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Source: Adults

Author: Jan Miklaszewicz

Title: the promise

well he broke out of jail in the soot of the night
not a peep not a solitary sound
with the full august moon in a bucket of raincloud
and poison laid down for the hounds
and it's 13 miles east
if the crow gets its way
across mire and knotted black thorn
and the angels are lost
and old pegleg's about
and there's many an hour till dawn

and his woman lies wan on her deathbed
with the black coming off of her lungs
and if he don't see her by break of the day
then it's lost and it's dead and it's done
and it's colder than hell on the moor side
and his boots are not good but they rub
when he reaches the crossroads it's one eye to heaven
and into the razor sharp scrub

but the hounds have evaded their stupor
and the poison was weaker than piss
and they're madder [by christ!] than they ever have been
and like savages tear through the mist
with their handlers equally horrid
and their hearts dry and bitter and dead
and from three miles away he can hear them bay
as he desperately plunges ahead

well the mire is a vampire, it sucks out his strength
and his legs are like ingots of lead
and if he don't drown or get ate by the hounds
then he might go clean out of his head
and the thorns have torn into his supplicant flesh
and his hands like a penn'orth of chum
but the glint in his eye won't allow him to die
till the job that he's started is done

then a parrafin light through a tuck in the tors
the familiar snake of the rill
and the fangs of the hounds gnashing terrible sounds
and the handlers braced for the kill
but it's 6 hundred yards to his homestead
god in heaven won't hinder him now
and he bursts through the doorway and falls up the staircase
as fast as his legs will allow

although blind with the rage of the fever she knows
that he's made it to be by her side
and her delicate smile through a shimmer of bile
is the first time in years that he's cried
now she's paying the boatfare to charon
and the river styx wide as the sea
and with one final squeeze of his horrified hand
she departs this old world and goes free

now the boots of the jailers pound up the stairs
and with cudgels they batter him down
and the crack of his skull and the shattering teeth
make a cruel and unusual sound
and they'll hang him for sure for his folly
and he'll tread on the trapdoor this day
with her ring in his fist and her name on his lips
and a promise he kept all the way

Published on writebuzz®: Adults > Poetry

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