Lost; A Plea for Hallowe’en
Lost, one mischievous imp’s trident.
Where and when I can’t be sure
I know it was an accident,
Maybe waiting to happen.
Dropped on the floor, in the gutter?
It was a wet night, a week before Halloween
And I was sent, like the others,
To find my intent, my taunt, my scream.
But I lost it. In the rain. In the alley.
In the runnel where the water streamed
Maybe it fell down a drain.
I watched it, three-pronged and red
With glistening spots of dread
As it slipped, half- turned and flashed at me
To slide gracefully foaming along the dark below.
So I lost it.
You would never see my grin, the glint in my eye
when the poke at your foot broke your heel,
made you trip.
The catch in your eye was me, the shadow by the stair
that flickered or the noise that snickered in the lane came from my lips.
But now I can’t go home, my smile has to be true,
my questions are polite as I ask the local folk
if they have seen my little toy as it drifted away.
Washing along the gutter it went,
I saw the studs flash at me, a devil’s wink
catching in the watery sway.
I’ve lost my nerve, my verve, to jump and skitter
along the street and push you from the kerb
or switch the light on just as you switched it off.
Nor can I put that gnawing little doubt inside your brain
or add a tic, an ache that will not go away.
Where’s the fun, the sweet delight an imp might have
to play a game without my three-pronged device?
I am placid, weak and flaccid, hidden and of no account
without my prodding stick. So please watch out
and if you see my lost, forlorn trident, pick it up
and rest it on your nearest hedge from where I’ll pinch it
and rejoicing, whirl it round this Hallowe’en and trick and treat like Puck.
j Johnson Smith
also tagged as seasons