A History of Melancholia: Glossary of Terms

By

A Rumpus Original Poem by Kristina Marie Darling

beloved. The raison d’être of the melancholic’s affliction. Consider the graceful line of his wool coat, its fabric dark against the towering snowdrifts.

courtship. A set of social conventions that gave rise to their exchanging of love tokens. These antique pendants, which held locks of tangled hair, were inevitably lost in the great avalanche.

locket. An object onto which her memories were inscribed. When she thought of their evening soirées, its clasp seemed smaller, more intricate.

memento. A foreshadowing of their ominous tête-à-tête. The charms she would unpin from her blue silk dress.

mourning. Described as a year of pathological grief, in which her locket gave rise to a luminous and deathly narcissism.

nightingale. A harbinger of both despair and the onslaught of winter. Its bright mornings and colorless evenings.

ocean. Now iced over, this body of water was said to reflect the imperceptible radiance of their courtship. Compare, in its present state, to a discarded necklace, pendant, or charm bracelet.

Kristina Marie Darling

Read the Rumpus Review of The Body is a Little Gilded Cage.


From time to time, The Rumpus publishes new poems. Check out this multimedia collection of poetry we've published. More from this author →