Inside : 13 of the most terrifying monster poems and horror poems to truly spook you!
Horror stories in poetry are a time-honored tradition, whether they be fantasies or passed-town folktales. The horror genre continues to thrive, as readers continue to remain captivated by stories and poems that are engrossing and thrilling, albeit terrifying. Tales of fantasy creatures like vampires, zombies, and ghosts have shown up in movies, theater, literature, and poetry for centuries.
The following is a list of the best spooky monster poems and horror poems that are guaranteed to send a shiver down your spine!
Spooky Monster Poems
Tales of nonhuman creatures have been circulated for generations. In monster poetry, there are often themes of misunderstanding and judgement, wherein authors use these fantastical creatures to symbolize outsiders in society. However, sometimes monster poetry is written for the sole purpose of terrifying the audience.
1. The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe. Edgar Allen Poe is thought to be the father of the horror genre, and you can’t hear his name without thinking of his renowned work, “The Raven.” This monster poem tells a spooky tale that incorporates themes of supernatural beings and mystery, leaving audiences with a distinct sense of unease.
2. The Vampire by Conrad Aiken. Vampire tales are amongst the most popular in the monster genre. There is something uncanny about an evil creature that so closely resembles a human that heightens our sense of fear. In this monster poem, Aiken portrays the vampire as outwardly beautiful and enticing, which makes her true spirit so much more shocking.
3. Ghost by Cynthia Huntingon. In this piece, the speaker implies that she is a ghost, lurking close by the subject without them ever knowing. The idea of being watched so closely by another person without knowing is certainly spooky, and, like many works of this genre, the author ends the piece on a spine-chilling cliffhanger.
4. “Pale though her eyes,
her lips are scarlet
from drinking of blood,
this child, this harlot
born of the night
and her heart, of darkness,
to dance so reckless,
dreaming of blood,
revealing her lust,
and her eyes, pale, staring …” —Michael R. Burch
Perhaps the creepiest aspect of this monster poem is the word “child.” It is easy for adults to fear other adults, and to expect fully grown adults to possess unsavory ideas of evil, but when children, who are often associated with innocence, are portrayed as evil, it is all the more terrifying.
5. Something’s There by Barbara Vance. This poem seems innocent enough from its sing-song rhymes, but its chilling cliffhanger final line proves otherwise.
6. “You are food.
You are here for me
to eat. Fatten up,
and I will like you better.
Your brother will be first,
you must wait your turn.
Feed him yourself, you will
learn to do it. You will take him
eggs with yellow sauce, muffins
torn apart and leaking butter, fried meats
late in the morning, and always sweets
in a sticky parade from the kitchen.
His vigilance, an ice pick of hunger
pricking his insides, will melt
in the unctuous cream fillings.
He will forget. He will thank you
for it. His little finger stuck every day
through cracks in the bars
will grow sleek and round,
his hollow face swell
like the moon. He will stop dreaming
about fear in the woods without food.
He will lean toward the maw
of the oven as it opens
every afternoon, sighing
better and better smells.” —Ava Leavell Haymon
7. “Three witches, casting a spell …
Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights hast thirty one
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.” —William Shakespeare
8. “Her strong enchantments failing,
Her towers of fear in wreck,
Her limbecks dried of poisons
And the knife at her neck,
The Queen of air and darkness
Begins to shrill and cry,
“O young man, O my slayer,
To-morrow you shall die.”
O Queen of air and darkness,
I think ’tis truth you say,
And I shall die tomorrow;
But you will die to-day.”—A. E. Houseman
Creepy Horror Poems
While many people are too lighthearted to enjoy creepy stories or monster poems, there are some serious horror junkies who can’t get enough of the thrill that comes from being terrified. Sometimes the creepiest works of art are not about explicitly scary things like monsters, but about themes that make us as humans feel uncomfortable, like death. Themes of uncertainty and unfamiliarity are what fuel the uneasy feelings that these horror poems give off.
9. “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading – treading – till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through –
And when they all were seated,
A Service, like a Drum –
Kept beating – beating – till I thought
My mind was going numb –
And then I heard them lift a Box
And creak across my Soul
With those same Boots of Lead, again,
Then Space – began to toll,
As all the Heavens were a Bell,
And Being, but an Ear,
And I, and Silence, some strange Race,
Wrecked, solitary, here –
And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
And I dropped down, and down –
And hit a World, at every plunge,
And Finished knowing – then –” —Emily Dickinson
10. “This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calm’d—see here it is—
I hold it towards you.” —John Keats
Tell us what you lack …
the ability to love,
your flesh so slack?
Will we frighten you,
grown as pale & unsound …
when we also haunt
the unhallowed ground?” —Michael R. Burch
Here, the author plays with the creeping reminder that, though skeletons are used as propaganda for the horror genre, they represent the fate that we will all one day share.
12. Scary Movies by Kim Addonizio. Perhaps the spookiest thing about this piece is how it brings up feelings that we, as humans, try to avoid thinking or speaking about. This work includes gory details that make readers uncomfortable, but the speaker is actually expressing her contemplations about death and how it looms over us constantly. She compares overtly scary movies to what is genuinely terrifying: reality.
13. “He comes to me out of the shadows, acknowledging
my presence with a tip of his hat, always the gentleman,
and his eyes are on my eyes like a snake’s on a bird’s—
He cocks his head as though something he heard intrigues him
(though I hear nothing) and he smiles, amusing himself at my expense;
his words are full of desire and loathing, and though I hear,
he says nothing that I understand.
The moon shines—maniacal, queer—as he takes my hand and whispers
Our time has come … and so we stroll together along the docks
where the sea sends things that wriggle and crawl
scurrying under rocks and boards.
Moonlight in great floods washes his pale face as he stares unseeing
into my eyes. He sighs, and the sound crawls slithering down my spine,
and my blood seems to pause at his touch as he caresses my face.
He unfastens my dress till the white lace shows, and my neck is bared.
His teeth are long, yellow and hard. His face is bearded and haggard.
A wolf howls in the distance. There are no wolves in New York. I gasp.
My blood is a trickle his wet tongue embraces. My heart races madly.
He likes it like that.” —Michael R Burch
More Poems You’ll Love
Creative writing, whether it be scary, insightful, or calming, has always attracted readers as it makes them reflect upon themselves and learn new things about humanity. Reading poetry is what connects us as humans, which is why most people don’t confine themselves to only one genre. Even if monsters poetry is your favorite genre, you’ll still love these works!
- 23 Incredible Rumi Poems The world-famous poet, Rumi, writes poignantly about themes of love, loss, and life, and readers of all ages have found solace in his writing for generations. If you need something uplifting after reading monster poetry, check out these beautiful, touching pieces by Rumi.
- 27 Impactful Wolf Poems Wolves certainly aren’t monsters or fictional creatures, but they do appear in many folklore and fantasy pieces. They are powerful beings whose isolation in wilderness has always fascinated humans, which is captured in these impactful poems.