The Gauntlet

I knew a man of stature; I was his lovely bane;

His kindly, patient lover, the one who made him sigh

The one whose soft and silver voice alone could make him sigh,

But I ran him through the gauntlet, and he came out quite insane.

-

For I know the way he cheated, how he left me in the rain,

How, in deepest, darkest secret, to another he did fly –

To another, loathsome woman's bed his willful soul did fly,

So I ran him through the gauntlet, and he came out quite insane.

-

I remember that her blood ran red, a dripping crimson stain

From the woman, on the carpet, off the blade held to the sky,

From the heavens blood was raining, from the grey and jealous sky!

And so, thus began the gauntlet meant to drive my love insane.

-

Yet I had another errand, the only one that did remain,

So I searched for my beloved and I found him where he lie –

I found him in her bed, and so, I left him where he lie

As I ran him through the gauntlet 'til he came out quite insane.

-

And I took his hands and bound them, bound them tightly with a chain

And as I bound his feet, he woke and saw that it was I –

"Oh, my poor, deserted lover! You know it is merely I!" –

And I shut him in the gauntlet, where he'd surely go insane.

-

And I stared him in the eyes to see what horror they contained,

As I raised the knife above him and give him a last goodbye:

"You brought this on yourself, my dear. Your end is near: goodbye!"

And I ran him through the gauntlet 'til his soul was quite insane.

-

Oh, his torture and his torment! In his eyes, a look of pain!

How he struggled as the knife bit and for mercy he did cry!

How he struggled, screamed, and panicked, and let out an anguished cry

As he ventured through the gauntlet and he slowly went insane!

-

Oh, I only can imagine all the thoughts locked in his brain

Of destruction, desolation, and of simply wondering why –

Out of all the men I could have hurt, why choose him? Oh, why?

And his gauntlet still goes ever on, and he now is quite insane.

-

But the secret! Dreadful secret! Now you know my dreadful strain!

Now you cannot leave my parlor – nay, you cannot even try

For you cannot pick these locks, my dear; there is no path to try,

No route out of the gauntlet that will drive your soul insane;

Of the dark, demented gauntlet that will drive you quite insane!