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The Shroud

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  • The Shroud

    This is a drastic reworking of a Grimm fairytale of the same name. It has been highly embellished and converting to a rhyming poem! Warning it is long but like all my story poems I feel is is worth the time! I hope you like it. I included a built-in explanatory preface the credits the original Grimm's fairytale so I don't have to keep explaining the the story is not completely original! Lol!

    THE SHROUD
    Well ----- here's another story
    It's been around ---- a long, long time
    The story was re-imagined
    then retold as a rhyme

    I made the story into a poem
    one that makes me very proud
    It's about a boy ---- and his elderly mother
    And something ----- called a shroud

    Now --- a shroud is a type of cloth
    that is used to wrap the dead
    This shroud's more like a blanket
    so it doesn't wrap around the head

    This story is kind of rare
    so the chances you've read it are slim
    It was published many years ago
    by the Brothers Grimm

    The rhyming words on the page are mine
    but the story ---- of course is not
    The original story was rather short
    so I had to improve the plot

    When I read ---- the original story
    I felt it needed ----- something more
    So, I've added ----- a lot of things
    that weren't ----- there before

    I've added things here
    And I've added things there
    But please read the original
    so you can compare

    Now, that I've given credit
    where credit is due
    I'll tell you the story
    I've rewritten for you:

    Once there was a woman
    who asked God for a son
    She didn't have any children
    No ---- not even one

    All of her neighbors ---- had beautiful children
    Each ---- and every last one
    And the woman ----- would sit by her window
    where she would watch them ---- play and run

    She said "Oh, how I wish I had beautiful children
    Oh, Lord ----- Please, give me one!"
    And the woman was very unhappy
    because children she had none

    Now, the woman was old
    Or so I am told
    She prayed for a boy
    who had hair of gold

    The woman prayed ---- night and day
    She prayed ---- day and night
    Then ---- in through her window
    came a bright ---- beam of light

    The light touched the woman's belly
    in just the right place
    And the woman felt young
    and there was a glow ----- on her face

    "My dear, how I love you,"
    her old husband said
    The man took her hand gently
    and they both went to bed

    Yes, God answered her prayers
    when all her praying was done
    And she gave birth to a boy
    whose hair shone like the sun

    In every corner of town
    the woman's story was told
    It was truly a miracle
    because she was old

    Now, about a week after
    the little baby was born
    The father went to the fields
    to help harvest the corn

    Now while the man was out working
    his face suddenly turned red
    And he was sweating profusely
    from the top of his head

    Then all of a sudden,
    the man clutched his chest
    The old man fell down
    And was soon laid to rest

    But the woman still had
    her little 'Golden Boy'
    And he was her everything
    her pride and joy

    The boy was so beautiful
    with his skin so fair,
    his beautiful blue eyes
    and his golden hair

    The boy was so sweet
    that all the people he'd meet
    would shout their Hello's
    as he walked down the street

    The little boy was very beautiful
    But there's one more thing
    The boy had a beautiful voice
    And Boy, could he sing!

    The boy would sing to his mother
    Sometimes for hours
    He would sing of the meadow
    with its stunning wildflowers

    He would sing of the sky
    And endless oceans of blue
    He would sing of his father
    A man he never knew

    The boy would sing of his mother
    with her silver-white hair
    And whenever he looked over his shoulder
    his loving mother was there

    Whenever the little boy sang
    butterflies and birds ----- would draw near
    And even ---- cute furry creatures
    would stop by to hear

    No matter what the boy sang about
    his old mother smiled
    She considered herself blessed
    to have such a talented child

    When the little boy got older,
    he learned to sing a lot higher
    They even let him join
    the village church choir

    And many times, while he was singing
    the boy would run and play
    And he and his mother
    would often play all day

    But one day when the little boy
    was just seven years old
    he got awfully sick
    with a really bad cold

    His fever was so high
    No one knew what to do
    It wasn't a cold
    It was really the Flu

    It was the same viral strain
    that killed people in Spain
    A virus so deadly
    few victims remain

    The doctor said,
    There was nothing more he could do.
    Few children survive
    the Spanish Flu!

    When the mother heard this
    she began to yell and complain
    Then she started to cry
    as the doctor tried to explain

    And when the mother finally realized
    that her poor son was dying
    she dropped to her knees
    and started screaming and crying

    Well ---- after a short time
    the sweet little boy died
    And Oh ---- how his mother
    just cried and cried

    As they were preparing the boy's body
    his mother wept out loud
    Then they wrapped his little body
    in a beautiful white shroud

    The shroud was so white
    It was whiter than milk
    And when the light touched it
    it would shimmer like silk

    The shroud was like a blanket
    but it was light and thin
    It was a lovely fabric
    they had wrapped him in

    It was a heartbreaking task
    for all those who were there
    and the sound of their weeping
    filled the night air

    The boy's mother's hands trembled
    as the boy's body laid there
    And she placed a wreath of flowers
    in his golden hair

    Then they lifted his little body
    Placed it in a tiny white coffin
    It was a terrible burden
    that no words could sof'en

    Now, in that tiny white coffin
    where the boy's body lied
    they made it nice and comfortable
    and soft inside

    Soft and comfortable
    like a tiny little bed
    They even placed ----- a small pillow
    so he could rest ---- his small head

    Mourners filed past the boy's coffin.
    And although they were weeping,
    they noticed the boy didn't look dead
    He looked like he was sleeping

    When they sealed up the small coffin
    the boy's mother fainted
    She was holding a picture
    he had fingerpainted

    When the mother regained consciousness
    a tall Catholic priest
    said a few kind words
    about the deceased

    But the sweetest words came
    when the boy's mother began to speak
    Two people held her up
    because she felt weak

    She said ------ "My dear sweet Son,
    God has called you away
    And we all will have to answer
    His call one day

    I remember all the silly things
    that you used to say
    And how you kept me laughing
    each and every day

    I never knew
    how much joy you'd bring
    You were the joy of my life
    My Everything

    I remember all the times
    we used to run and play
    And I hope we'll be together
    again some day."

