I really feel I have to explain this one and if I may, I ask the moderators to perhaps on some poems, that I be allowed to give a background on where and why I wrote them.
This one came to me a day or two after a bonfire and weiner roast. Some of the young boys decided it would be fun to jump over the fire. In fact, being a child inside, I had thought of it long before they even did!
Anyway, as the adults here know, that can be dangerous and it was. Two boys hit together above the fire and the smaller fell in. He was burned badly on his hands and arms.
At the hospital, his mother and I were in the emergency room and he was sedated. She asked the doctor when they would peel off the dead. I said, "What did you say??" She explained that she was asking when they would peel off the dead skin. I thought wow...and this poem came to me the next day, only it had changed in my mind. It had become a poem about the Bubonic plague of Europe.
Peal of the Dead
When at last the call came forth,
the Jesters, Jugglers and Fire Jumpers
abandoned their preoccupations
to lend a hand to the wagoner
as he sang a song to the living
and chanted a dirge for those not....
The Peal of the Dead.