VII

THE CANDLE

 

A cliché of tumbleweed was a-tumblin’ through the town,

while the air fell cold and the fog fell down.

While the blanket of abstract soundlessness consumed all the souls,

a different kind of spectre replaced the tower’s tolls.

 

High in the thick night where whiteness reigned,

a single candle flickered in the church’s domain.

In the ornate window looking down with Heaven’s gaze

was an eerie light of fire in the illuminated haze.

 

Necks craned to see it as arguments began,

and volunteers were volunteered against the will of man

to ascend into the tower and solve the mystery:

Who had lit a candle for the townsfolk all to see?

 

The tumbleweed stopped lifelessly outside the door of the inn,

as if it might hear the story unfold about the source of sin.

While bravado found its way into the heart of a chosen son,

the journey to the tower’s peak was cautiously begun.

 

Creaked the stairs while beating loud was the fledgling hero’s heart,

a young man by the name of Joseph Stone who was rattled from the start:

 

From the moment the Horseman spoke his threat,

Joseph knew that he would never forget

the terror that chilled his soul and made him shed a tear.

Joseph Stone was a man redeemed as he rose above his fear.

 

Yet women would whisper and men would sigh,

about what had happened to that hapless guy.

For years uncounted, they would always stare

and wonder how he came to have whitened hair.

 

No one learned of how he crested the stairs

and looked into the gloom to seek the single candle there.

And although, from their viewpoint so far down below,

the flickering flame continued to glow,

Joseph saw nothing but fog rollin’ in

and ascended he further to the Tower of Sin.

 

And somethin’ rushed him from the ethereal mist,

longin’ to give him the general gist

of the story unfolding through the words of Denise.

But the spirit took Joseph without measure of peace

and overtook his concerns so his fear was released.

 

Joseph descended the creaking stairs,

emerging into the thickening gloom.

Everyone pointed and questioned and stared

as, ignoring their voices, he left them to presume

that he had gone and lost his mind.

They said: ‘That Joseph was always the stranger kind.’

 

Walked he to the inn where Lady Denise

had just gone and resumed her telling piece.

And something told the people that the truth was there to find.

They followed white-haired Joseph Stone…

 

but at a distance, mind.

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