Notes on the Artwork We Publish

(Editor’s Note: While we, at Twisted Crapola® books cannot attest to the historical accuracy in the comments and dates, the information seems rational and was drawn from various unnamed sources. Furthermore, many of the comments are our own interpretations of the events or ideas surrounding the artwork or are our ideas as to how the images pertain to the poetry or the booklet itself.)

Cover Photo
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. V:
On July 31, 1874, Thomas Millman, who was a doctor to the North American Boundary Commission, along with several other individuals including some photographers, had found the grisly remains of Crow Indians who were killed, not by the white men with whom they were friendly, but by members of the Piegan (or Pegan) tribe.

The Crow Indians in general, who were rich in horses, had been plagued by raids from horse-poor tribes who would steal horses rather than barter for or purchase them. The Piegans, or Blackfoot Confederacy of several Native American tribes, was one such group. As the North American Great Plains were vast, horses provided both a strategic advantage as well as an efficient means for hunting buffalo and other venison for sustenance, shelter and clothing, among other things. Horses were in demand on the Great Plains, and some Native Americans would have them at any cost.

Thomas Millman had kept a diary, and the following entry describes, most horrifically, what he and his fellow white men had found on that day, “we met with Boswell & Dawson & the photographers. They were getting the photo of some dead Indians. They appear to be Crow Indians killed last winter by the Pegans. About 20 altogether were riddled with bullet holes & every one scalped. Most of them had their shirts & every one had a gash in their side. Bodies were shrivelled up but skin pretty sound.”

This photograph fits the rough theme of Volume 5 perfectly, which is love and its inevitable loss. The man, sitting amongst the bones and shriveled flesh of the dead Crows, looks as if he’s at a loss as to what he should do, as if he’d known the individuals strewn before him while they had still been alive.

Cover Page Image
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. V:
In 1804, Pierre-Auguste Vafflard exhibited this painting of Edward Young carrying his dead daughter under the light of the moon to her final resting place, the inspiration for this painting being Young’s poem Night Thoughts.

In an example of the cruel rivalry between Protestants and Catholics, Young’s Protestant daughter had been denied burial in the Catholic church’s cemetery in the city of Lyon, where she’d died. So, Young removed his eighteen year old daughter’s body away from the care of the Catholics and took her at night to a Swiss cemetery, with shovel in hand, in order to inter her remains.

As a father, it is very difficult to think of such things without horror. I can only think to myself how I would react in such a situation. Would I be able to carry my child to his tomb? His burial? Would I be able to dig the grave? Were I in Young’s shoes, I would have to, because no one else would. Would I be able to sleep afterwards? That, I cannot answer.

Poem: Silence
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. V:
The origin of the idea for this painting seems contradictory, whose branches extend to modern-day films, the latest of which seem to be Vincent Price’s The Last Man on Earth, Charlton Heston’s The Omega Man and Will Smith’s I Am Legend.

In the 1849 version of this painting, “The Last Man,” an old man stands before a vast, empty wasteland, where a dimly burning sun seems to be dying in the background. Several versions were made, the earliest being from 1826 and another from 1832.

The contradiction seems to come into play as a battle to determine where the idea initially came from. Though this battle is beyond the scope of this note on the artwork, I thought I’d mention two interesting and potential sources for the basic concept of the Last Man — as opposed to the idea of an apocalypse in general, which goes back millennia:

In 1823, Thomas Campbell published a poem titled “The Last Man,” the imagery in which seems to be the inspiration for the painting, specifically the verse, “The sun has a sickly glare / The earth with age was wan / The skeleton of nations were / Around that lovely man.”

And, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein, published a novel titled The Last Man in 1826, which is an apocalyptic science fiction novel about a plague wiping out mankind. While I’m not sure if this painting is connected to the book, I thought it was fascinating that the creator of one of the greatest icons in horror fiction and movies wrote about the Last Man idea.

Whatever the case may be, the image seemed to fit the poem “Silence,” the writing of which I hope speaks for itself. It’s hard to tell if the man in the image is in agony, and the poem is not apocalyptic in a societal sense, but it may be, in a personal sense.

Poem: Forever Young
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. V:
Any information, especially in English, on this woodcut is difficult to come by. So far as I can tell, J. Schnorr engraved this for the poem “Des Kindes Leiche” or “The Child’s Corpse” by Pater Gallus Morel which may have been published in 1870, but was definitely published during the 19th century.

