Halloween Poem by David Shoemaker

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by Tim Burdick on 31 October, 2019

Along a winding wooded road

Beneath the full moon’s light

A tinker drives his loaded cart

Hours into the night.

The woods gave way to pasture-land,

A village came in sight

Beside the graveyard, his horse stopped

In need of a respite.

The tinker unhitched his tired horse

And set it free to graze.

Then stepped within the churchyard gate

Upon a grave he lays.

The ground a soft and mossy bed

But still no sleep would come—

As midnight chimed across the vale

The ground began to thrum.

Startled, he jumps behind a tomb

As the grave began to open.

A shrouded corpse and coffin lid

Emerged in languid motion.

The vampire dragged its coffin lid

Up to the church’s door,

Leaned it against the vestry wall

Then fled in search of gore.

The tinker was a daring man

He took the coffin lid

Back to his cart with waiting tools

And sat upon the skid.

Hours dragged by as he kept watch

Until the ghoul arrived.

Reaching the vestry, it was shocked

Its coffin lid deprived.

With eyes sewn shut, it breathed in deep

The lid’s scent for to catch—

As it approached, the tinker hoped

A plan could still be hatch’d.

The fiend’s white shroud was stain-ed red

Its voice like wintry wind

“Return to me my coffin lid

Or like a rat be skinned!”

“And my hatchet, how about that?”

The tinker’s bold reply.

“I’ll chop you and your coffin lid

If you should even try!”

“Do give it back to me, good man!”

The undead spirit begged.

“Tell me the deeds you’ve done tonight

And where it was you legged.”

“Into the village square I went

And fed upon two boys.

You’ll find them dead upon the floor

Surrounded by their toys.”

“What must be done to bring them back

And give them back their life?”

“Take the left skirt of this white shroud

And cut it with your knife.

If you can find the lifeless boys

Before the break of dawn

Fill up a pot with burning coals

Then toss the shroud upon.

Put the pot within their room

And quickly bolt the door.

The smoke will bring their spirits back

And their lives restore.”

The tinker knew that time was short

So quickly cut the skirt

The corpse took up its coffin lid

And returned beneath the dirt.

During the night, the tinker had

Within the coffin’s lid

His mother’s silver crucifix

Beneath the lining slid.

The amulet kept the Vampire

From closing the lid tight

A corner rose out from the dirt

To mark the ghoul’s gravesite.

The tinker rushed into the town

And heard a mother’s wail

He swiftly gathered burning coals

And dumped them in a pail.

He set it down upon the floor

Between the lifeless lads

The shroud gave off a cloud of smoke

As thin as sterile pads.

He closed the door, smoke filled the room

Their Father grabbed his throat:

“What in hell are you doing here?”

He shouted at his coat.

Coughing was heard from the boys’ room—

The father dropped the man

Throwing aside the bedroom’s door

To reborn sons he ran.

The tinker did not gain reward

Or even words of praise.

Instead was tightly bound with rope

To meet the sheriff’s gaze.

For who beside the boys’ killer

Would know how to revive’m?

The tinker told his dark night’s tale

To the fiend he’d drive’em.

The town went out by dawn’s red light

And found the disturbed grave

The coffin lid’s corner marking

The home of Death’s dark knave.

The dug up the fiend’s bloodied corpse

And drove an aspen stake

Through the ancient, merciless heart

Of Eden’s evil snake.

The tinker was a hero named

And welcomed with a feast.

All the town bought from his cart

And thus his wealth increased

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