What is the story of "The Griesly Bride" by John Manifold?What is the form of this poem?

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kmcappello eNotes educator| Certified Educator

John Manifold was an Australian poet who was also interested in folk music.  This influence can be seen in his poem "The Griesly Wife," which like most folk lyrics, tells a story with gothic undertones.


In this story, a newlywed couple are getting ready to spend their wedding night together, when the woman jumps out of bed and runs into the night.  The man follows her tracks, growing angrier and angrier at her disappearance.  Then he discovers that the tracks have changed from two feet to four feet.  His anger changes to fear, and he turns back.  However, at the end of the poem, he "lies in a crimson tide," a metaphor for blood; the young husband has died.


Though what actually happens to the man and the wife remains a mystery, there are a few clues in the poem which can help draw conclusions.  The moon is full and dingoes are heard howling far off.  The husband finds his wife's discarded nightgown at the same place where her tracks turn to four feet.  And finally, he is chased by what was once his "quarry."  It is possible, and we are supposed to assume, that his new wife was a werewolf.