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The ballad of John Porteous

If you like gore your in for a treat. This my most gothic poem about an old copper, John Porteous. The poem is set in 1880’s London. The character was an actual person lynched in the 1600’s so its kinda semi-fictional, i just wanted to make it a bit twisted, ive had this idea of a cop coming back from the dead for revenge for ages. Feedback as always is appreciated, enjoy…

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The ballad of John Porteous

Under the pitch black blanket that fell and lays
Over dewy ground that’s moist for days
Where a full moon rises and illuminates the midnight sky,
Constellations complement It and sit side by side
When I heard a distant murmur of fast footsteps tapping
And a cacophony of chastened chaps and chimes, I could not tell what was happening
So I stepped abreast through the fog and the mist to investigate, to get the gist
Of this strange situation I had found myself in
But I took my strides recklessly, on a whim

As I boldly marched with a purpose, I felt very nervous I could hear
My pulse racing, nearing the sounds I was chasing
Through this street and that under the pitch black
I lost my hat long back
My pulse beats to the movement of my feet
A chilling sweat accruing, I reached for my whistle and with an acrid lips blew it…

I paused with laboured breath.

I hunched forward to rest my hands upon my thighs
Inhaling heavily, mopping the porous sweat away from my eyes
Then I felt a cold hand on my shoulder
My heart stopped…

...I jolted and looked over
To see a man like no other
With heavy breath and his face with no colour
A ghostly visage, he did not blink but merely smelt of drink
He said “sir, you must help me, there’s someone, something terrifying on these crooked streets”
To him I replied wiping the sweat from my eyes, “no sir, your panicking
But calm down, your merely overreacting.”
“no, no, NO! You don’t understand”, yelled this desperate fellow
“its not like anything I’ve ever seen!”
“tell me sir tonight where have you been?”
“the pub”

My ill fated words to him I uttered with a reassuring scansion
“Look, please go home don’t waste my time, you have my word, you’ll be just fine”
With my hand on his shoulder to encouraged him to be bolder and to carry on his way, little did he It would be the last thing he’d say…

Only ten minutes later…

Upon a frightening, spine-chilling scream I ran only to see
A horror that presented itself to me

I froze.

His visceral remains, with the jagged implement still rattling on the ground, the beast had escaped
Mouth wide open his countenance the lunar white, fixed rigidly in an expression of fright
The cadavers intestines and innards bestrewn all over the floor, I recoiled and vomited from the Sight of the gore
There were nothing in his claim that were spurious
Convinced, I took it more serious
The blood was now coursing fast
With the deepest sigh I’ve ever took I released a nervous laugh

Only ten minutes later…

Under a mild mist I stand alone,
Underfoot lay centuries old cobbled stone
When I hear a cackle echo through the streets and off walls
The devious shrieking, the sweat upon my brow slowly falls
And nestles in my eyes as I hearing the banshee-like wails and cries

Plodding the promenades yard by yard, searching high and low always alert and concentrating hard.
I clamber cautiously to a graveyard where I can see, it is there which is the source of the screams
A push of the rusted gate open the hinges welcomes me with piercing shriek of agony
The moonlight illuminates a maladjusted man infested with insanity
I advance with a grace and careful pace, to a sound-scape of owls and far away mechanics

Only five minutes later…

I see now
The man is a police officer wearing the uniform of a 19th century copper:
The dark blue suit, the truncheon and the stove pipe hat
The cape, the hand cuffs and the boots coloured black
His shrieks get nastier as I get nearer
And a outline of a broken noose soon becomes clearer

I wiped the porous sweat away from my eyes
Then I put my warm hand on his shoulder
My heart stopped…

...He jolted and looked over
He spun to face me and took off his helmet. The cackling and howling refrained.
As I surveyed I saw
A countenance corroded by rot and decay

“sir who are you?”

He scanned me up and down, as he scowled he said
“My name is captain John Porteous, 100 years have I been dead!”

“I man who, by many people, betrayed
I was deemed public enemy was left out to hang, my corpse displayed
I shall dispatch my victims to a similar fate,
I will tear out there heart and rip out there lungs
And leave them like me, desecrated!!!”

The lunatic smiled with soulless eyes, and roared voraciously “sir, you are next!”
And with that he grabbed me by my throat his rotted hand scrabbling at my chest
I fight with all my heart, I fight for my life
He pushes me onto moist green and comes at me with his knife
Another curved blade with experience of abdominal incisions made
My hands on his hands, pushing it back
My heart beating fast
His pushes it down it nicks my neck
My heart races faster
I push it up and him onto his back
My heart is pounding out of my chest
I plunge my right boot down towards his face in my final attack….
There’s no movement being made, so I hack his lifeless carcass up with the blade

I let out a relieving shout…

Under the pitch black blanket that fell and lays
Over dewy ground that’s moist for days
Where a full moon rises and illuminating the sky,
And constellations complement It and sit side by side
Came John Porteous in his revenge an unfortunate man
But under the moonlight spell he fell making his last stand


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