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.