Bell, Book, and Candle

by Josh Bishop

“But these dark powers do not rule the universe: they are in rebellion against Providential order; and by bell, book, and candle, literally or symbolically, we can push them down under.”

Russell Kirk

A faceless hood unfolds from Corbett’s crypt,
and clammy fog fast fills the churchyard lawn.
At witching hour, hours before the dawn,
some specter’s skin-crawl claw creeps in to grip
the throat with fingers like a hangman’s rope.
This ancient power manifest tonight
(malice-made-flesh, perverse incarnate wight)
has come to leach your life and, worse, your hope.
Best pray that Tailor John will too soon chime
his cock-crow toll, his solemn, pealing call;
or incantate the Word — some sacred rhyme
breathed out on quivering, unsure lips is all
you’ll need; or light the feeble, flickering shine
of candle flame to drive away the pall.

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