I wonder what the First of November is like
In the depths of Hell.
A day, perhaps, when demons all go on strike
And stay in their shell –
A lazy morning, then walking the three-headed dogs
And feeding the trolls,
Or taking the chance to restock the brimstone logs
And polish the skulls.
Packing the trident away along with the horns
For the rest of the year,
And binging on soaps with the grandkid-demonspawns
And an ice-cold beer.
I never thought Catastrophe
Would be as beautiful as this,
That Ragnarok at sunset
Is a moment of such bliss.
So peaceful is Apocalypse,
So languid is the End of Time –
The Armageddons come and go,
But were they ever this sublime ?
So come, my dear,
Come and let us stroll awhile,
To seek the lesser-spotted troll
That builds its nest beneath the stile,
As angels circle with the hawks,
And demons gad on Sunday walks,
And banshees squawk and phantoms play
And the Ending of the World’s a world away.
We’re told and told we’re living through
The cataclysmic Final Days:
Where wrath is wrought on wretched waifs
Who sup with Jews and gays.
Yet brimstone seems in short supply,
And so too human sacrifice –
Just people getting on with lives
Amid the unseen Antichrist.
So come, my dear,
Come and let us wend a path
That takes us further round the bend
To promised bloody aftermath.
Let’s walk with blacks and greens and reds
Before the sky falls on our heads,
And, hand-in-hand, let’s thread our way
Through the law-abiding wastes of Judgement Day.
Innocent spiders close down schools
When ignorant humans panic.
Why the hell are we so prepared
To see them as Satanic ?
We wonder why our schools are broke,
And so is our inside –
Yet choose which phobias we’ll stoke,
And wear our hates with pride –
It only takes the merest sight
To send us shrieking with delight.
Our fears are learned, and screeching
Ain’t what our schools should teach in.
Far, far better we learn to love
The harmless ones, at least –
Let our babies play with monies,
Let our kids embrace the beast.
Rearing spinners out of eggs,
And never let the wolves repulse –
Daddy, bring a daddy-longlegs,
Mama, bring a widow-false –
Or better yet, we should be shown
To watch awhile, then leave alone.
And maybe then, here’s hoping,
The schools can all stay open.
It was late o’clock in late October, I recall,
As I buttoned up my coat and set off home –
My hours in the library had still left no trace,
The depths of my mind were whipped to foam.
So, keen to sooner reach out to my waiting bed,
I took a shortcut past the ancient church –
And in my barely-woken walk I stumbled through the graves,
As I fancied how their folks might up-and-lurch.
But I never thought they would…
But I never thought they’d push the slabs aside…
And yet, here were their skeletons
Just walking round as if they’d never died !
Good thing I was overtired,
Or else I’d surely have to scream and hide…
Paralysed by shivering and weariness,
For the sight of all those bones had rattled me –
But most because I’d spent all week to memorise
On the finer points of man’s anatomy.
And as I looked in horrified astonishment,
A prayer had made its way onto my lips:
“The head bone is connected to the vertebrae,
And the metacarpals to the fingertips.”
But I never thought they could…
Yet I never had the chance before to watch the dead.
And yes, the hour was very late,
But then, well, so were they ! Yet there they tread –
And right there in the flesh…
Or, excuse me, out the flesh, I should have said.
I saw upon those skeletons the marks of busy lives,
Like bones that once had broken and re-set –
I saw some more with fractures, some with cancers, some with spurs,
In a lesson I could never now forget !
Their joints had lost their cartilage, yet showed no trace of arthritis,
Where bones were grinding naked onto bones,
And osteoporosis having tapered some so thin,
Yet so carelessly they danced around the stones.
And I’ve never understood…
But I suddenly remembered ev’ry word I’d read –
These visions were impossible,
Because of ev’ry fact that popped-up in my head
And I was overcome,
And I dropped down in exhaustion on my grassy bed.
And when I woke up, slowly woke up, propped against a gravestone,
Quite alone in my new neighbourhood –
Well, I dusted off the dew and I made my way to class,
To a test I had to pass – and knew I would.
Now I cannot expect you to believe a single word of it,
Yet deep down in my marrow, there’s a shred…
Though I looked around the churchyard on that morning as I left
And saw ev’rything was still and very dead.
But I never said you should…
Don’t believe my ev’ry no-word-of-a-lie –
And as a trainee-medic,
I will always trust in science till I die.
But whatever did occurred that night,
I’ll always know one thing – dem bones ain’t dry !
I am a little bit embarrassed to admit that ‘arthritis’ above needs to be streesed on the first syllable instead of the second to fit the rhythm, but I can’t be that embarrassed since I haven’t removed it.
Pumpkin, oh plumpling, oh hideous mutant !
The hothouse of Hades is where you were born !
Nobody thinks of your yellow-starred flowers,
They only remember your potbellied spawn.
An fragile annual, a delicate diva,
Confined to the plots of the greenhouse and garden.
You won’t survive long in the wastelands and margins,
Where squirrels will eat you before you can harden.
Sclerosified skin in an orange-palled jaundice,
With five-fingered leaves and with deep, sucking roots,
And a hunger voracious to fatten grotesquely
Your thickly-pus’d tumours, your Frankenstein fruits.
So pump up the pumpkins, fatter and fatter,
You’re nothing but water and tasteless matter –
Your heads then trepanned to scoop out your cortex,
Yet still you invade into legends and doorsteps.
Yet many won’t make it – mistakes of blind nature,
All twisted or stunted, or rotting while still on the vine.
And if they’re not ripe by the first frost, they’re lost.
Oh Lord, what have we created ? Oh monstrous design !
Have you heard how crime is falling,
Muggings at an all-time low ?
Murders, rapes, are miniscule
Compared with fifty years ago.
So when you’re walking back tonight,
The odds are very much in favour
Of you getting home alright.
So when the shadows rustle
And your heartbeats dance a jitterbug,
You’re almost surely not about
To face a psycho or a thug.
The cold wind sighs, the lone fox yelps,
But rest assured you’re probably okay –
I hope that helps.
If you should ever find yourself
Eye to eye with the Devil himself,
If you should ever find yourself
Face to face with the face of Hell,
Then hold his gaze as long a spell
As you can hold that gaze.
And when you blink, (you will blink first),
Then do not think your chances cursed,
But show him as your eyelids rise
A pair of still and steely eyes
That stare out straight and sharp and wise,
That no reflex shall maze.
“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.