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Magpie On The Gallows

Tue Oct 21, 2014, 5:39 PM













:iconclivebarker:

Written by: CliveBarker

Magpie on the Gallows
High above my head,
Tell me truly, maggot–pie,
Is my lover dead?
When he went away to war,
To me eternal love he swore
Tell me truly, bird of gloom,
Where his bed and what his doom?

From the gallows hear the magpie screech:
From now on your lover’s out of reach.
In a bed of mud he died
Soldiers slept at either side,
He has never been faithless dear,
And never will be now, I fear.

Magpie on the Gallows
Feathered white and black,
My brother went a–hunting
Will he not come back?
He was tall and he was strong,
Face was fair and limb was long.
Tell me truly, maggot–pie,
Did he live or did he die?

From the gallows hear the magpie scream
Now your brother is left alone to dream.
There’s no need for you to fret
He’s still fair to look at yet,
He lay in the snow to doze,
And while he slept the poor lad froze.

Magpie on the gallows
Where the death–rope creaks,
Why is it the snow is red
And the north wind reeks?
Can you hear the battle din
See what victories they win?
When will their long war be past?
Will the toiling end or last?

But to this the bird makes no reply:
Looks on with a black, unblinking eye.
I’ll not tell: it seems to say,
Shall I guess the judgement day?
Things will be as things will be,
Don’t ask such fool things of me!

—

Magpie on the Gallows, from Hunters in the Snow, 1973






Previously unpublished.
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:iconmariasnezhinka:
mariasnezhinka Featured By Owner Edited Nov 24, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
:happybounce: 
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:iconodoms-spire:
Odoms-Spire Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Love this! :love:
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:iconrogueteamplayer:
RogueTeamplayer Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2014  Student Writer
I think Poe would like this.
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:icontateetah:
tateetah Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Having recently reread Mockingjay, the last installment in the Hunger Games trilogy, this reminds me of "The Hanging Tree" .
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:icontateetah:
tateetah Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Also meant to say nice work!
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:iconlindartz:
LindArtz Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:D :clap: Wonderful! (It's so delightful, and different, to get a (poetic) glimpse into your mind) Totally unexpected....My favorite part, which just delighted me, was the reference "maggot-pie". :thumbsup::D

I agree, "imagination is everything". For without which, the way my life has went, I'd have offed myself a long time ago...Thanks for all the wonderful entertainment. ("Midnight Meat Train" scared the living shite out of me. Just loved it! ) :D
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:iconblalock27:
blalock27 Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
+fav +fav +fav +fav 
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:iconerebus-odora:
erebus-odora Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I can see this as a song.
It's...
It feels right as a song.
Reply
:iconmissingmom:
missingmom Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2014  Student General Artist
Interesting timing, very fitting for today yet written so long ago!  What made you decide it was time to release the words? :D
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:iconpoisonblackheart:
PoisonBlackheart Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
the type of melancholy horror poetry that kinda smacks one in the mouth. i like it. 
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:iconcenobiteadnaloy:
CenobiteAdnaloy Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Wow. 
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:icongraycat101:
graycat101 Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014
Very nice.
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:iconsubmicron:
submicron Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014  Professional Interface Designer
Better late than never proves to be the case in some stories. Happy Halloween.
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:iconjzmurdock:
jzmurdock Featured By Owner Edited Oct 29, 2014
Very Nice! And on that note, a happy Halloween week....
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:iconroksiel:
Roksiel Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I adore poems with fixed forms, and this is probably one of my favorites now. It's dark, but then again, I've always been attracted to the dark side of life ( or perhaps death? ) 

This may be unrelated to the poem, but I must confess that while your name sounded familiar when a friend mentioned you and gave me a link to your account, I had no idea what he was talking about until I went and googled your name. :faint:

