculators
A ruler
A device to punch heart shaped holes out of card (close, but no cigar)
5 pencil sharpeners
2 pairs of safety scissors
A role of Refreshers (at least two and a half years old, but not opened, so presumed edible)
A snow shaker with a penguin inside, but no water.
15 pencils
10 Icelandic Krona
6 stickers of the Icelandic flag
5 Stickers of shiny skulls.

Things I did not find while searching for my hole-punch:

A partridge in a pear tree
The Holy Grail
The meaning of life
My hole-punch.

On the one hand, I failed. On the other hand, I've got sweets that probably won't kill me.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Horror for Kids #2: Monsters Univerity

I could've sworn I'd written another Horror for Kids blog. I think what happened is that I've watched lots of creepy kids movies, but when I've come to actually writing a post, something else has popped into my mind. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and all that. Ho hum. I guess all those other reviews can stay up my sleeve as something for a rainy day when all other blog-related ideas have failed me.

I don't usually go and see kids films at the cinema. I don't have any kids to use as an excuse and most of my cinema-buddies are more likely to pick an 18 than a U, so it was quite nice when a friend suggested going to see Monsters University. You can't go wrong with Pixar, and this was no exception to that rule. Monsters Inc was really fun in inventing a world powered by the screams of children. They got us all rooting for the monsters that frightened us when we were little; the creature under the bed, the thing in the closet. Seeing monsters running away from a little child was hilarious, and oddly comforting.

Monsters University takes us back to that world, giving us more detail on the lives of Mike and Sully. It's the typical story of the underdog trying to prove he can fulfill his dreams; a tale of unlikely friendships forged in adversity. There are all the characters you might find in a highschool comedy, (jocks, cheerleaders, nerds) only with added tentacles. The whole thing is really well done, the animation is ludicrously brilliant, to the point where I really couldn't tell whether some of it was real or not. I found myself genuinely caring about what happened to the characters. They even managed to surprise me at the end. The message they're leaving the kids (and us adults) with wasn't the one I thought they'd go for.

So, if you loved the original you will also love this. In fact, I kind of wished I'd watched it first because there were quite a few references to it, and I'm sure I didn't spot them all. It's not scary, but it is really fun, and Mike as a little kids is one of the cutest things I've ever seen.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The Yummiest Dalek Ever

The only thing better than coming down to breakfast and finding this in the kitchen...
... is coming down to breakfast and finding this in the kitchen...
Yep, a Dalek cake with my name on it. Yum! The cake has been exterminated.

Thank you to the people collecting money for young actors in Chiswick for making this lovely cake, and thanks to my parents for buying one for me.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Riddick: A Review

First, to set the scene...

We arrived twenty minutes early at the Cineworld Hammersmith. This often happens. The nearest tube station is Ravenscourt Park, which is only a few stops away on the District Line. Unfortunately the District Line is a bit ponderous and sometimes likes to have fifteen minute breaks in the middle of the day, so we normally leave plenty of time only to get lucky and get on a tube straight away. So, we were twenty minutes early, and the film started twenty minutes late, and then only because Dad went out and told them that nothing was happening. So, by the time the film started I was feeling pretty annoyed and cold. Why are cinemas so cold? It's ridiculous.

Anyway, the review...

There are, in my opinion, two things you need to enjoy this film. The first is a love of Vin Diesel and the second is a forgiving nature. Thankfully, I possess both of these and so really enjoyed it.
I mean, yes, there are some appalling moments of dialogue and Katee Sackhoff doesn't seem to be bothering to act, even though I know she can. There's also some awkward moments of what I think is meant to be sexual tension.

But fuck it! It's really fun. The opening section is a bit like Tarzan in space, then it turns into a Western, before finally unleashing the monsters. The monsters are awesome! They're slimy with big teeth, and come in a variety of sizes. What more could you need? A nice dog-like sidekick? Done.

As much as some of the dialogue is terrible, there's also some wonderful one-liners, which I would quote for you, if I were the kind of person who could remember quotes really easily. You'll just have to trust me on that one and go and see it.

The best thing about the film is how it looks. It's beautiful. The desolate planet, the dramatic sky, Vin Diesel clambering around on rocks in the nude*.

Yes, it's silly, and I don't think it's going to win over people who didn't like Chronicles of Riddick, but if you can forgive the little things, it's a really fun film, an enjoyable cinema experience, and it managed to cheer me out of the impatient grump I was in when the film started. I was cheered to see that it was number one in the US box office in its first week. Long live Vin Diesel!

