The escort: a poem

I just finished the first draft of the following poem, on which I’ve been working for the last few weeks.

The escort

I’ve hungered since I first laid eyes
Upon thy malice, lusts, and lies
To let my scythe blade fall betimes
And put an end to all thy crimes,

But patience infinite did stay
My killing stroke until today.
For on this morn thy time came due
And in that instant came I too

To wrest thy soul, unfettered from
Its earthly moorings, hence to some
Black fate which hence must hold thee slave,
Forever thrall of death and grave.

Now bid farewell to all that was
And steel thyself to fly because
When daylight dawns we’ll no more last
And so must travel far and fast

To reach the glow of hellfire’s coals
And resting place for wanton souls.
So for the nonce, and for thy sake,
I conjure thee this counsel take:

Grip tight the rails upon my sleigh
Lest thou be lost along the way,
For thou shalt only fare the worse
Abandoning my frosty hearse.

Take shelter ‘neath my ebon cape
And quell thy figments of escape.
Whilst owning naught which thou canst use,
Thou hast, as yet, thyself to lose.

Hereon for leagues, if thou wilt look
Tha’lt see them which my ride forsook,
The blasted souls, distinct no more,
But fused in clots of five and four.

Mind, look not long, and pray beware
Thou meet no apparition’s stare
For ‘neath their gaze, sane minds deform
And yield up vitcims for the storm

Such hapless souls as selves thought free,
So I advise that were I thee,
I’d spare myself such bootless sight
And take my ease whilst yet I might.

For ere we round the snowy bend
My charge o’er thee must near its end
And thou prepare thy leave to take,
Our fellowship anon to break.

Fail not to quit my frosty sledge
When thou shalt sight at river’s edge
A boatman waiting in his barge
A black commission to discharge:

Escort thy frail intelligence
With all dispatch to hell and thence
To choose a cell that stirs regret,
A stygian, lightless oubliette.

Then there, at last, thy travel’s done.
And though for thee rest be there none,
Let all thy sins find rest in thee.
Tha’lt not escape thy destiny.

Thy gaol is where true woes begin,
The only company therein
A single of my countless eyes,
Aloof and deaf to all thy cries,

Which even through the gloom shall see
The punishments afflicting thee,
The pricking thorns and cattle goads,
And watch as time thy mind erodes.

For certes, return to life wouldst thou,
But it’s too late to turn back now.
Beyond all aid, too late to cure,
Thine evil’s fully ripe, for sure.

For vice the human essence warps
Til even spirit’s rotten corpse
Becomes a thing devoid of worth,
Unfit for life, unfit for earth.

And in the end ’twas only vice
That stilled thy blood as dead as ice.
Of this with sure’ty I attest
For I was long thy secret guest

And catalogued thine ev’ry deed
For thus the duties of my creed
Compel me secretly to mind
Until the end of humankind.


Join the Conversation


  1. Wow.

    I loved the use of archaic speech and the imagery in the warnings.

    I did have a concern with this line: “Aloof and deaf to all they cries,”

    ‘they cries’ doesn’t sound right to me. Am I reading it wrong or should it be ‘their cries’ or something else?

    Again, excellent poem. And I’m impressed by the length. I find it difficult to maintain a rhyme that long. Plus, I found it to be just long enough to convey the images and messages of the poem without harping on them. Excellent work.

  2. this was my favorite
    A stygian, lightless oubliette.

    Kind of makes the reader keep up to date on his relationship with God.

    nice work.

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