The monster in the wood

The monster in the wood is dead
they slew it with a thousand blades
its thousand wounds turned their hands red –
stained gloves they wore on their parades.

The crows refused to pick its hide
the rats declined an easy meal
no beast could savour genocide –
eat flesh infused with murd’rous zeal.

At first some took the wand’ring path
to see the monstrous corpse prostrate
a demon deprived of its wrath
an empty shell that once oozed hate.

But others in the town had fright
the creature would come back to life
so barred the journeys to the site
where pelt was pierced with sword and knife.

The band that cut the monster down
protested that the fiend was gone
raised their red hands around the town
but were outvoted ten to one.

“We must raise up a forest wall,”
the worried and the fearful cried,
“It must be thick, it must be tall,
with spikes to keep us safe inside.”

A seer railed against the horde
“The wood is not our worry now!”
But he was mocked, and then ignored,
and then cast out with furrowed brow.

They built the wall, they built it high
they added spikes and molten tar
they added flares that bronzed the sky
and mighty bells heard near and far.

Beyond the wall they dug a ditch
Their bows could fill with arrow fire.
They said a critic was a witch
and flung her on a blazing pyre.

When finally their task was done,
Townsfolk took turns to keep lookout.
No living thing could crawl or run
from out the wood or there abouts.

They shot down birds, hurled rocks at deer,
trapped boars and bears and snakes and toads
at each new death they’d raise a cheer
that echoed round their streets and roads.

No monster could come from the wood
to kill their kin, to make folk shake
but their defences were no good
when monsters rose out of the lake.