RESTORATION PROJECT:
 
THE CASTLE OF OTRANTO, A GOTHIC CASTLE

DOUGLAS LUMAN

 
 

Both robbers & surgeons have seen the compass point to the hour of their joy;
each knows how something is removed. Everyone arrives at the horror of their
own purpose in time.
 
One detests a man who descends the steps slowly as if a ghost having forgotten

its design. My own memory is a library of error, superstition, & other
preternatural events; a practical catalog of calamitous misfortune. My sins
resemble every work of goodliness of my people. I mistake a conscience as any
thing made of words.
 
The dagger has always been speaking. Learn the discourse. I tremble

at what words mean in the meantime. I’ll tear out my tongue to study them,
littering the ground with terms for reptiles & serpents. Who hazards a word

for love more than a faint murmur in this modern mouth of darkness, ignorant of
the consequences of language. I only know an evil spirit when I don’t see or hear
one & when my eyes and ears abandon me, how will I know to employ the truth.
 
All the considerable saints in Heaven must only look upon a building with scorn
& critical intent, but I ask where is my church.
 
How fast can I hurry to deliver this burden; how can I approach any altar & say
let me bathe in all of the light, too.

 
 
 

This poem builds itself from:
 
   Walpole, Horace. The Castle of Otranto. London: Penguin UK. 2010.
   Viollet Le Duc, Eugène Emmanuel. On Restoration. Tr. Charles Wethered. London: Marston, Low, & Searle. 1875.

 

 
 

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