My friend and I to school we’d walk and always the same way,
And pass a house that scared us so, in so much disarray,
The frames were scarred, the paint was gone, the screens and windows too,
My friend and I and all who passed, everyone all knew,
This was the house where she did live and in the same place died,
We all knew stories of Marybeth the tales we all decried.
Now Marybeth within this house was born to parents proud,
And she grew up a normal child but strangely disallowed,
To play with others of her age, her parents were quite strict,
So she grew up withdrawn and shy, her moods they couldn’t predict.
And so it passed for Marybeth she never took a beau,
Her parents would not let her date, they both controlled her so,
So Marybeth, a strong-willed child, developed hatred strong,
Until one day she’d had her fill, and did them both a wrong.
The poison in their porridge slight, this arsenic began to work,
But dutifully young Marybeth cleaned dishes as she smirked,
Both mom and dad fell ill one month, the doctors were perplexed,
And when they died the townsfolk cried, but Marybeth seemed vexed,
The fortune that she thought she’d gain, it never did exist,
No money to pay when bills came her way, an unexpected twist.
The bank took heart and let her stay, the house in disrepair,
She sat each day while children passed, alone in her rocking chair,
Upon a porch of broken wood, at each of them, she stared.
Her look was bitter, a hatred so of any humankind,
And many tried to talk to her, but she was not inclined,
She’d growl at them and swear a curse, then slowly hobble in,
Then the next day, she was back to stay her cursing to begin.
The story tells of years and years then Marybeth was gone,
Her rotting body found inside, the stench of death so strong,
Those people who discovered her, her body they brought out,
They all grew ill and lost their lunch, her body odor stout.
Along with her, they found a flask containing drafts of wine,
Mixed in the liquor they found what killed her, arsenic was combined,
It seems it’s true Marybeth thought through, her own death by design,
She’d managed to see her parents off, so why not drink the brine.
Now to this day, no children play around this house so frail,
It’s said the ghost of Marybeth, it often does prevail,
You’ll see her there, in her rocking chair, and stare at you she will,
And if she offers you a drink, away from her you’d better slink,
There’s poison in that swill.
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© P.G. Barnett, 2019. All Rights Reserved.