A Response to The Bloody Chamber.

I wrote a response to Angela Carter’s short story, ‘The Bloody Chamber’, from her text The Bloody Chamber And Other Stories published by Vintage Books, 2006. Carter has become a literary obsession of mine and a returning literary figure in my responsive work. I was given the opportunity to focus on her short stories in the final year of my undergraduate degree. I performed this poem at a Heads Above the Waves event for Cardiff University’s English Literature Society. My poem focuses on feminine issues and twists Carter’s form to show the story from the unheard Mother’s perspective.

I am massively grateful that one of my closest friends, Chloe Sargént, who is studying animation at Plymouth University, took my words and created a visual form of the piece. Her storyboard is shown underneath with the video to follow. I hope this presents itself as something to get your teeth into.

I am dressed in mourning silk –

Are you sure you love him?

I ask as she is awakened

Into an intense, delicious ecstasy.

I picture my beloved

Rising on a satin bed,

Mechanical sex of thrusting pistons.

That blood inducing act. I place her

On a carriage from white innocence

To a lifetime of red.

A mother’s kiss is washed away,

Torn from my womb, along

With her girlhood, and I watch

The abandonment of her childhood

In the becoming of his wife.

She is a Holy re-birth of a Christmas gift.

A mother dressed in mourning silk –

Are you sure you love him?

I ask as she is crystalized and cocooned,

Preserved and sickly sweet.

He has bitten into her virginal flesh,

My daughter, taken, I picture

My young girls pointed breasts

Drowning in a white satin dress.

His lecherous mouth, wrapping

Its tongue along their erect nipples.

My stomach churns, liquid

Like the fluid she grew in,

Moving up to my oesophagus

As I scream for her, lying in his

Great ancestral bed. Like before:

A cycle of Man and woman.

Man and woman, and Father

And woman, And Husband

And woman, and Man and

girl, and Husband and wife,

And Lion as the lamb floats

In his foam made walls. The

Lamb I have unwillingly led

To sacrifice. I watched his

Shoes of padded velvet, turn

The carpet into snow. An unstable

Solid of liquid state of complete

Anticipation. My mourning dress,

Are you sure you love him?

I scream as I remember his

Thick lips in his leonine shaped head.

And it quivers, as his dark mane

Shivers, as his heavy eyelids

Fold into a mask of orgasm.

And each time he pours into her

I remember his eyes of absolute

Absence of light. I crave to take

Her away from his depths.

She will learn that she is another

Siren. She will call in pain to be saved,

Only to be blamed for her peril

And that of her infidel lover.

A mother and daughter’s grievance

Is displayed in our female wounds.

Mine gave her life and now hers,

A bleeding scar of hurt. Like my own

Her body is a series of phallic rooms,

Only her husband has the key to enter.

Marriage is getting lost in these rooms,

I was consumed within them.

You can run through the hallway, scream

To leave but it is a silent gaping

In shame, now you have been tasted.

I am drowning in mourning silk –

Are you sure you love him?

I am sure I want to marry him.


Chloe Story Board BC