an eve along the road

Sat there a man without his house
who puffed a long-necked pipe,
‘neath dome of inky sky so black,
where stars hung fat and ripe.

Nay moment more than dusk had sat,
when down the road came he,
with crimson sparks from ‘neath his hooves,
and horns and crooked knee.

And long he looked on puffing man,
who looked him back as well.
“Have ye no fear”, the stranger asked,
“afore the king of Hell?”

The man thought deep and closed his eyes
while puffing long and slow,
and to the night and through the mist
spake he but simply “no”.

“Whyever not?” had roared the beast,
who pulled himself up tall.
He gnashed his teeth and shook his head
and gaped his fearsome maw.

“But simple is this life of mine,
regrets I do not keep.
I know my soul is sterling, then,
when comes the final sleep.”

“and if you’ve come along the road
to do my corpse a harm,
mankind’s the greater predator;
you’d bring me no alarm.”

With that, he sat and puffed his pipe
and met the devil’s eyes.
A silence passed between the two,
stunned mute, that lord of flies.

With final sigh and venom glare,
turned he to walk away;
the best laid schemes of Lucifer,
so too gang aft agley.


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