As always, the history behind any of the artwork in the Dreams of the Damned series of short books is only one facet of my use of the artwork.

Anyone may look upon such artwork as this with a combined sense of horror and sadness, parent or no. The image itself is unsettling; the corpse of this young child lays on his deathbed in peace, almost as if sleeping yet far beyond simple dreams.

This artwork fits quite nicely with the the poem, for the child will, in fact, remain forever, eternally, young.

Poem: How I Love to Love and Think of You
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. V:
Back in 2009 or ’10, the parent company of Twisted Crapola® books decided to branch out and try something a little different than the cabling it had been doing since the year 2000, when it started: Greeting cards!

While the idea didn’t quite fit with our normal offering of services, which ranges from computer network and telephone cabling, to paging and security cabling and other such offerings that fall under the “low voltage” category of electrical wiring, it fit perfectly with my creative impulses. The idea was inspired by a joke advertisement we’d found at a customer site that was funny and morbid at the same time. And, since work was slow, the company’s lead installer and I talked about the idea extensively while driving to and from job sites when we had work, driving which could take an hour or two or even longer. During that time, the name of a card publisher, which then became a book publisher, Twisted Crapola, was invented. And, aside from a simple name, ten to fifteen cards were also created, all containing a morbid and funny message, and several containing fake gift certificates, that were meant to offer a grin to stave off the creeping mortality of our existence.

The poem and fake gift certificate are just one example of the fifteen cards, this one being called the “Thinking of You” card. I don’t include it to make an attempt to sell the cards, especially since I don’t include ordering or contact information, but I did include it as an attempt at some morbid humor.

Poem: Time
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. V:
“The Great Fire of London, 1666” by Rita Greer, 2008.

After having painted this image, history painter Rita Greer digitized this oil on board painting and sent it via e-mail to the Department of Engineering Science at Oxford University, who then uploaded it to Wikimedia. I scratched my chin at where the painting had been sent, until I thought about the description for a moment:

“The City is depicted on September 4th, the third day of the fire. Robert Hooke was in London at the time. Fortunately, the fire did not reach his rooms at Gresham College. Such terrifying destruction is on a par with the firestorms after World War II bombings. The narrow streets, timber-framed, thatched houses would later be replaced by brick, stone and tiled buildings to prevent such a tragedy happening again.”

The final sentence answers the question as to why it was sent to the Department of Engineering (instead of the Department of Art or whatever department Oxford University has on the subject of artwork), as it explains the reconstruction of London and why the details of such reconstruction were important after such a catastrophe.

As is usual, I use the image in a completely different context. The red “wild” eyes of the man in the foreground as he witnesses the destruction of all he holds dear (as the kingdoms fall around his heart) is what drew me to this image.

Of course, I’m breaking another rule, here, one I hadn’t realized ’d broken until I delved deeper into the history of this image. It was painted about seven years ago rather than a hundred or more years ago.

But, what are rules for? They’re meant to be broken, and as long as they’re properly broken, they may be broken without shame.

Cover Photo
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. IIII:
Though the Cover Photo may seem reminiscent of the French Revolution and its multi-fold executions of the French royalty—a time when the guillotine’s blade sang with horrific glee—that’s not the case, here.

On November 24th, 1868, the date of the photograph, as far as I can tell, two revolutionaries, Giuseppe Monti and Gaetano Tognetti, were sent to the guillotine in Rome.

The two gentlemen were caught up in the spirit of the unification of the Italian Peninsula’s feudal monarchies into an Italian nation. After the Third Italian War of Independence had been fought, such a unification—excepting the area surrounding Rome and, of course, Rome itself, which remained under the control of the Pope—was nearly complete.

In an unplanned, two-tiered offensive, Giuseppe Garibaldi, a central figure in Italian unification, assembled an army to attack Rome from the outside while Monti and Tognetti attempted a bit of guerilla warfare or, as it’s known today, terrorism, by planting a few barrels of gunpowder beneath a barracks, killing 27 loyalists to the Pope. The two Roman gentlemen sought to ignite an uprising in Rome, so that the Papal loyalists would effectively be fighting on two fronts, one being external and one being internal. The latter of the two would have been the more dangerous, had it actually worked. But, it didn’t. Instead, the two gentlemen inadvertently found fame by being the last two men executed by guillotine in Rome.

