The Usborne Book of Creepy Poems (Emery & Cartwright, 1990) features an anthology of disturbing poetry, although disappointingly given the subject matter, a lot of Cartwright’s art is a little mundane. There are however a few wonderful gems, where both the poem and the accompanying image form a satisfyingly gruesome blend.
First up we have the Beast, from Tell Me It Isn’t by Trevor Millum, which you can see at the top of this blog. I really like this creature – colour, pose and expression are all simple but very effective:
Tell me – the movement I saw
Behind the door…
It wasn’t a paw
It wasn’t a claw
It wasn’t the Beast
About to roar
And pounce and gnaw – WAS IT??
(Emery & Cartwright, 1990, p. 2)
|The Mary Celeste...|
Next is Mary Celeste by Stanley Cook. Cartwright’s picture is gloomily evocative, based of course on a true story, but the poem itself isn’t up to much snuff:
On the Atlantic Ocean
The light winds blow
And the abandoned ship
Tacks crazily to and fro.
|The Dusk Jockey rides again!|
Then we meet my second-most favourite, Dusk Jockey by Vernon Scanell, a ghoulish combination of DJ and nightmare. The picture is awesome, particularly the look of determination on the face of the Dusk Jockey's steed. This one concludes with:
And then I’ve got to go, before the blind
Of total night comes down. But don’t believe I’m through:
Dusk is the time I find most work to do.
I’ve got to groom my mount while there’s still light;
I’ll ride my mare into your sleep tonight.
|Beware the Thing behind you!|
The final poem in the book features a nameless thing in It’s Behind You by David Harmer, which would be more amusing if it weren’t for the rather disturbing image of a boy having his head torn from his shoulders by what looks like a giant green lizard. The final stanza:
Oh what a shame!
I thought you’d make it
To the door. Hard luck.
I still think it means no harm
I expect it bites all its friends.
|March of the Zombies! (from Dusk Jockey)|
Emery, H. & Cartwright, S. (1990). The Usborne Book of Creepy Poems. London: Usborne Publishing.
Rawson, C. (1979). Dragons.
: Usborne Publishing. London
Roxbee Cox, P. (2004, February 21). Obituary: Steven Cartwright. Accessed fromhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2004/feb/21/guardianobituaries.booksobituaries