and cartwheel across the darkening skies,
for wind-blown ashes from years ago
to gather again like driven snow,
to dance with their clanking limbs on fire
with partners they drag from the funeral pyre.
This is the night the lovers wed
then sleep for a year on a thistle bed.
The dead and the undead welcome here;
the living may come in mortal fear.
Consume your partners, one and all,
then step it out at The Pox-Trot Ball.
This is the night the rivers flood
and boil and bubble with human blood.
The priest stands waiting to plunge you in,
then lift you up to a life of sin.
From his censer the smell of putrid meat -
a promise of death at The Judgement Seat.
This is the night they rattle their chains
who will suck the mind from a vicar's brains
and strip the flesh from his stinking corpse
for a stew to enjoy when your sane mind warps --
as it will when you taste in his body's juice
the heart of a long dead, mouldering goose.
This is the night when a million eyes
replace the stars in the furry skies,
and snouts and ears shake out as well
and all the creatures from every hell
appear as shadows with blazing trails
on birds of prey with monster scales.
This is the night when mice eat owls
and the woods are full of hoots and howls
the night for a visit to do you no good --
(If you haven't been, you bloody-well should!)
This is the night to impale the flesh,
and the careless to end in a spider's mesh.
This is the night of the cancelled wake,
the coffins will empty, the churchyards quake;
the spirits are leaving before their time,
the souls of the holy are smeared with grime;
an innocent's head goes by on a stick --
for some it's a treat, for others a trick.
learning how to mountaineer -
beginners, it's true