While Camden House3 lay vacant, dark, and bare,
Its counterpart on Baker Street4 was, too.
The hunted tempted hunter to the snare5,
A trap was sprung, the predator subdued6.
An empty house3, as any empty space,
Is filled with air and possibility;
Potential anything in any place,
Abounding with ineffability.
An empty hearse2 arrived here at my door7,
And hesitantly did I peer inside
Afraid of what exactly lay in store,
If I should choose to join it for a ride.
Within, I found an entertaining fiction8,
Which is itself a mark9 of benediction10.
- A reference to Leslie S. Klinger’s The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes (2004).
- This sonnet, composed on January 2nd, 2014 is a response to Mark Gatiss’s The Empty Hearse, the first episode of the third season of the BBC miniseries Sherlock, which aired on January, 1st, 2014.
- Camden House is the titular dwelling of Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1903 short story The Adventure of the Empty House, in which Conan Doyle resurrected his famous detective after his ersatz plunge into Reichenbach Fall.
- 221b Baker Street, the former flat belonging to Sherlock Holmes an Doctor Watson is the house across the road from Camden House.
- In The Adventure of the Empty House, Sherlock Holmes tricked Sebastian Moran, a confederate of Professor Moriarty’s, into an assassination attempt.
- Of course, Holmes and Watson foiled Moran’s attempted murder by having Mrs. Hudson manipulate a wax model of Holmes in the window of 221b Baker Street, into which Moran fired a soft lead bullet, which not only sealed his fate but also connected him to the murder of the Honorable Ronald Adair.
- Homage to Emily Dickinson’s Because I could not stop for Death.
- The Empty Hearse contains several possible scenarios for how Sherlock could have survived his apparent suicide in The Reichenbach Fall (Sherlock, Series 2, Episode 3, written by Stephen Thompon), though due to unreliable narrators, it’s unclear which, if any of them, actually occurred.
- A pun on Mark Gatiss, co-creator of Sherlock who wrote The Empty Hearse.
- A pun on Benedict Cumberbatch, the actor who plays the title character of Sherlock.