Which of the two gentlemen is shown in the photo as having fed the guillotine? I, unfortunately, do not know.

Cover Page Image
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. IIII:
This is the Title page of “Justitia romana,” a book about Roman law, published in 1644 by Johannes Arnoldi Corvinus. I have very little history behind this image. The reason I selected it, though, is because I finally found an image of Lady Justice with what I assume to be a sword and a book, rather than a sword and scales. In short, I know I’ve seen something similar to this before, so I’m not going insane. You see, back in Volume 1, I wrote about Justice in the story, “Chronicle of a Lady”, but I didn’t mention the scales. Just a book and a sword. And, I published the story that way, because I believed it was correct, and this image proves my assumption.

But, that’s not the only reason I chose it. The theme of Volume 4 is loosely about Justice. Of course, you, Gentle Reader, are free to interpret the stories and poems as they’re written, and as they’re read through the lense of your experience. That is both the awesome and humble aspect of writing: your interpretation shapes the story and its meaning regardless what I may say elsewhere.

Poem: Self-Despite
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. IIII:
No history could be found for this image, but it fit the poem so well that I had to use it. The empty eye sockets and open mouth are fitting images for a lost soul, as the soul in the poem is lost in his or her own misery, lost so far from life that the poor soul feels death taking over his or her own body. While I believe that there’s always hope (mostly because I’m curious to see what happens next) this soul has misplaced its hope, and is therefore rendered hopeless and lost. Not dead, but nearly so.

Poem: Justice For The Damned
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. IIII:
Here, peasants dance and play music beside a gallows upon which a magpie is perched. A trick of the light, warped wood or poor construction shows the gallows bent in an impossible fashion, which could also be Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s intent when he finished this work in 1568, though the gallows would surely work, should a hanging be imminent.

While the painting was finished a year after the Dutch revolt against Spain, who or what Bruegel originally painted it for remains a mystery. Some may, perhaps, view it as a threat, not by Bruegel, but a general threat, hanging in the air, of execution, should the Dutch revolt fail. Of course, interpretation is a product of the eye of the beholder and his or her knowledge of the history of fine arts.

Upon his death, in 1569, Bruegel told his wife to keep the ”Magpie on the Gallows“ for herself, for some unknown reason, while he asked her to burn others of his paintings, at least as far as my research has taken me.

The image fits “Justice for the Damned” because the gallows, in which may swing the ghosts of the Damned, is ignored while folks are celebrating some odd occasion or other with music and dance. Perhaps they celebrate life. Perhaps the Damned want to speak, but the music, the most ethereal of the arts, is too loud. As in the poem, which focuses on light, the Damned remain silent, buried by their misery, enshrouded by darkness and the silence of the grave.

Poem: The Perennial Execution
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. IIII:
The Protestant Reformation had split France. Following this fracture, decades of war and slaughter had consumed the land. Finally, French unity was obtained by Henri IV, using the sword as a loom to bring the Catholics and Protestants together.

After forcing French unity and securing the throne, Henri IV was, on May 14, 1610, assassinated by Francois Ravaillac by stabbing the king to death in his own carriage, in the midst of the day. In such a setting, Ravaillac was easily captured. But, he was not easily coerced into giving up his fellow conspirators. To quote Alistair Horne, a British journalist and historian of Europe who was born four centuries after these events:

“On 27 May, still protesting that he had acted as a free agent on a divinely inspired mission, Ravaillac was put to death. Before being drawn and quartered, the lot of the regicide, on the Place de Gràve scaffold he was scalded with burning sulphur, molten lead and boiling oil and resin, his flesh then torn by pincers. Then his arms and legs were attached to horses which pulled in opposite directions. One of the horses ‘foundered,’ so a zealous chevalier offered his mount; ‘the animal was full of vigour and pulled away a thigh.’ After an hour and a half of this horrendous cruelty, Ravaillac died, as the mob tried to prevent him receiving last rites. When he finally expired, ‘ … the entire populace, no matter what their rank, hurled themselves on the body with their swords, knives, sticks or anything else to hand and began beating, hacking and tearing at it. They snatched the limbs from the executioner, savagely chopping them up and dragging the pieces through the streets.