The person behind Pinhead! I almost can't believe it! I'm guilty of watching the movie instead of reading the book, but I shall remedy that asap!
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:iconphaeton99:
Phaeton99 Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Unpublished for decades, but well worth the wait!
So simple, almost plain; and yet, so chilling — this, sir, is why I have long admired your work.  :D
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:icontyidaku:
tyidaku Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014  Student Writer
Deep.
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:iconcphotographia:
CPhotographia Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
It reminds me of Alice's adventures in wonderland, I can't really say why, I'm not english so it's a bit difficult for me to say, but the magpie and the girl seem to talk in the same kind of way than in Alice in wonderland. I don't really know how to explain it but, well, anymays I really like this poem :)
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:iconsunangel35:
SunAngel35 Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2014
Wow....
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:icontriggahlead:
Triggahlead Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Awesome
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:iconfiveraspie:
FiverAspie Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Somehow, I feel as though the magpie regrets not being clairvoyant - had it been indifferent, would it have not remained silent, rather than lashing out?
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:iconlovelynocturne:
lovelynocturne Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2014
Wonderful, as always! I like the mix of classical poetry and a more common, general language you've used. The 2nd verse is almost romantic, comforting but full of sorrow, while the 4th verse is more relaxed and easier in some sense. This isn't poetry for the sake of poetry. It's a story in the form of a poem, and surely pleases the fans of both styles.

The ending to me was especially good and almost fun! The magpie knows what has happened, and why wouldn't it - it's flock sees and hears much. But the future is not for us or for them to know. We will simply need to live and see, and if we die before we know, may the magpie have a little verse for us.
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:icon44aboriginny2014:
44aboriginny2014 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
awesome.  Happy Halloween!!!.  I have read a few of your books.  I like your kind of intense, vivid descriptions.  I enjoyed reading them although scary.
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:iconclivebarker:
CliveBarker Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thank you!
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:iconetiaeinen96:
etiaeinen96 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2014  Student
so true its lovely
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:iconkitten-cammita:
kitten-cammita Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2014  Student Filmographer
Magnifique!
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:iconesp96:
ESP96 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very good. This reminds me of "the Raven" in a way, although it's on a much larger scale - not as personal to the narrator. I also like how it's a little ambiguous as to who the magpie is speaking to. It could be interpreted as one person or several different people. I like it x3
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:iconsleepydaydreamerzzzz:
SleepyDayDreamerzzzz Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Wonderfull....
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:iconabbiewithglasses:
AbbieWithGlasses Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2014
The language used in this is amazing :3
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:iconfeindgottes:
FeindGottes Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2014
Excellent as always
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:iconalmightypineapple:
AlmightyPineapple Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Very creepy,macabre poetry :clap: great job Clive! I wanted to ask how long did it take you to write "The Hellbound Heart?" that happens to be one of your novels that is my favorite.
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:icongnarlycat:
gnarlycat Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2014
Wonderful!!
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:iconzetamale:
ZetaMale Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2014
An actually good poem on DA? I never thought I'd see the day.
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:iconhedgiusporcus:
that was really powerful.
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:iconaustinmelton:
austinmelton Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
beautiful, will subscribe
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:iconunbearableme:
UnbearableME Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2014
youre a true genius :)
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:iconlittle-bacchus:
Little-Bacchus Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2014
Great poem but I trip over a few of the lines when reading it.
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:iconbloomins:
Bloomins Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014
A great piece! Thanks for sharing. :) 
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:iconratravarman:
ratravarman Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Considering the centennial of World War 1, truly appropriate and haunting! It was end of a collective innocence globally and for England the end of the Edwardian era.
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:iconclivebarker:
CliveBarker Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014  Professional General Artist
Well spotted!
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:iconratravarman:
ratravarman Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
You are most welcome! Good to see you again, Sir! :ahoy:

A week before ConSpiracy in Brighton, my host and friend was showing me an unusual monument near the Boadicea monument that was a replica mortar in stone of great detail to full scale. It was angled precisely so that if a charge of sufficient strength was fired from a cannon such as this, it would land in the middle of Longueval, where British troops faced their greatest decimation during that conflict.
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:iconm0narch:
m0narch Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Very nice. Wonderful poem sir.
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:iconhightheban:
HighTheban Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Clive, great work as always!  I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Magpies...Gallows Humour and prose seems right up their alley.  
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:iconnightshade-keyblade:
nightshade-keyblade Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
The imagery is so exquisitely macabre! Perfect for Halloween :pumpkin:
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