*Naked ladies are also available, if that's more your thing.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Upon A Painted Sea

Last night I went to see a wonderful production of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by the Tiger Lillies at the Southbank Centre. It looked like the fever-dream of a Victorian set designer and the music was dark and wonderful. Anyway, it reminded me of quite how much I love the poem. It is both nightmarish and beautiful, and even contains living corpses at one point (joy). So, rather than me waffling on about it, I thought I'd just stick it on my blog for everyone to enjoy.

The Rime of Ancient Mariner
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Part I

It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
`By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp'st thou me?

The bridegroom's doors are opened wide,
And I am next of kin;
The guests are met, the feast is set:
Mayst hear the merry din.'

He holds him with his skinny hand,
"There was a ship," quoth he.
`Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!'
Eftsoons his hand dropped he.

He holds him with his glittering eye - 
The Wedding-Guest stood still,
And listens like a three years' child:
The Mariner hath his will.

The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.

"The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared,
Merrily did we drop
Below the kirk, below the hill,
Below the lighthouse top.

The sun came up upon the left,
Out of the sea came he!
And he shone bright, and on the right
Went down into the sea.

Higher and higher every day,
Till over the mast at noon -"
The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast,
For he heard the loud bassoon.

The bride hath paced into the hall,
Red as a rose is she;
Nodding their heads before her goes
The merry minstrelsy.

The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast,
Yet he cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.

"And now the storm-blast came, and he
Was tyrannous and strong:
He struck with his o'ertaking wings,
And chased us south along.

With sloping masts and dipping prow,
As who pursued with yell and blow
Still treads the shadow of his foe,
And foward bends his head,
The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast,
And southward aye we fled.

And now there came both mist and snow,
And it grew wondrous cold:
And ice, mast-high, came floating by,
As green as emerald.

And through the drifts the snowy clifts
Did send a dismal sheen:
Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken - 
The ice was all between.

The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound!

At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the fog it came;
As it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God's name.

It ate the food it ne'er had eat,
And round and round it flew.
The ice did split with a thunder-fit;
The helmsman steered us through!

And a good south wind sprung up behind;
The Albatross did follow,
And every day, for food or play,
Came to the mariner's hollo!

In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
It perched for vespers nine;
Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,
Glimmered the white moonshine."

`God save thee, ancient Mariner,
From the fiends that plague thee thus! - 
Why look'st thou so?' -"With my crossbow
I shot the Albatross."

Part II

"The sun now rose upon the right:
Out of the sea came he,
Still hid in mist, and on the left
Went down into the sea.

And the good south wind still blew behind,
But no sweet bird did follow,
Nor any day for food or play
Came to the mariners' hollo!

And I had done a hellish thing,
And it would work 'em woe:
For all averred, I had killed the bird
That made the breeze to blow.
Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay,
That made the breeze to blow!

Nor dim nor red, like God's own head,
The glorious sun uprist:
Then all averred, I had killed the bird
That brought the fog and mist.
'Twas right, said they, such birds to slay,
That bring the fog and mist.

The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.

Down dropped the breeze, the sails dropped down,
'Twas sad as sad could be;
And we did speak only to break
The silence of the sea!

All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the moon.

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.

About, about, in reel and rout
The death-fires danced at night;
The water, like a witch's oils,
Burnt green, and blue, and white.

And some in dreams assured were
Of the Spirit that plagued us so;
Nine fathom deep he had followed us
From the land of mist and snow.

And every tongue, through utter drought,
Was withered at the root;
We could not speak, no more than if
We had been choked with soot.

Ah! well-a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung."

Part III

"There passed a weary time. Each throat
Was parched, and glazed each eye.
A weary time! a weary time!
How glazed each weary eye - 
When looking westward, I beheld
A something in the sky.

At first it seemed a little speck,
And then it seemed a mist;
It moved and moved, and took at last
A certain shape, I wist.

A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!
And still it neared and neared:
As if it dodged a water-sprite,
It plunged and tacked and veered.

With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
We could nor laugh nor wail;
Through utter drought all dumb we stood!
I bit my arm, I sucked the blood,
And cried, A sail! a sail!

With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
Agape they heard me call:
Gramercy! they for joy did grin,
And all at once their breath drew in,
As they were drinking all.

See! see! (I cried) she tacks no more!
Hither to work us weal;
Without a breeze, without a tide,
She steadies with upright keel!

The western wave was all a-flame,
The day was well nigh done!
Almost upon the western wave
Rested the broad bright sun;
When that strange shape drove suddenly
Betwixt us and the sun.