“‘Children made a bonfire and flung remains of Ravaillac’s body on it. According to one witness, Nicholas Pasquier, one woman actually ate some of the flesh. The executioner, supposed to have the body of the regicide reduced to ashes to complete the ritual demanded by the law, could find nothing but his shirt.’”

I originially wasn’t sure about this image or how it fit “The Perennial Execution,” but after reading its history, I’d say it fits quite nicely.

Poem: Woe to the children who kill
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. IIII:
Following this short note is the “note on this artwork,” but, before I wax about this photograph, I should explain why the photo is an “SA” stamped in metal on the Web site.

The simplest explanation is that I, myself, prefer not to parade this photo around on the Internet. (How others use the particular image that appears in the book is, as it should be, up to them, since I don't claim to be some sort of silly, moralistic crusader.) I believe it belongs in the book, and that is where it shall remain. This person may have lived to see today. The photograph should be handled very carefully, then, so as not to be made cheap by parading it around as an advertisement for one of the Dreams of the Damned books.

(The history behind the SA stamp is, in itself, an interesting one and, when time allows, I will include that, here.)

Having said that, here is the “Note on This Particular Photo … ”

Once again, I break with what I have traditionally done by using a photo in the midst of the book, but finding any kind of painting or woodcut that had such a humble and horrific effect was, to put it simply, impossible. While this photo is about war, and the poem about crime, they both actually complement one another, or so I believe.

From mid-1941 until late-1944, Finland and the Soviets were at war. This war, being part of World War II, did not seem to hold much significance, being a small part of the larger war for what may have seemed to be the control of the world. But, this “minor” war was a life-or-death struggle for those involved. As is obvious, not only soldiers were killed.

I use this image very carefully, because this is a person who likely had been a victim of warfare. And, I look at this photo with deep-seated horror. The eyes are enough to hold a gaze … they’re black. The person we see is most likely what is considered to be “collateral damage.” But, there’s nothing so simple about this girl (or any person) that can be neatly packaged into a phrase and tossed about.

I don’t have any detailed history of this particular photograph or the girl, as the photo was one amongst several hundred photos declassified and released by Finland in 2006. Perhaps she hated the war, not from afar, like us in the United States, and not as an ideal, but because she was surrounded by death. Had this girl survived, she would have been wiser than most of us who pretend to know anything about war because we feel strongly either for or against the concept. And, to be clear on that note, I cannot pretend to know this girl’s feelings about anything, because I did not know this individual human being.

In “Woe to the children who kill,” this photograph works as a reminder of the casualties of state-sanctioned war as well as the warfare between competing criminal enterprises. In both types of war, children are inevitably given weapons and ordered to kill. And, the poem, in no uncertain terms, describes what happens to the children, themselves, when they kill.

Cover Photo
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. III:
In the past, I’ve included black and white photographs for the covers of Dreams of the Damned, and I will do so in the future, but, this photo was originally taken in color, or so I believe, since I haven’t found a black and white version of this exact photograph and, to my inexpert eye, the quality of the color looks and feels authentic. And so, I present to you, Gentle Reader, a (potentially) rare color cover of a volume in this series (though, I’m sure the photograph itself is not rare, at least in digital form).

While I don’t have any information in order to credit any particular photographer, I can say, with some small confidence, that this photo was taken on May 25th, 1953, at the series of United States nuclear tests called Operation Upshot-Knothole. Many other tests preceded and followed this particular one, so nuclear weapons testing was, by no means, a rare occasion at that time.

This particular test, though, was singular in nature for two important reasons: Shot Grable, as it was called, was the very first test of any kind of tactical atomic artillery in the world. The cannon in the photo, which fired a 280mm, or eleven inch, shell, launched the 15 kiloton round to seven miles away, where it exploded five-hundred feet above the test target, causing more destruction than some of its predecessors, because of the force of the nuclear blast combined with the speed and force of an artillery shell. The second reason is that it’s the only atomic artillery shell ever launched by the United States (so far as I know).

This test didn’t go unnoticed, though. Adm. Arthur W. Radford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Charles Erwin Wilson, the Secretary of Defense, amongst other luminaries of such a group, witnessed the inaugural and only firing of this weapon some called “Atomic Annie.”

