The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe

Prince Prospero
what a happy gallant
gay
joyous outrageous eccentricity

yes this Prince
Prince of Princes

host of hosts
man amongst men

he was so infinitely gay

the land of Prince Prospero

the land in which resides
his castle

was once filled with green lush
verdurant trees

with swooping palm fronds
and coconuts and dates

but now
now all of this has changed

changed severely
severely for the worse

for the Red Death
had blackened

everything

The Red Death left no tree
untouched it came through like a storm a
tempest

The Red Death reached out
it’s fingertips

and gently stroked the men and women
peasants

to sleep

but the gay Prince Prospero
in his merriment
his sagacity
his veracity

knew what to do in such
situational difficulty

he hid up in his cave
his arc with arches abounding
and mirrors on the floor and ceiling

he hid himself in his castle
there in the land of plenty
of yesterday

he hid himself

today

yes he stole himself into his chateaux
his castle
his room and board

and with him 2 of each kind
of man and woman

no children allowed

and they stayed in that castle
protected from the storm

the deadly winds of the Red Death
which had so terrorized
the countryside

yes they stayed inside
away from all
that was

so they could eat and be merry
and gay

and have fun

6 months they did store themselves
up in their castle walls

hearing news from the outside
from pidgeon men
braving the elements

waiting for the world to pass
over

sealed up
they did not somber
quite to the contrary
there was always someone or
something to do

and every week
just for the heck of it
they would have a great big
masquerade party

for the sake of merriment of course
and they would dress
up
precisely at the stroke of nine

when all in the castle walls
could hear
the chiming
of the ebony clock

grandfathered in the end-hall room

for you see, this chateaux
this palace of Prince Prospero
had seven marvelous rooms
each connected by long looong
corridors

the first a blue so deep
it would make the Ocean swoon
and then purple royal hue
and green
and orange, the color not the flavor
mind you,
and white and violet

and finally the last room
the end-hall room
was black
with red crimson walls

and it was in this last room
this black and red room
where the ebony clock
did ring

tic
and
tocking striking 9
to start the festivities

for the comraderie
of these men and women to commence

as was
only fair sense

and it just so happens
then was the time
yes indeed 9

for the merriment to arouse
again

for the men the women
no children of course
to dress up in their masks
and costume

and Prince Prospero
too

the gaiest of all

and how they danced
and laughed and drank

and spilt wine upon themselves
these festive men and women there in the great
ball masquerade party celebration

while the winds of the Red Death whipped up
around them

beyond the moat beyond the arches
beyond the stone masonry

to ravage the trees and the little
town folk the peasants and pleasantries

and then the clock did strike
10 and
suddenly appeared a man

a man in a dark long black cloack
with the face of death
a corpse rotten worms eating away
grey and green
smelling putrid protrusions from the eye sockets

and the people
were astonished
they stopped their foolishness
in that moment looking at him

and looking
at themselves

and they murmurred who is this man
who dares dress like this

who wears such things
who acts this way
during our wonderful merry gay reparte?

and Prince Prospero’s eyes did fall on
him
and his blood seethed with rage

how dare this man
whoever he is
ruin his party with this blasphemy
this sickness this ill-grim picture of death

and he screams out
“Seize him! We will hang him from the gallows!”

but the people try and struggle
to hold on
they can barely get near
for fear
has stricken their hearts

terror

deep

and the man this sick Deathly man
with his eye sockets festering
and blood trickling down his face

with teeth gnarled and mashed
and the veins

in his long black cape
makes his way

slowly

slowly

through the corridors
passing the rooms

the blue
the purple
the green
the orange
the white
the violent

and there Prince Prospero
says “I will have him”
and rushes races towards
him to man-handle him
and he brandishes his daggar

and the man
this picture of death
creeps once more into the black
room
at the end of the long hall
with that ebony clock
fixed on the wall

he steps in
with its deep red crimson
walls

and there Prince Prospero
lands upon him

and there is a deep

deep yell

and the men and women in
their costume hats and caps and gowns
are stricken with fear
and they go down the halls
themselves

to that end-hall room of black and red
to see Prince Prospero
lying dead on the ground
before them

and they reach out to touch
that man

that man in the long black
drape

and he is nothing
a figment

and one by one
they drop dead

the Red Death has caught
up to them

as the ebony-clock
tics