And straight the sun was flecked with bars,
(Heaven's Mother send us grace!)
As if through a dungeon-grate he peered
With broad and burning face.

Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)
How fast she nears and nears!
Are those her sails that glance in the sun,
Like restless gossameres?

Are those her ribs through which the sun
Did peer, as through a grate?
And is that Woman all her crew?
Is that a Death? and are there two?
Is Death that Woman's mate?

Her lips were red, her looks were free,
Her locks were yellow as gold:
Her skin was as white as leprosy,
The Nightmare Life-in-Death was she,
Who thicks man's blood with cold.

The naked hulk alongside came,
And the twain were casting dice;
`The game is done! I've won! I've won!'
Quoth she, and whistles thrice.

The sun's rim dips; the stars rush out:
At one stride comes the dark;
With far-heard whisper o'er the sea,
Off shot the spectre-bark.

We listened and looked sideways up!
Fear at my heart, as at a cup,
My life-blood seemed to sip!
The stars were dim, and thick the night,
The steersman's face by his lamp gleamed white;
From the sails the dew did drip - 
Till clomb above the eastern bar
The horned moon, with one bright star
Within the nether tip.

One after one, by the star-dogged moon,
Too quick for groan or sigh,
Each turned his face with a ghastly pang,
And cursed me with his eye.

Four times fifty living men,
(And I heard nor sigh nor groan)
With heavy thump, a lifeless lump,
They dropped down one by one.

The souls did from their bodies fly, - 
They fled to bliss or woe!
And every soul it passed me by,
Like the whizz of my crossbow!"

Part IV

`I fear thee, ancient Mariner!
I fear thy skinny hand!
And thou art long, and lank, and brown,
As is the ribbed sea-sand.

I fear thee and thy glittering eye,
And thy skinny hand, so brown.' - 
"Fear not, fear not, thou Wedding-Guest!
This body dropped not down.

Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide wide sea!
And never a saint took pity on
My soul in agony.

The many men, so beautiful!
And they all dead did lie;
And a thousand thousand slimy things
Lived on; and so did I.

I looked upon the rotting sea,
And drew my eyes away;
I looked upon the rotting deck,
And there the dead men lay.

I looked to heaven, and tried to pray;
But or ever a prayer had gusht,
A wicked whisper came and made
My heart as dry as dust.

I closed my lids, and kept them close,
And the balls like pulses beat;
Forthe sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky,
Lay like a load on my weary eye,
And the dead were at my feet.

The cold sweat melted from their limbs,
Nor rot nor reek did they:
The look with which they looked on me
Had never passed away.

An orphan's curse would drag to hell
A spirit from on high;
But oh! more horrible than that
Is the curse in a dead man's eye!
Seven days, seven nights, I saw that curse,
And yet I could not die.

The moving moon went up the sky,
And no where did abide:
Softly she was going up,
And a star or two beside - 

Her beams bemocked the sultry main,
Like April hoar-frost spread;
But where the ship's huge shadow lay,
The charmed water burnt alway
A still and awful red.

Beyond the shadow of the ship
I watched the water-snakes:
They moved in tracks of shining white,
And when they reared, the elfish light
Fell off in hoary flakes.

Within the shadow of the ship
I watched their rich attire:
Blue, glossy green, and velvet black,
They coiled and swam; and every track
Was a flash of golden fire.

O happy living things! no tongue
Their beauty might declare:
A spring of love gushed from my heart,
And I blessed them unaware:
Sure my kind saint took pity on me,
And I blessed them unaware.

The selfsame moment I could pray;
And from my neck so free
The Albatross fell off, and sank
Like lead into the sea."

Part V

"Oh sleep! it is a gentle thing,
Beloved from pole to pole!
To Mary Queen the praise be given!
She sent the gentle sleep from heaven,
That slid into my soul.

The silly buckets on the deck,
That had so long remained,
I dreamt that they were filled with dew;
And when I awoke, it rained.

My lips were wet, my throat was cold,
My garments all were dank;
Sure I had drunken in my dreams,
And still my body drank.

I moved, and could not feel my limbs:
I was so light -almost
I thought that I had died in sleep,
And was a blessed ghost.

And soon I heard a roaring wind:
It did not come anear;
But with its sound it shook the sails,
That were so thin and sere.

The upper air burst into life!
And a hundred fire-flags sheen,
To and fro they were hurried about!
And to and fro, and in and out,
The wan stars danced between.

And the coming wind did roar more loud,
And the sails did sigh like sedge;
And the rain poured down from one black cloud;
The moon was at its edge.

