The Springheeled Piper

The Springheeled Piper

I.
There is never a welcome.

They wring their hands.
Fools,
stink of coppery regret
washed in stale sweat and fortifying drink
courage limp as a day old noose
Trembles echo in their pale voices

Still,
They come.

These.
They.
Them.
My once generational supplicants,
my disloyal subjects
I bare my teeth and they crumble
Them.
They.
These.
unequal to this task
stammering slippery praises
obfuscation
misdirection
flattery
In my daydreams I eat their children, hot wet wriggling.
I start at the feet.

They.
Them.
These.
Take their leave,
my door shuts with sounds of breaking bone
It is as a wind chime.

II.

Don’t I give them what they want?
what bogey man but this?
they come
I work.
them
these
they
are right to be afraid
I am afraid
I work.

It is a terrible machine
but it is custom
each generation wrings their hands
slinks beneath my door
promises the moon
As if I could not seize it at a whim!
As if it were theirs to offer!
I name my price.
It too is custom.

The work begun cannot be stopped
consumed
transformed
sublime
sweep and step
sweep and step
machine
I
machine
I
one and whole and complete and cruel
we have clockwork souls ;
these too have we ravaged.

I have fed myself to my creations,
have tasted my flesh
ground my bone to powdery ash
smaller
less
each time …


less
more the terror for it.

III.

Terrible, yes,
the creation cannot but reflect its creator
merciless
lamentations are but a song,
tears the milk of our tea,
grief our endless vista.
But this too must be,
we are fair.
A machine to order,
fired in hell
lubricated in blood
cast in bone
But it is custom
was made to order
works.breathes.sweats.screams.

The price must be paid.
We are cruel,
my love,
my clockwork Juliet,
my rending, grinding machine.
We will be paid.

IV.

I will ask three times.
Will be denied three times.
I will be hung the first.
shot the second.
finally burned.
It is always the same.
I bear it with equanimity.

V.

I am fair.
I named my price,
but Oh! how prices change
when one is hung
and shot,
and burned!

I wanted just one.

to rid me of this silence,
this wretched solitude
one who would not shrink
to call me pa-pa,
one to feed to my machines
perfect, unsullied,
whole.

I will have them all.  Each by each.
It is time again, to pay their piper.

Visit www.famousafteridie.com for more of the artwork of Sarah McNabb.  You will regret many things in your life.  Visiting famousafteridie.com won’t be one of them.

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