Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Malice in the Dark

Malice in the Dark  
There's malice in the hearts of men.
It lies there like a snake.
And in the darkness, it uncoils,
And does its thirsting slake

I walked beneath a pallid moon,
Upon a winter's eve.
The trees were standing, skeletal –
And watching, I believe.

The sky was masked by curdled clouds,
The moon shone wanly through,
And I was striding through the gloom,
Resolved on what to do.

The snow lay glowing on the ground,
The air was cloying cold.
And there was malice in my heart,
A malice that was old

I reached the place and started then
To shovel out the snow.
And though the work was slow and hard,
I labored more and more.

And when at end I'd finished, I
With satisfaction saw
The places I had needed clear
Were cleared, as per the Law.

And then I turned and noted, with
A dark and evil glee –
The entrance from the road, I'd blocked
For neighbor's misery.

Of neighbors, we had two – and one
Was aged, while the other
Was youngand would, with autumn leaves
And winter snow, not bother.

  So I would rake and sweep each year
And shovel in my turn,
And though I did this for them both,
I never saw return.

And so, in this, a winter harsh,
My labor, I'd decided
To lighten, doing less, for him
Whose youth did not deserve it.

For her, who now was aged, I
Had shoveled, as for us.
For him, who was her tenant, I
Refused to further fuss.

I'd cleared, for her, her sidewalk and
I'd shoveled 'round her bins,
I'd salted as I always did,
Been free, in this, of sins.

But as for him, who had a van
 A van he'd park at night,
Compressing all the snow, I thought:
This wrong, it's time to right.

For once, I thought, let the lordling, who
Deserved the title, "jerk",
Before he parked his van, do just
A little bit of work!

For though there was a garage he
Could use if he so wanted,
He left for me the clearing of
The snow, to his advantage.

And though I did not have a car,
And neither did the elder,
He lazily would park his van
So others could not enter.

So when my in-laws came, they'd find
The driveway entrance blocked,
And so would drive for blocks to park,
At the tenant's rudeness shocked.

And though we'd asked him kindly, he
Persisted in his practice,
And if, by chance, my in-laws parked,
Recruited goons and nasties.

And so, although I'd done my deed
And so had satisfaction,
At what would happen in the morn,
I felt some trepidation.

I looked then at that pallid moon,
That darkly curdled sky,
Those trees that stood in ghostly rows,
That snow I'd piled on high.

And furtively, I looked around –
And seeing not a soul,
I turned to the moon and clouds and trees,
With eyes like burning coal.

“Behold, oh Children of the Dark,
This labor that I've done!
And be you mute, or you shall be
As snow that melts in sun!”

And one by one, they promised me,
In stillness, in the night,
Their silence.  So I took their leave
And left, in dark delight.

But when the midnight hour was there,
I stealthily stole back,
And saw the knave, in his van of black,
That snow, with force, attack.

But only with his van!  The fool
Got stuck for quite a while –
And then drove off – as in the dark,
This evil one did smile.

I later learned, he'd parked his van
Beside the nearby school.
He did not have to shovel, so
I wondered, “Who's the fool?”
2014 February 18th, Tue.
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

No comments: