Hell’s Bales

Demonic scythemen are abroad,

roaming and reaping, home to home,

feared by folks as though each a god

invoked from an old pagan tome.

Wise villagers will keep indoors,

praying throughout Samhain night,

away from the fields and the moors

where sickles gleam with hellish light.

To and fro, the imp reapers swing

black blades amidst the bloody yield—

pauper, pope, merchant, whore and king—

Man falling as wheat in a field.

They amass bales to feed their steeds,

those horses that snort smoke and flame.

Wherefrom? Hell!  The infernal breeds

bear them up for damnation games,

bursting forth from the flaming depths

amidst plumes of sulphur and fire

like silos alight, these seraphs

fallen to the abyssal pyre.

And what bales amassed!  Wound and bound

with the bodies of those thus reaped,

flesh and soul spiraled round and round—

bone and blood and sin as one heaped

to keep hale the mounts of the Pit

during times of better peoples;

the lean, famine seasons, to wit,

when hearts rise higher than steeples—

those Renaissance times of the soul

when Man aspires beyond himself,

working at wonders for the whole

and starving Hell of its vast wealth

till such beasts as in Hell’s stables

must lay down, famished and bereft

beneath the gargoyled gables

where rider, too, walks with feet cleft,

each taking a nap, for a time,

to await harvests yet to come,

for Sin is a generous clime

that returns throughout a kingdom.

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