Nuclear explosions are amongst the few things I look at and feel a deep-seated fear. And, what’s most frightening about this photograph is that these types of “tactical nukes” had been deployed until the late year of 1991. During those years, nuclear war may not have had to be launched by some “Presidential suitcase” but simply by the loading of a shell and the firing of a cannon.

While no one, as far as I’ve read, was directly killed by this nuclear test explosion (though many may have died, later, of cancer), I thought that this particular cover would fit the loose theme of revenge that runs through Dreams of the Damned, Vol. 3. This, the so-called “nuclear option,” is the ultimate form of revenge. Unlike avoiding any conventional weapon, no one can run far enough or fast enough in any direction to avoid a nuclear explosion.

Cover Page Image
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. III:
This painting, which was completed in 1496 by Juan De Flandes for an altarpiece in the Carthusian monastery of Miraflores near Burgos, Spain, belongs to the story of John the Baptist. The woman seated at the table, Herodias, was a descendant of Herod the Great, and the man at the table, Herod Antipas, was her uncle. Herodias arranged the execution of John the Baptist for the saint’s rebuke of her adulterous relations with and marriage to Herod Antipas, as the two had broken Mosaic Law. Though Herod Antipas feared the influence of John, Herodias beguiled him by having her daughter dance in such a manner that he would grant her any wish. Lead by her mother, she wished for the death of John the Baptist. But, to completely fulfill her wish, she demanded that John’s head be served on a platter. While I am not religious in any sense that’s easy to explain, I do respect all beliefs and use all religious artwork with care. Dreams of the Damned, Vol. 3, is loosely based on revenge, and this painting, more than any other artwork I’ve found, fits.

Poem: Power
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. III:
Although this scene seems to be entitled “Envy of Hercules at the Crossroads,” Albrecht Dürer, who cut this metal engraving circa 1498, referred to it in his diary as, simply, “The Hercule.” The story behind the engraving is that Hercules met two women, Voluptas and Virtue, at a fork in the road. Each wants him to go down a different path, one which seems easy and filled with pleasure, the other being difficult and filled with what Winston Churchill called “blood, toil, tears and sweat.” Hercules being the hero, of course, chose the proper path of the difficult road, since heroes seem to enjoy difficulties wherever they roam. While the story, itself, doesn’t relate to the poem, my first impression upon seeing the image did, for it seems that the man in the image is being abusive toward the woman he seems to be trapping against a tree with a walking stick. The idea of the abuse of power is, of course, gender-neutral, since power comes in many forms. But the idea of men being more abusive than women persists, so I thought that the image, outside of its historical context, fit the poem nicely.

Poem: Dead in a Ditch
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. III:
In 1804 Pierre-Paul Prud’hon was commissioned for a painting to be hung in the Criminal Tribunal Hall in Napoleon’s Paris. The painting he produced in 1808 is best described in what I believe to be Prud’hon’s own words: “Divine Justice is forever pursuing crime; and crime never gets away. Wrapped in the veil of night, in a remote and wild place, voracious Crime has killed a victim, taken his gold and is turning to see whether any remains of life might give him away. Fool! He does not see that Nemesis [Divine Vengeance], that terrible agent of Justice, like a vulture descending upon his prey, is pursuing him, will catch him and hand him over to his unbending companion … ” As with the poem, “Power,” the artwork’s historical theme doesn’t quite match my intentions in coupling it with “Dead in a Ditch.” The old lord, murdered by the man on the run who seeks to claim lordship, lies where he’d died, forgotten by most. The murderer is making away with the hidden prize of deification. While that prize has been won, he’s pursued by others seeking that same prize. This sequence of events and the poem itself (as with anything I write) can be interpreted in whatever way the reader pleases. Freedom of thought is paramount; without it, reading wouldn’t be much fun. But, the idea that strikes me is that this is a continual cycle, and each time the downtrodden bring their own particular god into the mainstream, ego takes over and seeks revenge for the previous trampling. Thus, in the end, no one learns anything. And the cycle rolls ever onward.

