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The Madman’s Furious Tolling


Atop a distant hill
sits a bright white church
constructed of weathered wood,
brick and mortar
crumbling at its corners

It takes the right or wrong eye
to mark its edges,
as either true and straight,
or jagged as an age-old eroded
crown.

Green rich pastures roll around
its foundations,
capturing the height of its walls
in the folds of a land
that endure its weight,
pressing ever down
while far below its
hallowed grounds
the roots have become
diseased and begun to whither.

Through a dirty pane of glass
you will spy a seeming man
in shadow residing.

He is a slumped, disheveled figure,
silhouetted by a dying day,
chafed hands always holding
rough hewed ropes secured tightly
to the bell higher up in
the proud tower.

He waits for the sun to fall
to horizon’s knife edge,
for everyone knows
all devious deeds are best
done in the dark.

Death has come
to this cursed land
and that man
is Death’s sonorous
escort, pulling on the bell
furiously like a madman, as
the pale rider
stampedes through the town
to take its rightful claim
in the night on through til
dawn’s first morning
light strikes.

Yet, all the town knows
Death shall surely
return again
when the madman
continues
his furious tolling
in the bright white church
high atop the hill.

By Philip Wardlow Oct 20,2020