Mist swells and writhes
Like the morbid dreams of tyrants,
Suffusing the air with a sullen sorrow,
Conjuring will o' the wisps over unseen bogs.
A lone fiddler stumbles through the mire,
Hair ragged and unkempt,
Eyes gleeful as they are mad.
Quivering ghoul-strains grate from his skeletal bow.
The lost traveler pales visibly,
Momentarily stunned, a mouse before the owl's shriek.
The mud tempts gravity's malice.
Ravens hover in the shadows of the cypress.
And so the pied piper of the maggots
Collects his audience
Wily old hermit in black
Whose tittering falls like rat's feet,
Laughing as he fiddles in his shadow kingdom
To this Nero of the fen
Cries for help are most amusing.
"See! Another man is undone by Life!"
George Chadderdon © 1995