The original Gothic horror tales focused on personalities deformed through loneliness. Ghouls, vampires, werewolves: all made, not born. But the isolation? Are even such as these ever truly alone? Perhaps the psyche has always been more complex than that, desire eternally more potent than terror. Surely, none prowl entirely in solitude.
We live in an age when you can prowl the streets of major cities and find human beings offering themselves in store windows, or just reach for the yellow pages and have them delivered. It is the same mindset at work, spreading in our world, and after a while this attitude can find nothing very special about anything or anybody, let alone whales.
Let us roam then, you and I, When the evening is splayed out across the sky [... ] Paths that follow like a nagging accusation Of a minor violation To lead you to the ultimate reproof... Oh, do not say, 'Bad kitty!' Let us go and prowl the city. In the rooms the cats run to and fro Auditioning for a Broadway show." (From The Love Song of J. Morris Housecat)
Henry N. Beard
Having a sister or a friend is like sitting at night in a lighted house. Those outside can watch you if they want, but you need not see them. You simply say, "Here are the perimeters of our attention. If you prowl around under the windows till the crickets go silent, we will pull the shades. If you wish us to suffer your envious curiosity, you must permit us not to notice it." Anyone with one solid human bond is that smug, and it is the smugness as much as the comfort and safety that lonely people covet and admire.
Through silent alleys where dark shadows fleeted past them like forest beasts on the prowl; through bustling market-places where bloaters predominated, into crammed gin-palaces where the gas flashed over faces whereon was stamped the indelible impression of a protest against creation; brushing tatters which were in gruesome harmony with the haggard or bloated features. ("The Phantom Model
I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair. Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets. Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps. I hunger for your sleek laugh, your hands the color of a savage harvest, hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails, I want to eat your skin like a whole almond. I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body, the sovereign nose of your arrogant face, I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes, and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight, hunting for you, for your hot heart, Like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.
She knew it the way people say they know they are about to be hit by lightning, yet remain powerless to run, unable to avoid their fate. She panicked, as anyone might have when disparate parts of her life were about to crash into each other, certain to leave a path of anguish and debris. It was true that devotion could be lost as quickly as it was found, which was why some people insisted that love letters be written in ink. How easy it was for even the sweetest words to evaporate, only to be rewritten as impulse and infatuation might dictate. How unfortunate that love could not be taught or trained, like a seal or a dog. Instead it was a wolf on the prowl, with a mind of its own, and it made its own way, undeterred by the damage done. Love like this could turn honest people into liars and cheats, as it now did...
I watched bulls bred to cows, watched mares foal, I saw life come from the egg and the multiplicative wonders of mudholes and ponds, the jell and slime of life shimmering in gravid expectation. Everywhere I looked, life sprang from something not life, insects unfolded from sacs on the surface of still waters and were instantly on prowl for their dinner, everything that came into being knew at once what to do and did it, unastonished that it was what it was, unimpressed by where it was, the great earth heaving up bloodied newborns from every pore, every cell, bearing the variousness of itself from every conceivable substance which it contained in itself, sprouting life that flew or waved in the wind or blew from the mountains or stuck to the damp black underside of rocks, or swam or suckled or bellowed or silently separated in two.
At evening when the lamp is lit, The tired Human People sit And doze, or turn with solemn looks The speckled pages of their books. Then I, the Dangerous Kitten, prowl And in the Shadows softly growl, And roam about the farthest floor Where Kitten never trod before. And, crouching in the jungle damp, I watch the Human Hunter's camp, Ready to spring with fearful roar As soon as I shall hear them snore. And then with stealthy tread I crawl Into the dark and trackless hall, Where 'neath the Hat-tree's shadows deep Umbrellas fold their wings and sleep. A cuckoo calls - and to their dens The People climb like frightened hens, And I'm alone - and no one cares In Darkest Africa - downstairs.