The thick black cloud was cleft, and still
The moon was at its side:
Like waters shot from some high crag,
The lightning fell with never a jag,
A river steep and wide.

The loud wind never reached the ship,
Yet now the ship moved on!
Beneath the lightning and the moon
The dead men gave a groan.

They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,
Nor spake, nor moved their eyes;
It had been strange, even in a dream,
To have seen those dead men rise.

The helmsman steered, the ship moved on;
Yet never a breeze up blew;
The mariners all 'gan work the ropes,
Where they were wont to do;
They raised their limbs like lifeless tools - 
We were a ghastly crew.

The body of my brother's son
Stood by me, knee to knee:
The body and I pulled at one rope,
But he said nought to me."

`I fear thee, ancient Mariner!'
"Be calm, thou Wedding-Guest!
'Twas not those souls that fled in pain,
Which to their corses came again,
But a troop of spirits blest:

For when it dawned -they dropped their arms,
And clustered round the mast;
Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths,
And from their bodies passed.

Around, around, flew each sweet sound,
Then darted to the sun;
Slowly the sounds came back again,
Now mixed, now one by one.

Sometimes a-dropping from the sky
I heard the skylark sing;
Sometimes all little birds that are,
How they seemed to fill the sea and air
With their sweet jargoning!

And now 'twas like all instruments,
Now like a lonely flute;
And now it is an angel's song,
That makes the heavens be mute.

It ceased; yet still the sails made on
A pleasant noise till noon,
A noise like of a hidden brook
In the leafy month of June,
That to the sleeping woods all night
Singeth a quiet tune.

Till noon we quietly sailed on,
Yet never a breeze did breathe;
Slowly and smoothly went the ship,
Moved onward from beneath.

Under the keel nine fathom deep,
From the land of mist and snow,
The spirit slid: and it was he
That made the ship to go.
The sails at noon left off their tune,
And the ship stood still also.

The sun, right up above the mast,
Had fixed her to the ocean:
But in a minute she 'gan stir,
With a short uneasy motion - 
Backwards and forwards half her length
With a short uneasy motion.

Then like a pawing horse let go,
She made a sudden bound:
It flung the blood into my head,
And I fell down in a swound.

How long in that same fit I lay,
I have not to declare;
But ere my living life returned,
I heard and in my soul discerned
Two voices in the air.

`Is it he?' quoth one, `Is this the man?
By him who died on cross,
With his cruel bow he laid full low
The harmless Albatross.

The spirit who bideth by himself
In the land of mist and snow,
He loved the bird that loved the man
Who shot him with his bow.'

The other was a softer voice,
As soft as honey-dew:
Quoth he, `The man hath penance done,
And penance more will do.'

Part VI

First Voice

But tell me, tell me! speak again,
Thy soft response renewing - 
What makes that ship drive on so fast?
What is the ocean doing?

Second Voice

Still as a slave before his lord,
The ocean hath no blast;
His great bright eye most silently
Up to the moon is cast - 

If he may know which way to go;
For she guides him smooth or grim.
See, brother, see! how graciously
She looketh down on him.

First Voice

But why drives on that ship so fast,
Without or wave or wind?

Second Voice

The air is cut away before,
And closes from behind.

Fly, brother, fly! more high, more high!
Or we shall be belated:
For slow and slow that ship will go,
When the Mariner's trance is abated.

"I woke, and we were sailing on
As in a gentle weather:
'Twas night, calm night, the moon was high;
The dead men stood together.

All stood together on the deck,
For a charnel-dungeon fitter:
All fixed on me their stony eyes,
That in the moon did glitter.

The pang, the curse, with which they died,
Had never passed away:
I could not draw my eyes from theirs,
Nor turn them up to pray.

And now this spell was snapped: once more
I viewed the ocean green,
And looked far forth, yet little saw
Of what had else been seen - 

Like one that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round walks on,
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.

But soon there breathed a wind on me,
Nor sound nor motion made:
Its path was not upon the sea,
In ripple or in shade.

It raised my hair, it fanned my cheek
Like a meadow-gale of spring - 
It mingled strangely with my fears,
Yet it felt like a welcoming.

Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship,
Yet she sailed softly too:
Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze - 
On me alone it blew.

Oh! dream of joy! is this indeed
The lighthouse top I see?
Is this the hill? is this the kirk?
Is this mine own country?

We drifted o'er the harbour-bar,
And I with sobs did pray - 
O let me be awake, my God!
Or let me sleep alway.

