The wages of sin.

A Crooked Old Man

A crooked old man in a crooked old shack
clasped in his hand a rusty old sack
which he always grasped close to his chest
as the day hours passed, and even when at rest.
Only he knew what the sack contained;
whether valuable treasure or ill-gotten gain.
And from his youth to his dieing days
he kept the old thing from prying gaze;
opening it only now and again
to peer inside or drop something in.
A curious puzzle that none could explain:
the thing seemed to be a real source of pain
for the crooked old man who treasured it so,
and seemed to want to, but couldn't let it go.
He was seen to open it after a business deal;
some heard a clink, whether imagined or real;
and he opened it again after the violent death,
still unexplained, of his rich wife, Beth.
Someone saw him drop several shiny tokens
into the old bag when the bank was broken
and life-time savings of neighbors were gone;
everyone suffered, save the old man alone.
Well, time went by and the old man's back
became even more crooked form the weight of the sack.
Then one day smoke boiled, evil and black;
the fires of hell had taken the old shack.
A passing stranger tried to save the old place,
and saw at the window a terrified face;
but naught could be done for the crooked old man
who, even in death, grasped in his hand
a rusty old sack with the bottom burned away
as neighbors found his body that sad, strange day.
"Not a total loss", the papers said,
"enough was recovered to bury the dead."
For into the ashes as they rang the death knell,
from the old ruined sack, thirty silver pieces fell.

Poetry by Barbara Carleton
Read 567 times
Written on 2010-09-15 at 17:46

Tags Betrayal 

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