Friday 10 January 2020

The Bleakest Show on Earth

by Nick Gisburne | V2 | How I Wrote It

Gather round, dear friends, and welcome, to the bleakest show on earth
Here the sights will make you wonder what a human soul is worth
Step inside the gates of misery, our carnival of sin
Pay one drop of blood to enter – step right up and take a pin

See the priest, whose robes of piety hide all the things he stole
See the newborn, choked by tainted milk, eyes dull and dark as coal
See the painted witches, weeping, nailed with iron to a tree
See the monster with a thousand eyes, yet none of them can see

See the murderer; aroused, he breathes his victim’s final fears
See the winter goddess, frozen in a pool of her own tears
See the wealthy man, whose bleeding nose infects his cheap champagne
See the acid on a daughter’s skin; no features now remain

See the vultures swarm and circle and attack the naked fool
See the bruised and limping boy who cannot bear to go to school
See the toxic flowers poisoning a long forsaken tree
See the doorway to a better world, but no one has the key

See the prima ballerina dance, and mutilate her prey
See the beauty of a little girl who ends her life today
See the bridge of burning gold the lepers cross with naked feet
See the twins, conjoined, born back to back, who know they’ll never meet

See the giant, last of all of them, with nowhere left to hide
See the crowd who cheer and celebrate and mock a suicide
See the wedding veil, torn clean apart, the ring not yet returned
See the books of love and tolerance an angry mob have burned

See the clown beside the loaded gun, the flower and the note
See the stockings of a mistress wrapped around the liar’s throat
See the voodoo queen mix poisons made with tongue and tooth and rib
See the nursery, the broken toys, the bloodstains in the crib

See the banquet of cadavers on a tablecloth of skin
See the wild-eyed woman, slashing at her wrists to free the sin
See the spider sisters, butchering another foolish mate
See the eyes of heathens burned inside the tombs they desecrate

See the boat which carries fugitives and misfits to their death
See the moment when a fallen angel screams her final breath
See the crying baby, silenced by the motion of a knife
See the old man, kneeling, weeping, in the ruins of his life

See the howling orphans hung above the dark abyss of doom
See the mermaid rip the stillborn from her violated womb
See the madman break his skull to calm the fury in his brain
See the warlord crush his brothers with an avalanche of pain

See the demon crown, too big to fit the head of any king
See the legless man torment the nightingale to hear it sing
See the child without a heart, pale skin as delicate as snow
See the roots of evil, buried, but forever sure to grow

See the girl who longs to feed herself, but cannot find her face
See the everlasting road to death, the journey’s cold embrace
See the child, reborn; forgotten, he will die alone again
See the sorceress who saves her blackest cruelties for men

See the vampire, sick with virgin blood; he loathes the taste, the smell
See the beast who blows the horn to summon all the hordes of Hell
See the crippled soldier, dying in a field of broken bones
See the fallen, false messiah, crushed to death with heavy stones

See the tree of snakes, the heads of infants hanging as its fruit
See the warrior who crushed a dozen nations with his boot
See the girl who stands upon a grave, her name carved in its stone
See the master of the underworld, the glory of his throne

See the burning prison, locked so none inside it may survive
See the instruments of torture when a man is skinned alive
See the wizard king, made blind and locked in chains by those he rules
See the patrons of our little show, a band of mindless fools

Take a moment, read the contract which you signed today in red
You can never leave this carnival, not even when you’re dead
Did you ever stop to wonder what a human soul is worth?
Find the answer, stay forever, in the bleakest show on earth