The harbour-bay was clear as glass,
So smoothly it was strewn!
And on the bay the moonlight lay,
And the shadow of the moon.

The rock shone bright, the kirk no less,
That stands above the rock:
The moonlight steeped in silentness
The steady weathercock.

And the bay was white with silent light,
Till rising from the same,
Full many shapes, that shadows were,
In crimson colours came.

A little distance from the prow
Those crimson shadows were:
I turned my eyes upon the deck - 
Oh, Christ! what saw I there!

Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat,
And, by the holy rood!
A man all light, a seraph-man,
On every corse there stood.

This seraph-band, each waved his hand:
It was a heavenly sight!
They stood as signals to the land,
Each one a lovely light;

This seraph-band, each waved his hand,
No voice did they impart - 
No voice; but oh! the silence sank
Like music on my heart.

But soon I heard the dash of oars,
I heard the Pilot's cheer;
My head was turned perforce away,
And I saw a boat appear.

The Pilot and the Pilot's boy,
I heard them coming fast:
Dear Lord in heaven! it was a joy
The dead men could not blast.

I saw a third -I heard his voice:
It is the Hermit good!
He singeth loud his godly hymns
That he makes in the wood.
He'll shrieve my soul, he'll wash away
The Albatross's blood."

Part VII

"This Hermit good lives in that wood
Which slopes down to the sea.
How loudly his sweet voice he rears!
He loves to talk with marineers
That come from a far country.

He kneels at morn, and noon, and eve - 
He hath a cushion plump:
It is the moss that wholly hides
The rotted old oak-stump.

The skiff-boat neared: I heard them talk,
`Why, this is strange, I trow!
Where are those lights so many and fair,
That signal made but now?'

`Strange, by my faith!' the Hermit said - 
`And they answered not our cheer!
The planks looked warped! and see those sails,
How thin they are and sere!
I never saw aught like to them,
Unless perchance it were

Brown skeletons of leaves that lag
My forest-brook along;
When the ivy-tod is heavy with snow,
And the owlet whoops to the wolf below,
That eats the she-wolf's young.'

`Dear Lord! it hath a fiendish look - 
(The Pilot made reply)
I am afeared' -`Push on, push on!'
Said the Hermit cheerily.

The boat came closer to the ship,
But I nor spake nor stirred;
The boat came close beneath the ship,
And straight a sound was heard.

Under the water it rumbled on,
Still louder and more dread:
It reached the ship, it split the bay;
The ship went down like lead.

Stunned by that loud and dreadful sound,
Which sky and ocean smote,
Like one that hath been seven days drowned
My body lay afloat;
But swift as dreams, myself I found
Within the Pilot's boat.

Upon the whirl where sank the ship
The boat spun round and round;
And all was still, save that the hill
Was telling of the sound.

I moved my lips -the Pilot shrieked
And fell down in a fit;
The holy Hermit raised his eyes,
And prayed where he did sit.

I took the oars: the Pilot's boy,
Who now doth crazy go,
Laughed loud and long, and all the while
His eyes went to and fro.
`Ha! ha!' quoth he, `full plain I see,
The Devil knows how to row.'

And now, all in my own country,
I stood on the firm land!
The Hermit stepped forth from the boat,
And scarcely he could stand.

O shrieve me, shrieve me, holy man!
The Hermit crossed his brow.
`Say quick,' quoth he `I bid thee say - 
What manner of man art thou?'

Forthwith this frame of mine was wrenched
With a woeful agony,
Which forced me to begin my tale;
And then it left me free.

Since then, at an uncertain hour,
That agony returns;
And till my ghastly tale is told,
This heart within me burns.

I pass, like night, from land to land;
I have strange power of speech;
That moment that his face I see,
I know the man that must hear me:
To him my tale I teach.

What loud uproar bursts from that door!
The wedding-guests are there:
But in the garden-bower the bride
And bride-maids singing are;
And hark the little vesper bell,
Which biddeth me to prayer!

O Wedding-Guest! this soul hath been
Alone on a wide wide sea:
So lonely 'twas, that God himself
Scarce seemed there to be.

O sweeter than the marriage-feast,
'Tis sweeter far to me,
To walk together to the kirk
With a goodly company! - 

To walk together to the kirk,
And all together pray,
While each to his great Father bends,
Old men, and babes, and loving friends,
And youths and maidens gay!

Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
To thee, thou Wedding-Guest!
He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all."

The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
Whose beard with age is hoar,
Is gone; and now the Wedding-Guest
Turned from the bridegroom's door.

He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of sense forlorn:
A sadder and a wiser man
He rose the morrow morn