Ambrose Bierce

(24 June 1842 - 26 December 1913 / Horse Cave Creek, Ohio)

Charles And Peter - Poem by Ambrose Bierce

Ere Gabriel's note to silence died
All graves of men were gaping wide.

Then Charles A. Dana, of 'The Sun,'
Rose slowly from the deepest one.

'The dead in Christ rise first, 't is writ,'
Quoth he-'ick, bick, ban, doe,-I'm It!'

(His headstone, footstone, counted slow,
Were 'ick' and 'bick,' he 'ban' and 'doe':

Of beating Nick the subtle art
Was part of his immortal part.)

Then straight to Heaven he took his flight,
Arriving at the Gates of Light.

There Warden Peter, in the throes
Of sleep, lay roaring in the nose.

'Get up, you sluggard!' Dana cried
'I've an engagement there inside.'

The Saint arose and scratched his head.
'I recollect your face,' he said.

'(And, pardon me, 't is rather hard),
But--' Dana handed him a card.

'Ah, yes, I now remember-bless
My soul, how dull I am I-yes, yes,

'We've nothing better here than bliss.
Walk in. But I must tell you this:

'We've rest and comfort, though, and peace.'
'H'm-puddles,' Dana said, 'for geese.

'Have you in Heaven no Hell?' 'Why, no,'
Said Peter, 'nor, in truth, below.

''T is not included in our scheme-
'T is but a preacher's idle dream.'

The great man slowly moved away.
'I'll call,' he said, 'another day.

'On earth I played it, o'er and o'er,
And Heaven without it were a bore.'

'O, stuff!-come in. You'll make,' said Pete,
'A hell where'er you set your feet.'


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, September 27, 2012

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