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Square-Dance Macabre

The Earth’s been kind, but there’s much up the sleeves

Of its motley coat of October leaves;

And though our carving of Jack must now suffice

For the messy ritual sacrifice,

Come all to the barn!—we can still have fun

In our bid farewell to the warming sun;

Before autumn turns its final pages

Let’s dance the rave of the Middle Ages.


You’ll find your gal already reeling there

To a swarthy fiddler with fiery hair,

To a caller white as those we bury,

With the good old gang from the cemetery!

For all are called and all must answer—

Apple-cheeked and skeleton dancer:

There’s always a cradle or grave to rob

For a stomping pair in a dance-macabre.


“Now you ladies chain and count your sins,

Never you mind how your partner grins,

He’s deaf to all but the caller and bow

And proud as a peach of his dosido.

To tones of the fiddle his bones will answer,

Swinging his sweet ‘n terrified dancer,

Honoring her with a death’s-head bob.

Left allemande in our dance-macabre.


“Gents sashay home, girls don’t be faint.

He may be dead but a stiff he ain’t.

Pluck the daisy he pushed up for you.

If the dead two-step, the quick can too.

If all must live without the Answer

And all is vain, then be a dancer,

And join our merrily morbid mob

For a dip-‘n-dive in a dance-macabre.


“To the deathwatch tick, to the haunting hoot,

To the tap of the fiddler’s cloven boot,

By glow where witch and werecat hover,

This hoedown’s simply death warm-over!

Now all to the middle let your feet answer

Spinning a star with a skeleton dancer.

Break for home at a shriek of a goblin.

What a splendid night to dance-macabre in!


“Girls, swing your bones.  Now the corner-gal’s bones,

Swing till his ghost in the graveyard moans.

Oh if Ma could see, for goodness sake,

The alarming couples you all make,

As caller and fiddle make your feet answer

Round and round with skeleton dancer.

Now home to honor your partner’s job,

For the moon is high on our dance-macabre,


“And your colder half must bid you leave:

A one-night stand on All-Hallows Eve,

Then back through the corn and under the ground—

It’s sad how we only go twice around.

Twice to the fiddle your feet must answer

Arm in the crook of a skeleton dancer,

First in the flesh then dry as a cob,

To twirl to the end of our dance-macabre.


“Yes, still to the fiddle your feet must answer,

Arm in the crook of a skeleton dancer,

Right promenade with a laugh and a sob.

That’s all for now.  Square-dance macabre!”

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