When in the latest hours of night,
I had awakened, broiled in fright.
I saw it at the foot of the bed,
The tiny thing without head.
Its talons were small as a baby hawk's;
I could not move, but only gawk
At the tiny thing, with eight small hands
Attached to it by arm-like bands.
Its little bones and four small wings
Were miniscule, decrepit things.
No head it had—no skull I saw;
No eyes, no mouth, no nose at all.
It lithely lingers in the gloom
From which the fruits of nightmares bloom.
And that foul, fumbling freak of fright
Has stalked my slumber every night.
When darkness holds me in its arms
And bugs of sleep around me swarm,
The vivid visions come around
And bury me in a lovely sound
That gives me warmth and holds me tight
As I struggle through the night.
And so convincingly they seem,
These dreams with light and cheery scenes,
That I, now with a heavy hand,
Cannot with certainty withstand
The onslaught of most mundane sights
That lurk within the brightest lights.
At last I languidly arise
To see the sun within the skies.
The morning comes and darkness ends;
And in my mind the dream descends,
And in the brutal, horrid light of day,
I might finally with surety say
That nothing that I saw was real.
Dispelling fear with anxious zeal.
And morning comes, the being gone,
The sun ascends in the golden dawn.
But in a corner of the room,
Obscured by the early morning gloom,
That foul dream-stalker, moving not,
Sat with its legs in a lowly squat.