TO SWEET HEREAFTER

A rumor borne of children talking, what befell All Hallows’ walking
Whispers of “this boy I knew” who on a cold damp sidewalk laid.
Which house on which dark moonlit street, gifted him his final “Treat?”
A Taffy Apple sealed his fate, a “Trick” malevolently played,
by deftly hidden razor blade.

What evil felled him lurks anew. Perhaps hid deep in Charleston Chew?
Does M&M stand for good? Or rather Murder & Maliciousness?
What vileness skulks in Tootsie Pop? Or sprinkled o’er a Lemon Drop?
Might Snickers creamy nougat hide a whipped suspiciousness?
Is blight twixt Twix deliciousness?

So Child attend what you’re receiving, less tainted it by foul deceiving
make Chuckles cry or Pixies sick or unleash a beastly Gummi Bear.
Red Hots that leave the tongue inflamed or Jawbreakers that do as named.
Lest you deny and lack despair and Trick–or–Treat without a care,
I have for you but just a prayer.

The orange moon is for the dying, deny their songs of baleful crying.
Don’t swap Hallow’s hay ride for one on a crepe-draped hearse.
And while in darkness and costume go, note what’s cheerful isn’t so.
As if an early death was not enough I pray you heed this verse,
for fear of finding something worse.


—by Jim Coudal, with props to Hilaire Belloc
This originally appeared in Jason Santa Maria’s Candygram series.
Happy Halloween from Coudal Partners.