Dana daydreamed of one day being able to set her agenda at B.Altman with the same courage and tenacity as the woman who was now driving the VW while speaking animatedly about her travel plans for the near future. She would be journeying to India in search of exotic merchandise for the store's Indian extravaganza, a lavish event planned by Ira Neimark and Dawn Mello to compete with Bloomingdale's Retailing as Theater movement. The movement was the brainchild of Bloomingdale's Marvin Traub, who staged elaborate presentations such as China: Heralding the Dawn of a New Era. Typical extravaganzas featured fashion, clothing, food, and art from various regions of the world. 'I'll bring back enough items to make Bloomingdale's blush!' Nina said confidently. 'And I'm not just talking sweaters, hats, and walking sticks. I'll stop first in the Himalayas and prowl the Landour Bazaar.' Lynn Steward ~ A Very Good Life
There, at a depth to which divers would find it difficult to descend, are caverns, haunts, and dusky mazes, where monstrous creatures multiply and destroy each other. Huge crabs devour fish and are devoured in their turn. Hideous shapes of living things, not created to be seen by human eyes wander in this twilight. Vague forms of antennae, tentacles, fins, open jaws, scales, and claws, float about there, quivering, growing larger, or decomposing and perishing in the gloom, while horrible swarms of swimming things prowl about seeking their prey. To gaze into the depths of the sea is, in the imagination, like beholding the vast unknown, and from its most terrible point of view. The submarine gulf is analogous to the realm of night and dreams. There also is sleep, unconsciousness, or at least apparent unconsciousness, of creation. There in the awful silence and darkness, the rude first forms of life, phantomlike, demoniacal, pursue their horrible instincts.
Wanting All Husband, it's fine the way your mind performs Like a circus, sharp As a sword somebody has To swallow, rough as a bear, Complicated as a family of jugglers, Brave as a sequined trapeze Artist, the only boy I ever met Who could beat me in argument Was why I married you, isn't it, And you have beaten me, I've beaten you, We are old polished hands. Or was it your body, I forget, maybe I foresaw the thousands on thousands Of times we have made love Together, mostly meat And potatoes love, but sometimes Higher than wine, Better than medicine. How lately you bite, you baby, How angels record and number Each gesture, and sketch Our spinal columns like professionals. Husband, it's fine how we cook Dinners together while drinking, How we get drunk, how We gossip, work at our desks, dig in the garden, Go to the movies, tell The children to clear the bloody table, How we fit like puzzle pieces. The mind and body satisfy Like windows and furniture in a house. The windows are large, the furniture solid. What more do I want then, why Do I prowl the basement, why Do I reach for your inside Self as you shut it Like a trunkful of treasures? Wait, I cry, as the lid slams on my fingers.
Alicia Suskin Ostriker
If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea; If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can't you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb; And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
Hamlet's Cat's Soliloquy "To go outside, and there perchance to stay Or to remain within: that is the question: Whether 'tis better for a cat to suffer The cuffs and buffets of inclement weather That Nature rains on those who roam abroad, Or take a nap upon a scrap of carpet, And so by dozing melt the solid hours That clog the clock's bright gears with sullen time And stall the dinner bell. To sit, to stare Outdoors, and by a stare to seem to state A wish to venture forth without delay, Then when the portal's opened up, to stand As if transfixed by doubt. To prowl; to sleep; To choose not knowing when we may once more Our readmittance gain: aye, there's the hairball; For if a paw were shaped to turn a knob, Or work a lock or slip a window-catch, And going out and coming in were made As simple as the breaking of a bowl, What cat would bear the houselhold's petty plagues, The cook's well-practiced kicks, the butler's broom, The infant's careless pokes, the tickled ears, The trampled tail, and all the daily shocks That fur is heir to, when, of his own will, He might his exodus or entrance make With a mere mitten? Who would spaniels fear, Or strays trespassing from a neighbor's yard, But that the dread of our unheeded cries And scraches at a barricaded door No claw can open up, dispels our nerve And makes us rather bear our humans' faults Than run away to unguessed miseries? Thus caution doth make house cats of us all; And thus the bristling hair of resolution Is softened up with the pale brush of thought, And since our choices hinge on weighty things, We pause upon the threshold of decision.
Henry N. Beard