"Can Love endure amidst the changes life brings?" With thanks to E.A. Poe
ALL SAINTS' DAY
Once upon a midnight fleeting,
lost in hoarfrost's chill'd white sheeting,
from a graveyard, decomposing,
came along a spinster prosing,
prosing to a black cat perched
upon a scarecrow’s twisted form.
From her mouth, a'drool and foetid
(as if ‘twere nails on slate whetted),
ripped a sound, (a voice?) a screeching,
begging to be heard: beseeching
to the black cat now supine
upon the scarecrow’s squirming form.
"Hear me someone, hear my sorrow,
'ere the night become the 'morrow--
'ere the ghost whom I have mothered,
His blood-sucking EVIL smothered--
rises yet again within
the haunted hollows of my soul.
Hearken back to the beginning,
when, before the horrid sinning,
I was but a simple healer--
poultices; an herbal dealer--
giving eases to the pains
as ever were brought to my door.
Only this and nothing more.”
All the while, the feline, silent,
thought in mental pictures violent
of the history HE was seeing.
Of the terror HE was fleeing!
Wond'ring why this tattered crone
was crying him her tale of woe?
Wond'ring if at all 'twould matter
if the crones' continued chatter
kept him from his nightly maunders--
from the cobwebs which he ponders.
Wond'ring if he ought to grace
her grave confession with a yawn?
"Twas Dracula, the Count and Lord
the peasantry as one adored.
And I alone within his life,
his honored ladylove and wife.
Within the day his smile was warm
and all were welcome at his door.
Only this? Or something more?
With each sunset he'd go walking,
Not the hunter: sliding, stalking!
I, with books and herbs would nestle,
having yet no fears to wrestle--
seeing not the signs my heart
would not allow my eyes to see.
Signs? No, my imagination.
Never evil machination.
Never could my Lord and lover
seek to hide, conceal or cover
darkness which could not exist
within a heart who'd touched my soul.
Made my half into a whole.
But deep within the dark of night,
the coldest dark, when fear burns bright,
his turgid eyeball cut the dark--
as slices thru' the brine, the shark!
And what was once a soul alive
was left a drained and emptied husk.
Drained they seemed-- without the spark
of vibrancy in eyes now dark--
in bodies which, 'tho drawing breath,
in every other sign wore death.
Such as these were brought to me
in fading, hollow'd, anguished hope.
And I had naught within my ken
to help or save these ghoulish men:
to unbewitch bewitching ails
as one and all with slackened sails
bereft Life's wind, no longer
coursed and sailed thru' Life's deep ocean!”
'Twas then the cat turned in his eye
and glimpsed once more a faded sky.
A faded sky they both did share,
('Tho she as yet still unaware)
and spied, untold, the tales' end--
The mummy stripped, unwrapped and bare.
A goblin of a thought came howling--
'thru his mind (their mind?) came prowling,
prowling, growling recognition
of their sep'rate, shared perdition
on a night, a horrid night,
that harried them thru' centuries.
And now again he spied the urn
of God’s foul water: Felt it burn
and sear, and melt away his skin,
(‘tho reaching not the heart within)
thus laid open to the stake
which even NOW was arching down!
His EYE froze her with mons'trous will
'tho love refused to let him kill!
He willed again the change of form,
safe harbor from this deadly storm,
but with his skin, the water
burned both mind and mem'ry after….
"My wife? Foul Murderess!" he cried.
"The deed has left me horrified!"
"Your righteous hand 'twas struck the blow--"
“This bony hand begat such woe…."
The mem'ries swept upon them
like a racing, raging river.
"I thought to save you through the stroke:
instead to me was strapped this yoke.
Instead of striking evil down,
I struck my own heart to the ground.
I struck my love asunder
and have never found the pieces."
"’Twas shards of you, the soft white lights
which tracked my mindless, frozen nights?
I wonder if ‘t is somehow true
that love has brought me home to you...
that love we knew, and love we made
survived through my dark promenade?
I only know the love we grew
had not the strength to see me through.
It could not shield me from my fright
and thusly shattered that dark night.
It shattered and the darkness ‘gulfed me
Yet here and now your words ring true,
eradicating dark I knew.
I see now in my dark I've found
such pieces as were scattered 'round--
...therein, perhaps, ‘tho who can know,
resides my heart from long ago?"
And so these two who started,
came again, anon, together.
Then from his perch, the cat dropped down
the crone crept 'cross the frozen ground
and as they touched, the sun appeared,
'tho cleansing, nonetheless it seared
...and on that earthen spot left this:
sad Loves' remains--An ashen kiss...