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A Poem by Emily Brontë

“Emily wanted to be a Night Walker before she knew what one was.  Sometimes I think she summoned it.”  

~Anne Brontë, Nightwalker

 

One of the deeply enjoyable aspects of writing Anne Bronte, Nightwalker was incorporating the Bronte’s poetry throughout the manuscript.  When I came upon the following poem by Emily Bronte, #184 in The Complete Poems of Emily Jane Brontë, ed.C.W. Hatfield, I couldn’t believe it.  It fit my story so perfectly.  In Nightwalker, Emily, unlike Anne, takes to the night naturally, far preferring it to the day.  And then to stumble upon this poem, where in Emily’s own words, the sun brings fire, death and pain.  What a surprise!  And, I must admit, a perfect gift.

 

Here, Emily likens the sun to a weapon, “arrow-straight” whose fierce beams strike the brow. It blazes, blinds, and “drains the blood of suffering men.”  She rejects the light, and despite the nightmares and insomnia that plagued her in real life, she longs for the night.  For where the sun is harsh, the night is gentle.  It brings a “pure” spell and union with  . . .  someone or something.  A vision of Shelley perhaps?  God?  Night itself?

 

It’s to the Stars, Dreams, and Night that Emily pleads for protection.

 

This poem deeply inspired my story.  It’s this poem that gave me inspiration for Anne’s words above, and showed me that Emily, despite the deep blackness of night on the moors, was unafraid of the darkness.

 

A Poem by Emily Jane Brontë

 

Ah! why, because the dazzling sun

Restored my earth to joy

Have you departed, every one,

And left a desert sky?

 

All through the night, your glorious eyes

Were gazing down in mine,

And with a full heart’s thankful sighs

I blessed that watch divine!

 

I was at peace, and drank your beams

As they were life to me

And reveled in my changeful dreams

Like petrel on the sea.

 

Thought followed thought–star followed star

Through boundless regions on,

While one sweet influence, near and far,

Thrilled through and proved us one.

 

Why did the morning rise to break

So great, so pure a spell,

And scorch with fire the tranquil cheek

Where your cool radiance fell?

 

Blood-red he rose, and arrow-straight

His fierce beams struck my brow:

The soul of nature sprang elate,

But mine sank sad and low!

 

My lids closed down–yet through their veil

I saw him blazing still;

And bathe in gold the misty dale,

And flash upon the hill.

 

I turned me to the pillow then

To call back Night, and see

Your worlds of solemn light, again

Throb with my heart and me!

 

It would not do–the pillow glowed

And glowed both roof and floor,

And birds sang loudly in the wood,

And fresh winds shook the door.

 

The curtains waved, the wakened flies

Were murmuring round my room,

Imprisoned there, till I should rise

And give them leave to roam.

 

O Stars and Dreams and Gentle Night;

O Night and Stars return!

And hide me from the hostile light

That does not warm, but burn–

 

That drains the blood of suffering men;

Drinks tears, instead of dew:

Let me sleep through his blinding reign,

And only wake with you!

.

Emily Jane Brontë

April 14, 1845

 

 

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The Brontës and Book Clubs

Book clubs love the Brontës, and yet Nightwalker is a strange, new twist on their story, so I’m very excited to announce that a book club is reading Anne Brontë Nightwalker right now! This is a first for me, and a new and wondrous feeling. Thank you Renee Rockweiler Wilson for sharing this pic.  And thank you Andrew Jalbert and Julia Pearson for welcoming Nightwalker into your group.

 

 

 

Tonight, via video, I will be meeting the club and answering questions.  This is another first for me!  I’m a bit nervous, but really looking forward to engaging with readers and hearing their thoughts on Anne’s adventure. For any book clubs out there, please know that I’m happy to participate with your group via person, phone, or video.  You can reach me at geahaff@gmail.com.

 

Until then . . . Good Reading!

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Anne Brontë Nightwalker is here!

tenderWhat happens when you work Fire/EMS and read way too much gothic English Literature?  Anne Brontë Nightwalker!

 

Nightwalker is here and available on Amazon in paperback and kindle.  If you enjoy reading about literature, the Brontes, blood and EMS (a strange combination, I know!) then you may find it darkly entertaining. Thank you all my friends for your warm-hearted support and encouragement. Your kind words have given me courage.

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Special thanks to Ayesha Pande, Marinda Williams, Ericka Adams Cole, Dana Isaacson, Joe Havel, Ruben Munoz, Rick Rizzo, George Izquierdo, Patrick Knowles, Julie MacKenzie, and Randy Brooks for reading/polishing my manuscript or patiently answering my questions on realms outside my experience.

 

And also, of course, my darling beautiful husband, Rob Haff, who always supports my most impractical, outlandish pursuits. You, my darling, are a prince.

 

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Dear Sweet Fierce Anne Brontë

Anne Bronte, The Tenant of Wildfell HallAnne Brontë, the fiercest Brontë of all?

 

With a trio of Bronte sisters to choose from, two of whom are perennial favorites, plus their wildly wayward brother Branwell, why write a novel about Anne?  Grave, quiet, serious Anne?  Why not Charlotte of Jane Eyre fame?  Or Emily, creator of the savagely gothic Wuthering Heights?  Why little Anne Brontë, author of the less popular and more realistic novels, Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall?

 

Let me tell you!

 

Because there’s so much more to Anne Bronte than meets the eye.  Because Anne was a dark horse.  Pure stealth.  She was the littlest sibling, the sickest one, the quietest and shyest, the girl everyone thought was the most fragile and delicate when in reality she was FIERCE.  Anne didn’t cave.  She never surrendered to the people around her.  She didn’t argue or scream or stamp her feet.  She simply did what she wanted to do, very quietly, and before anyone  realized what had happened she’d written two subversive novels by the age of 29, worked the longest and hardest of anyone in her family besides Papa, and never EVER complained.

 

Anne could keep secrets.  Big, juicy, dangerous secrets.  Secrets that could bring an entire house down.  She knew the dark night of the soul.  It almost swallowed her whole when she was seventeen.  Anne fought demons and won.  She fought just to breathe.  At times she was so shy she could barely speak, and so she watched and listened, learning about all manner of things a gentle virgin in the 1800’s wasn’t supposed to know.  Things like sex and bastards, alcoholism, heroin addiction, and betrayal.

 

Anne paid attention.  She saw through masks and noticed the details everyone else missed.  She wrote about the dark side, but she loved the light, and when she died at 29, on the heels of Bran and Em, Anne went out with the courage of a lion.  No crying for her.  Instead a deep, calm grace.

 

As I read Anne Bronte’s books over the years, she quietly slipped up on me.  She reminds me of a thief in the night, stealing up behind you, sliding an arm around your throat to pull you close and whisper in your ear.  I couldn’t forget her voice.  It haunted me.  Her spirit stole into my head and heart and wouldn’t leave.  And then to my utter surprise she rose from the dead to embark upon a new and dangerous adventure.  So I wrote it down and now, in Anne Brontë, Nightwalker, sweet, gentle Anne will show you just how fierce she truly is!

 

 

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