Where ravens feast on mortal sin,
The world ends at a clifftop inn
Whose greeting is a fleshless grin
From pirates' gibbet at the door.
This lonely structure is adorned
With bodies of those men unmourned,
With sign proclaiming Ye be warned,
And always room enough for more.
Our story, though, tells not of this,
This feared, this known, this bland abyss,
But rather of the promised bliss
A spyglass offers to these men.
For if, once fear has gripped his mind,
Our pirate's hand, then eye should find
The spyglass hidden just behind
The rotting gibbet post, well then...
Well, then he runs, or jumps, or flies,
(That is to say, the fellow tries,)
Enticed by promises – no – lies
Of life at sea forever more.
A sultry mermaid beckons him
To where no mortal man can swim,
He knows he'll gain a fish's limb
If he can just escape the shore.
No mermaid waits for him out there,
No mermaid sits and shakes her hair,
No mermaid even set the snare,
For she is only in the glass.
Though lifeless, frozen in her dive,
At brink of death she seems alive,
So desperate men will often strive
To reach the image closed in brass.
But what then, if those pirates die?
Condemned already, all know why,
And in their hearts can justify
The deaths of these marauding bands.
But all of that was long ago,
Now no one near has sunk so low,
Yet what a dreadful thing to know
That glass lies now in childish hands.
Her parents, dreaming of a pub,
Of quizzes, darts, the village hub,
Have bought the place and dragged their cub
To clifftop where she knows no friend.
The curse persists, the lens is stained
With tempting image unexplained,
The child beholds it unrestrained,
And leaves behind her The World's End.