Poem: Hatred
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. III:
Albrecht Dürer created this woodcut in 1511, which shows what, in Biblical circles, may be considered to be the first crime of humanity, the sad end of the tale of Cain and Abel. There are, I’ve found, many ways to interpret that tale, of which I know very little, and I only know one specific detail: Cain murdered his brother Abel. Putting all interpretation aside, though, the image, itself, is horrific. You know where the axe will land, but you don’t know how many times it will land before the mercy of death intervenes. And that is the true horror of what we see, here. Being a peaceful person who holds a strange love for this odd species of ours, I know, nevertheless, that much worse has been done by Mankind to Mankind for no other reason than blind hatred. And that, Gentle Reader, is why this particular image seems to punctuate the poem so well.

Poem: Modern Knight
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. III:
From what I can tell, this looks like an engraving, in steel or copper, and is a scene from the Russo-Japanese War, after an attack on the Japanese in September of 1904. Even though the Japanese won, they suffered losses close to a hundred-thousand soldiers. I searched as far as I could for information on this particular image, but the most I was able to discern from my quest for knowledge was an assumption that it was published in Le Patriot Illustré, which seems to be a Belgian magazine, though I have no information to confirm that. But, putting history aside once again, though not any kind of historic interpretation, this image fits the poem in a fairly literal fashion. The only thing missing from this mass of dead soldiers is the Knight. And that, Gentle Reader, is the point.

Cover Photo
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. II:
The cover photo, taken by Arnold Genthe depicts one moment, frozen in time, of the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. The toll of this earthquake, in loss of lives and destruction of most of the city, remains amongst the worst natural disasters in the United States. It rivals even man-made disasters, such as the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks as well as the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which lead to World War II. Since Dreams of the Damned, Vol. 2, is loosely based on survival and life, I thought the cover would be a healthy reminder of the fragility of our own lives, and that our survival, from one day to the next, is a blessing.

Cover Page Image
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. II:
This steel engraving was used in the printing of The History of the Indian Mutiny, by Charles Ball, which was published in 1858. What was called a “mutiny” seems to have been a relatively small rebellion by factions in India against British rule that began in early 1857. While Great Britain quashed this rebellion, a far-reaching impact struck both the British and Indian publics’ opinions of British rule. This one-year war may have marked the beginning of the end of the British Commonwealth in India. As Sir John Seely had been quoted as saying, some time afterwards, “But the moment a mutiny is but threatened, which shall be no mere mutiny, but the expression of a universal feeling of nationality, at that moment all hope is at an end, as all desire should be at an end, of our preserving our Empire.” Atrocities often seen in wars abounded on both sides. The engraving was titled the “Outlying Picket of the Highland Brigade at Benares,” so far as I can tell, and may well show a mass hanging of infidels. But, the image, itself, is reminiscent of the Painter of Dreams (unseen, here) telling tales while soldiers listen and keep watch, and the damned look on, as shadows shackled by nooses, while hearing their tales being told.

Poem: Where Art Thou, Muse?
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. II:
In the Chapel of San Brizio, located in central Italy, Luca Signorelli painted this fresco sometime around 1500 A.D. Inspired by Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, the fresco shows an Angel arriving in Purgatory. The Angel, which I’ve highlighted (and which is more easily seen in color), fits perfectly the image of the Muse I’ve had in mind, when it’s “Riding away on the wings of night / Seeking a soul who’s lost beyond.” The poem itself is something I wrote when I had writer’s block and couldn’t, for the life of me, come up with any ideas. So, instead of whining about it, I wrote about writer’s block, which seems to be a good exercise to keep the words flowing.

Poem: The Railroad of the Past
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. II:
The odd-looking locomotive and passenger cars, seemingly fashioned after stagecoaches, was first published in the January, 1878 issue of The Popular Science Monthly in an article about the growth of the steam engine up to that year. While I can’t say for sure that the steam engine shown was ever produced or operated, the image fits the poem nicely. Fancy, gentle reader, in your mind, riding in one of the cars illustrated, seeing the world as it was, sometime during the 19th century. You’ll find a world that we only see in black and white or in romantic dreams of a time gone forever.

Poem: Tarnished Gold
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. II:
This image was published in Barcelona, in 1898, in a book seemingly titled Chile y Bolivia, su geografía, su historia, etc which I assume is a geographical history of parts of South America. The image itself is of “Estacion Central en Santiago de Chile,” which, naturally enough, seems to be a central station in Santiago of Chile. What kind of central station is it? I cannot say. I was drawn to the image by the mellow background of aging paper and the faded images printed upon it. Should the image of the person in the foreground be made to look as if it were, in some impossible fashion, newly printed while all else was faded, I thought it would visually punctuate the poem “Tarnished Gold.”

