No Rest for the Blessèd

Zombies by podagrog


No Rest for the Blessèd

“And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”
Matthew, chapter  27, verses 51-53

And the very earth shook beneath us,
And the sky came dark and the veil of the temple was rent;
As the Son at last came to leave us,
So the tombs where slept the saints were breached as He went.
And there they sat, arisen yet still,
Since so long dead, they patiently waited
For a night and a day and a night until
On Sunday morn, they arrived belated.
     Zombies on the loose, they come !
Zombies in Jerusalum !

And yet not a word was spoken,
As He was interred by Joseph of Arimathea,
Of other tombs that were broken –
For surely he witnessed the quaking’s rough aftermath here ?
For there they sat, arisen yet still,
Awaiting the one who had yet to be buried;
So lay Him within the sepulchre’s chill
And roll up the stone, his soul long ferried.
     Zombies yet procrastinate,
     Zombies lurk and zombies wait.

And still not a word was spoken
By the Marys on Sunday making their way to His tomb,
As they passed all the saints newly woken,
As another earth-tremor gave sanction to auto-exhume.
No more they sat – unprisoned, unstill:
Now great was their stagg’ring and groaning as any;
As stumbling and jerking, they lurched down the hill
To Jerusalem, to the marvel of many.
     Zombies, rotten of complexion !
Zombies join the Resurrection !

And never more a word was spoken
By the Twelve at the Pentecost, only a few weeks on –
When their voices were no longer choken,
But gabbled in tongues – yet not asking where the dead had all gone.
Where now they sat ?  Or risen they still ?
Where went their mission, so silent of news ?
What is the purpose they mean to fulfil ?
Is this what is meant by Wandering Jews ?
     Zombies, born again through Christ !
Zombies, torn from Paradise !

And still not a word is spoken,
And the puzzling verse is never read out in church.
No statue or stained-glass token
Celebrate animate saints as they stumble and lurch.
And those who are sat in the pews quite still
And pretend that the verse is a metaphor or test –
I guess they haven’t the need or the will
To admit to themselves that it might be a jest.
     Zombies, clinging to their mask,
Zombies, too afraid to ask.



The Ballad of Miss Pickle



The Ballad of Miss Pickle

She skipped to the balls
In her crinoline gown,
With verdurous falls
In the drapes of her crown.
She rustled and twirled
As she danced with their gaze,
And pleatings unfurled
In a deep-lustred prase.
Hers was no ruby or aquamarine:
The glorious girl in the emerald green.

All season she danced
In her favourite hue;
Her eyes were enhanced,
And her blossoming grew.
Her costume was styled
To flicker the room;
The beaux she beguiled,
Her shamrock in bloom.
Hers was no palette of altering scene:
The glorious girl in the emerald green.

The following year
As the bucks met to fool,
They longed she’d appear:
Their taffeta jewel.
But salon and do
Were all lacking her shade;
They felt far too blue
And in want of her jade.
Hers was no presence, but absentee queen:
The glorious girl in the emerald green.

Then shocking they heard
Of her sudden demise:
The poison transferred
From the arsenite dyes.
She wilted last winter,
She couldn’t have known
How deadly the tints were
In which she was sewn.
Hers was no longer, a tragic eighteen:
The glorious girl in the emerald green.

A young woman dies
In much retching and bile
To set off her eyes
And to brighten her smile.
Her end was a blur
With her lights in distress,
But do not blame her
For the tinge of her dress.
Hers was no moral to vanity’s preen,
The glorious girl in the emerald green.

She skips to the balls
In her crinoline gown,
And her glowing enthrals
With a growing renown.
Remember her this way
From bodice to hem:
A verdant display
From a radiant gem.
A shimmer and sparkle, a ripening sheen:
The glorious girl in the emerald green.


More commonly referred to as Paris Green, but the rhythm of ’emerald’ suited me better.



Armageddon Hedonism

Pandemonium by John Martin


Armageddon Hedonism

All aboard for the End of Days,
When kingdoms drown and cities blaze.
See stars burn out and worlds collide,
As the dead shall walk and the damned shall ride !
I’ll see you all at the bitter end,
When gods take arms and fates entwine.
We’re six-six-six for nil, my friend,
Let’s party like it’s ninety-nine !
The long goodbye, the last farewell:
I’ll see you all on the Road to Hell !

Fires to the North and fighting to the South,
The time has come, the Walrus said, and gently dabbed his mouth.
Famine to the West, and plague upon the East –
The Quick comingle with the Dead, the Angel with the Beast.
Penitents shall weep and moan –
Some prayers pleaded, others hurled.
We’re all for one and all alone,
So step right up for the End of the World !

