Once In A Lifetime
"I know I'm a down and out, wet and freezing cold,
but what do you want from one who feels so old.
Go away, leave me alone, so I can get some sleep
and maybe with luck God will my soul keep.
What do you want? I've got nothing at all for you,
even my aching body is aged and worthless too.
Maybe you're a Samaritan here to do me a good turn?
Oh go away, I'm too old to change or learn."
"What would you say if I could make you well again,
give you a younger body free from pain? "
"Do you think I'm mad or are you completely insane,
who do you think you are to make such a claim? "
"I am not an empty vessel; I only say what I can do,
and I will help you, but you have to help me too.
Ah, I see you're thinking… well, what do you say old man?
No one else can offer this, there's only me that can?
If you turn me down you'll be dead in a very short time;
what've you to lose, why should you decline? "
"And I suppose all you want is my God given soul,
my only possession that's undamaged and whole.
Throughout my entire life, it's been of no use to me,
and yet you want it, in exchange for my misery."
"How did you happen to know it was your soul I desired,
do you believe the stories that I'm by evil inspired?
You people have been grossly misinformed about me,
if I was really evil would I set your pain free,
give you a new life, guaranteed for three more years,
why, such a deal would reduce any man to tears.
Come on old man, before it's too late, what do you say,
are we going to make a deal before you slip away?
Your soul is worthless to you when you're dead and gone,
this is your last chance to live a new life from now on."
"If we can agree to five years instead of three for my soul,
what will happen to me when I've paid my toll?
Will my soul burn forever in that place they call hell,
be tormented and tortured, like I've heard tell? "
You don't want to listen to malicious fairy tales and lies,
which are used to frighten children and the unwise.
As a collector of souls I've been stigmatised by what I do
by the so called honest and religious amongst you.
The truth is hell doesn't really exist, so no one goes there,
and all the other stuff is just a religious scare.
So, with the souls I gather I simply unite them together
so that as soul mates they can remain forever.
"Is it true that we have to have a contract signed in blood,
with everything agreed and understood? "
"This too is superstitious nonsense and it gets under my skin,
but if that's what you want, it's a good way to begin.
"In this modern age a teardropp to seal the contract will do,
and from this day all I promised will be granted to you.
And in four years from now your soul will become mine,
so make the most of your life, and have a good time."
The following four years passed by as though one day
and the payment of a soul is due without delay.
"Hello my friend, you look exceptionally well and healthy,
your four years has not been a waste of time I see."
"I've had an excellent time and I want to thank you a lot,
but is it possible to postpone the contract we've got? "
"How dare you have the audacity to take me as a fool,
do you honestly think I'll break a fundamental rule?
Now listen old man, a deal is a deal and that's a fact,
and its all been signed for in our contract.
Now give me a sealing teardropp from your eye,
and then we can say our last goodbye."
"I'm sorry, it's not medically possible I have dry eyes,
and operations have in vain been tried."
"This is no use to me! I've said it before, a deal is a deal
you'll have to sign it off using blood as the seal! "
"I won't sign in blood, things are different in my life,
I have responsibilities, including a new wife."
"But all these things were made possible because of me,
you owe me your soul and that's how it will be!
Okay, okay… I accept that I cannot have it this day,
but the moment you die you will definitely pay,
and don't go away thinking that you have outwitted me,
your soul will soon be mine, you are not accident free."
Orlando Belo's Other Poems
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Comments about this poem (Once In A Lifetime by Orlando Belo )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(24 January 1572 - 31 March 1631)
Isabella Valancy Crawford
(25 December 1850 – 12 February 1887)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941)
Edward Kofi Louis
(13th October 1961)
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