John, the willful skeleton,
escaped from his tomb and away did run.
click, clack, click—
he ran until his joints felt sick.
He wobbled along as the moon rolled down
like an apple of snow beyond the town.
CRASH! John fell
against the wall of a dried-up well
and scattered into the grass. Then day
filled the wood in its whispery way:
a wind poured over the bony brow,
and out from the skull a low sound came—
a note as hollow as poor John’s name.
drifting the breeze,
reached only flowers, stones and trees.
Other than these it touched no one,
and never has yet, under sun after sun.
No matter how fiercely
you listen at dawn,
you can’t hear the moan of Runaway John.
by Joseph Hutchison
from The Heart Inside the Heart