Poem: (untitled) “I watch the world go by ... ”
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. II:
Here is a woodcut of Old Man Winter, as we know him, by Jacob Matham nach Hendrick Goltzius (the meaning of which name or names, I’m not entirely sure), was engraved in 1589. In the image is an old, stooped man, perhaps trundling along his path, in “boots made of cracked, old rawhide.” Above each of his shoulders are the pisces of, perhaps, Christian goodness on the right and a goat on the left that may embody Satan or the pagan beliefs of old that eschewed most of Christianity’s teaching. Do these symbols show what he’s learned throughout life? I believe so, because he seems a bit old for Temptation and, by such an age, is probably steeped in his beliefs. Above his head is, perhaps, his soul, the babe being “innocent as Jesus” as my uncle, a Catholic priest, said about my firstborn son while visiting the hospital days after his birth, many years ago. On the old man’s face, though, is a light expression, which fits perfectly with the poem. At a glance, he seems to be a lonely soul, traveling through life, nearing its end. But, wonder still paints a light in his eyes as a slight grin crosses his face.

Cover Photo
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. I:
The photo on the cover of this booklet was found in the attic of a house I had lived in for a few years in the 1990’s. Neither the name of the photographer, the date it was taken nor any copyright information was found on the print, which depicts a window into a building that had been adjacent to the house and burned down some time ago. When I had lived there, only a field was adjacent to the house. The photograph is, at the same time, an interesting part of forgotten history and an horrific depiction of what could be a gateway to hell.

Cover Page Image
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. I:
The image on the cover page is a representation of putrefaction, as it was seen in 1599 in a Latin alchemical tome, Azoth, by Basilius Valentinus. The man in the image looks ill-disposed, dead. The bird is hungry, awaiting the man’s initiation into a new life, as Death has fed and leaves Rot to feast on the poor fellow’s flesh, allowing his soul to transcend its past life, failures and misbegotten actions. And so, a new soul is born from the festering remains.

Poem: The Dreams Of The Damned
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. I:
While I could not find the historical origins of this particular woodcut, the image is bleak, as it should be, for the dead trees and rat-infested manse in the background may be what the Damned see as they look upon life through eyes enshrouded by an impossible existence of misery.

Poem: The Mournful God
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. I:
This image was engraved by Albrecht Dürer in 1504 for an astronomy treatise. The wizard holding the compass in the image was originally meant as being God creating this world we live in, thus combining science and religion in an era when religion held sway. Such a combination may have allowed science to flourish, thereby setting the stage for the technology we have today, some of which you may be holding in your hands, right now. Without disrespect for any religion, I have, as is my fashion, considered a quiet God who’d rather remake His world than fix it, having tossed aside the sphere that was once in the empty circle in the sky while ignoring the cries of its inhabitants for salvation.

Poem: The Birth Of Midnight
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. I:
The image with the caption, “My glass runneth quickly,” fits “The Birth of Midnight” very nicely, for Death is now here and the Hourglass set, its sands draining away our lives. From what I was able to discern, Francoys Dancx sculpted this as a relief on a house in Amsterdam. The image, as a woodcut for a book, was published in 1647 by Joost Hartgers; the book in question was titled “Lykreeden over den Heer P.C. Hooft,” written by Geeraert Brandt. This is the latest of the woodcuts presented herein.

Poem: Some would say that this is the luckiest man on Earth
Dreams of the Damned, Vol. I:
The image beneath the poem shows the legend of “The Martyrdom of Ten Thousand,” as depicted by Albrecht Dürer in a 1497 woodcut. In the legend, ten thousand Christians were slaughtered on Mount Ararat by King Saporat of Persia, acting on orders from the Roman Empire. The image in this booklet is only a part of the entire work, which Dürer would later turn into a color painting that seems to be the more famous of the two. The cynicism in the poem is accentuated by the gruesome scene in which broken bodies landing on hard rocks are further maimed and tortured. Whether or not the legend is true, which seems to be of some debate, the ideal behind it is a testament to the strength of Mankind’s will which, ironically, is a sign of hope rather than despair.