Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Infernal Rhyme

This is not your typical poem.  (Not that any of mine are...)  This one is built around an internal rhyme with "Hell" in every line.  After writing a fairy tale for last week, I decided to go more down the folk tale path, but of course with the usual quirks along the way.  Enjoy!

I would like to tell you the story of the Devil’s visit to a small village many years ago….

The Devil emerged from Hell one autumn day.
He announced with a yell that shook the boughs,
“I have come to sell the souls of the dead to the living.”
He walked through the dell situated by a metropolis,
Ringing a clamorous bell to alert the townspeople.
One curious Mel approached the horned Devil.
He asked Satan, “Why do you sell souls now instead of us?”
The Devil replied, “Well, business isn’t how it was in the good ol’ days.”
Satisfied with the answer, Mel bought a hardy Hun soul and dropped it in his sack.
“Last week I fell and injured my old one,” the man explained.

Continuing through the town, Satan had to retell his purpose for coming to the earth.
After selling two souls (one for safekeeping) to a man in a jail cell, the Devil was tired.
He decided to call it a night and found a motel for him to sleep in.
Being the Devil, it was easy for him to compel the owner to give him the room for free.

The next morning the Devil continued shaking his bell through the crowded streets.
With each step, a thunderous knell sounded, projecting to all corners of the town.
Soon, thousands of personnel gathered around Satan, bartering for the best soul price.
“I’ll pay ten vel (the currency in this town) for a new soul!”
“Ten?!  I’ll meet his vel and raise him fifty.”
“Oh yeah?  Let me tell you what I’ll do:  I’ll give you 1000, Mr. Devil.”
With that lofty offer, the growing crowd fell silent, silent enough to hear a mouse peep.
“Peep!” went a mouse.  “Hush” went a man, again Mel, standing next to the mouse.
The high bidder townsman slowly emerged from the personnel, brandishing a purse.
(You must remember, dear reader, that in a dell at this time, everyone carried a purse.)
The rich citizen poured a stream of gold vel out of his purse and onto Satan’s clawed feet.
“What’ll it be?” the Devil whispered, trying to smell any fear on the man’s breath.
 In a stage whisper the man replied, “I am going to rebel…I want your soul!”
Shocked and curious what would impel the affluent man to say such a thing, the townspeople let out a collective gasp.
They stood motionless, as if a spell had been cast.  (It hadn’t.  Witchcraft wasn’t invented until several years later.)

Silence.  A bell sounded from the clock tower.  It was noon.  More silence.
Another bell was rung.  Then silence.
Ten clamorous bell rings later, the first fidget from the crowd finally came.

The Devil, irritated by this disruption, peered around intently, attempting to compel the source of the fidget to show himself.
“I command you, fidget source, let me see where you dwell!” boomed Satan.
“Peep!”  A swell in the ground shifted slightly.  It was the mouse.
“A mouse?  Ho ho ho, how this situation amuses me!  It was a rodent that was able to quell the silence after this man disturbed me!” chuckled the Devil.

As the Devil continued his chortles and guffaws, an idea began to jell in Mel’s mind.
He crept forward, careful not to give a tell of his motives, and reached for Satan’s bag of souls.
When the man was sure the Devil was under the spell of laughter, he grabbed the bag in one swoop and raised it triumphantly above his head.
“I have the souls, Satan!” Mel said with a cry.  “Including your own!”
And with that, the courageous man threw the bag into the air:  the souls fell out, at first one by one, then soon in a torrent of wispy white spirits.
The last soul to escape and give its farewell was the Devil’s own.  It was not pure white but the darkest black, sucking in the life around it.
Upon seeing his soul and realizing it was lost, Satan screamed a terrible cry and was re-banished to Hell, back to the deepest layer of this prison cell.

…And that, my friends, is the story of the dell where the Devil was defeated.

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