Poe & The Conqueror Worm

I read a short story by Edgar Allan Poe entitled Never Bet the Devil Your Head. Overall I liked the story, but didn’t care for the actual experience of reading through it. Given what little I know about this author – that the story I read was one of the inspirations/influences on Born Villain, that his stories are said to be ‘dark’, and that I liked what I saw of previews for a movie centering around a (fictional(?)) murderer commiting crimes in accordance with the writers stories and Poe’s subsequent involvment in the investigation – I thought I’d like it more. If that story and the way it was written are considered ‘good’, I might be better than I thought I was at writing short stories lol. I ran across a poem of his featured on a blog post though and recognized parts of it that seem like they could’ve been a heavy influence for lyrics in the Reflecting God song by Marilyn Manson in 1996. So maybe I’ll like his poetry more than I liked the story. And who knows, maybe even the short stories will grow on me or, as I read more of them, maybe some of his other stories will appeal to me more.

(June 4th, 2012 | Excerpt From My Journal)


The Conqueror Worm is one of Poe’s poems that I really liked. It reminds me of other songs and themes explored in Antichrist Superstar (album)… Wormboy (both the song and the character within the story of the album) and how he gets his wings, becoming an angel (ref. Angel With The Scabbed Wings). With the similar language and imagery, I can’t help but see connections that, even if non-existant, I find interesting. It’s not really that closely alike, especially regarding Manson’s emphasis on the evolution of the worm into an angel, and then into the disintegrator, but it seems like a similar story told from a different, broader perspective (as opposed to the story being told from the perspective of the Antichrist, which is more along the lines of what Manson did).

(June 5th, 2012 | Excerpt From My Journal)


The Conqueror Worm
By Edgar Allan Poe

Lo! t’is a gala night
Within the lonesome latter years!
An angel throng, bewinged, bedight
In veils and drowned in tears,
Sit in a theatre, to see
A play of hopes and fears,
While the orchestra breathes fitfully
The music of the spheres.

Mimes, in the form of God on high,
Mutter and mumble low,
And hither and thither fly –
Mere puppets they, who come and go
At bidding of vast formless things
That shift the scenery to and fro,
Flapping from out their Condor wings
Invisible woe!

The motley drama – oh, be sure
It shall not be forgot!
With its phantoms chased for evermore,
By a crowd that seize it not,
Through a circle that ever returneth in
To the self-same spot,
And much of Madness, and more of Sin,
And horror the soul of the plot.

But see, amid the mimic rout
A crawling shape intrude!
A blood-red thing that writhes from out
The scenic solitude!
It writhes! – It writhes! – with mortal pangs
The mimes become its food,
And seraphs sob at vermin fangs
In human gore imbued.

Out – out are the lights – out all!
And, over each quivering form,
The curtain, a funeral pall,
Comes down with the rush of a storm,
And the angels, all palid and wan,
Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy “Man,”
And its hero the Conqueror Worm

I’m fairly certain I can post the poem without worrying about copyrights. I’ve seen this put on what seem to be pretty well known, legit sites without express permission and as long as credit is given I don’t think there’s any problem. And even if I’m wrong, this falls under fair use as far as I’m concerned.


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