Aphelion Issue 281, Volume 27
March 2023
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The Diary of a Madman

by Ron Larson

From a short story by Guy de Maupassant

He was one of France's most distinguished jurists.
He had pursued crime and protected the weak.
The guillotine was used on those who were the worst.
Now he was deceased and eulogized for a week.

Then his diary was found in a desk drawer.
It was from the judge's last year, eighteen-eighty.
When read by the coroner, there was shock and horror.
Here are some excerpts that depict insanity.

"June twenty. I condemned James Blondel to death.
It gave me great pleasure, but not the greatest of all.
The will to kill arose from my first breath.
It can be satisfied only when I'm enthralled.

June thirty. I saw a small child, a real treasure.
Since he was alone near the woods, I strangled him.
The terror in his eyes gave me real pleasure.
It was enhanced when I beheld his grieving kin.

July two. The city is in an uproar about the child.
I told a press man that Madame Guillotine
Is set for the killer, while I repressed a smile.
All of this is to me a beautiful dream.

July four. The stupid police don't have one clue,
So today I'm setting out to look for more prey.
I'm thrilled through every bone, joint, and sinew.
Yes, I'll have a kill today, if I have my way.

July five. What success! I killed a farmer near a river
With his spade while he was washing his hands.
Oh, there is nothing like a bloody murder,
When I've done it without a detailed plan.

July ten. They're still baffled by my first kill,
But they've arrested the nephew of the farmer.
It seems that between them there was much ill-will.
Oh, lovely Grim Reaper, you're a real charmer!

July thirty. Praise good Madame Guillotine!
The nephew lost his head before a huge crowd.
It was quite a festive occasion, quite a scene.
Why, even this sober, staid judge was aroused."

© 2016 Ron Larson

Ron Larson is a retired community college professor, one of whose hobbies is writing poetry of all kinds. The poem above is from his soon to be self-published book, "66 Classic Horror Stories Outlined in Rhyme", which will be available online. Additional horror stories are available in his "Grimm's Complete Fairly Tales Outlined in Rhyme." His website may be found at ronlarsonclassics.com.

Find more by Ron Larson in the Author Index.

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