Aphelion Issue 245, Volume 23
November 2019
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The Adventure Of A German Student

Adapted from a story by Washington Irving

by Ron Larson

On a warm, stormy night in the tempestuous time
Of the French Revolution, a moody young German
Was returning to his room with much on his mind—
A mind that was quite into dreadful speculation.

He’d long been given to harboring unhealthy thoughts,
And his friends, seeing this melancholy malady,
Urged him to travel for a while; so this advice brought
The German student to Paris, a city of gaieties.

But, alas, after he arrived, the guillotine
Was falling constantly during the Reign Of Terror.
The bloody scenes fostered such terrible dreams
That the student couldn’t flee the sense of horror.

He felt that an evil force was hanging over him
That would soon put a painful end to his existence.
But he also had pleasant dreams of a lovely woman
Who was destined to entrance him with her radiance.

And it happened that night near the guillotine’s site.
She was standing there in the square with rain in her hair.
Her figure was striking, as her black outfit was skin tight.
As they talked, he felt like he was walking on air.

Both thought the world was horrible, but love was the key
To making life bearable and somewhat meaningful.
The girl agreed to go with him to his room that eve.
There they talked till dawn; it was all so wonderful.

When she fell asleep, he left to get breakfast for them.
Returning, he saw that her neck band had been pulled away.
What’s more, her head was on the floor not far from him.
A gendarme: “What’s this? She was guillotined yesterday.”

2017 Ron Larson

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