Roll up !  Roll up for Ragnarok !
For hark !  There raps the Reaper’s knock.
Our hours are short, our time is come,
I hear the trumpet and the drum.
I’ll see you all on Judgement Day,
When gods lay bets and futures mix.
We’re thirty-coins-per-soul, they say –
Keep tuppence back to cross the Styx.
We’re three-score-ten before the tomb:
I’ll see you all at the Gates to Doom !

Chaos to the left and jokers to the right,
The wind of Thor is blowing cold, the Morningstar is bright.
Shouting to the front and screaming to the rear –
The Saved shall ally with the Sold, the Comrade with the Clear.
Penitents shall beg and curse –
Some prosaic, some sublime.
It’s goodnight to the Universe,
And set your clocks for the End of Time !




black spider
Photo by Anthony on



I cannot tell you why I should be so afraid,
Except I am.
Perhaps it’s evolution keeping me alive
That makes me scram.
But I have always hated spiders, big and small –
Oh god, so small !
They’re lurking in this room, right now –
They lurk, until they crawl…

But sooner yet than later,
Then the peace between us must be made –
For I don’t want to be a hater,
When, oh please !, I hate to be afraid…

And with tarantulas – so big !- we get to see
Just how they’re built –
Their legs, their palps, their spinnerets,
Their onyx eyes and downy quilt…
Yet small ones have these too, too small to see –
But oh, they’ve got the lot,
Upon a strange and creeping body –
Never let this be forgot !

But I am more than this, and greater –
I shall love them, I shall not be swayed.
For I don’t want to be a hater,
I don’t want to spend my life afraid.



Z. apocalypsus

E Coli
Low-temperature electron micrograph of a cluster of E. coli bacteria, magnified 10,000 times, microscoped by Eric Erbe, colourised by Christopher Pooley


Z. apocalypsus

Squirming and writhing in unthinking hordes
That cannot be dented with bullets or swords;
They’ll find us and kill us and shred our remains,
They’re after our bodies and after our brains.
They’ll mess with our minds worse than Dali or Escher,
Our stomachs will turn and our bowels feel the pressure,
I sense in my gut that they’re here in the flesh –
Oh my…
Escherichia coli !


I feel a little bit guilty about the last line, as apparently the stresses should fall on the RIC and the CO, whereas I would prefer them to fall on the I and the LI (that is, the next sallybles along).  But honestly, whoever actually ever says the name in full anyway ?  So I reckon my stresses are every bit as valid.

E. coli, incidentally, is a natural part of our gut bacteria without which we would probably be dead.  That is, until it turns bad…





backlit black candle candlelight
Photo by Toni Cuenca on



It’s Halloween night, and I’m still right here –
Death, you coward, you failed to appear !
Did you send forth your goblins and demons and wights ?
Cos I’ve still got my wits and I’ve still got my lights.
So where were the werewolves, the hairy-scare werewolves ?
And where were the zombies and spectres and sprites ?
Is it really too much to want to believe in
Some un-hallows odd on All-Hallow’s Even ?

It’s Halloween night, and I’m still in the clear
Death, you blackguard, you just ain’t sincere !
Plague and Pollution, Famine and War
Now those are damn scary, and worthy of awe.
Cancer and cold snaps and car wrecks are killers,
Not witches or vampires – they don’t come near !
Vengeance and greed are the stuff of good thrillers,
But I ain’t heard a peep from a banshee all year.

It’s Halloween night, and I’ve nothing to fear –
Death, you pussy, you’ve lost all your sneer !
And a rubber spider or pumpkin grin
Will scarcely scare me out of my skin.
My heart’s barely strumming,
So Death, if you’re coming,
You’d best get a-frighting to stand any chance –
So unleash your devils
And skeletal revels –
Quit tuning your fiddle, and strike up a dance.



Ba-Bump in the Night

man walking on floor
Photo by Umberto Shaw on


Ba-Bump in the Night

Why do shadows lurk and clump
Wherever there’s a lack of light ?
Why do hearts and footsteps thump
When too much nothing gives us fright ?
So why do throats grow sharp and taut,
And fingers white, and faces pale ?
And why does breath get loud and short,
And turn into a vapour trail ?

I know, I know, it’s only night
When only nerves attack…
Yet what is watching out of sight,
And turning shadows black ?

Who’s that walking where I’m walking,
Pacing half a pace behind ?
Who’s that lis’ning when I’m talking,
Twitching back the mental blind ?
What’s this tongue that’s speaking tongues ?
Who’s beating heartbeats next to mine ?
Who is that breathing in my lungs,
And shivering upon my spine ?

I know, I know, I’m overwrought,
From which my phantoms stem…
But who is thinking all my thoughts,
And who is hearing them ?