    Then the village church choir
    sang a beautiful hymn
    It was a song the little boy
    had once sung with them

    And ----- as the church choir sang
    the mother thought of her son
    She thought of the meadow
    And other places he'd run

    She thought of his beautiful blue eyes
    his skin ----- soft and fair,
    his wonderful warm smile,
    and his golden hair

    Then all of a sudden
    his mother screamed real loud
    Because she had lost her little son
    whom she had been so proud

    Then the church choir fell silent
    and no one made a sound
    as they lowered the boy's coffin
    deep into the ground.

    And five minutes after
    the church choir sang
    the shiny brass bell
    in the church tower rang

    The bell rang seven times
    one for each year of his life
    And each time the bell rang
    it cut like a knife

    The boy lived only seven years
    from the day of his birth
    The people closed up the boy's grave
    and they filled it with earth

    After they buried the little boy
    in his tiny white coffin
    His mother would go to his grave
    where she would visit him of'en.

    But that's putting it mildly
    She was there ev'ry day
    And many long nights
    there she would stay

    And when she finally went home
    she would hardly sleep
    She would stay up all night
    and continue to weep

    And if she managed somehow
    to get a little sleep
    she would dream of the boy's grave
    And in her dream she would weep

    Her constant weeping
    made a loud sad sound
    And her heavy tears
    would soak deep in the ground

    And because the boy's mother
    cried night and day
    those tears of hers
    would find their way
    Straight through the ground
    like rain will do of'en
    and his mother's tears
    would get into his coffin

    Now, soon after the boy was buried,
    he would appear at night
    at all his favorite places
    and enjoy the moon's light

    The boy would wander around
    his favorite playground
    Then the boy would go down
    to other places in town

    And when the boy's mother would cry,
    the little boy would cry too.
    And ev'ry night
    this is what he would do

    But ev'ry morning at dawn,
    the little boy would be gone
    And this cycle repeated
    on and on

    The boy would appear at night
    and disappear at dawn
    for as long as his mother's weeping
    continued on

    But sadly, the boy's mother
    just could not stop crying
    And she spent all her days
    weeping and sighing

    Then late one night
    as she lay in her bed weeping
    she saw a very bright light
    which kept her from sleeping

    Suddenly, the little boy appeared
    And he stood on her bed
    He was wearing his shroud
    and had his wreath on his head

    He said, "Oh dear mother
    I should be in my grave sleeping
    But I can't do that
    because you're constantly weeping

    I know you're very sad
    that God has called me away
    But I know we will be together
    again some day

    My Dear Sweet Mother
    I know you're very upset
    but every time you cry
    my shroud gets wet!

    Those heavy tears of yours
    which you cry so of'en
    travel deep in the ground
    and get into my coffin

    And it doesn't matter
    where you are
    those tears of yours
    do travel far

    So ---- even if you wept
    in a far away cave
    those tears of yours
    would find my grave

    If my shroud is wet
    I can't sleep down there
    so I go above ground
    to let it dry in the air

    So, Please Dear Mother
    Please stop crying
    Your constant tears
    keep my shroud from drying

    And the sheer loudness of
    your constant weeping
    keeps me and some others
    from our restful sleeping!

    I know you're sad, Mother
    but please do your best
    And then I can finally
    go to sleep and rest."

    And although his mother's heart
    was filled with grief and regret
    she touched the boy's shroud
    and saw it was wet

    The boy's mother promised
    that she would do her best
    to stop crying ---- so her son
    could finally sleep ---- and rest

    The boy said ----- "Mother, I know it is hard
    And I know you'll be trying
    But I'm going to leave you something
    that will help you stop crying."

    The wreath of flowers ---- on his head
    began to glow
    He said ----- "Okay, Mother
    I have to go!"

    But before he disappeared
    he did only this:
    He hovered in the air
    And he gave her a kiss

    The boy's mother felt dizzy
    She could not even stand
    But when she finally got up
    she had a flower in her hand

    A lovely silver-white flower
    that glowed like the moon
    A gift from a son
    who died too soon

    Now, the flower was not
    just some ordinary flower
    The flower possessed
    an extraodinary power

    A power not seen
    in a thousand years
    The power to stop
    a mother's tears

    But still the boy's mother
    just could not stop crying
    which kept the boy's shroud
    from totally drying

    Alas, the flower's power
    was not strong enough
    because a mother's grief
    is awfully tough.

    It takes a lot of power
    to make grief fade away
    And some mothers still grieve
    to this very day

    Now, about a week later
    while she lay in her bed weeping
    The mother saw the same bright light
    that once kept her from sleeping

    Suddenly, the little boy appeared
    And he stood on her bed
    He was wearing his shroud
    And had his wreath on his head

    The wreath was missing a flower;
    The lovely silver-white one
    And the boy's golden hair;
    It shone like the sun

    He said ---- "Mother you promised
    you would do your best
    You said you'd stop crying
    so I could sleep and rest.

    I even left you a flower,
    the lovely silver-white one.
    So, you wouldn't feel sad
    that you've lost a son.

    And that silver-white flower
    had a very special power
    A power not seen ---- in a thousand years
    The power to stop ---- a mother tears."

    The boy's mother scoffed,
    "A power not seen ---- in a thousand years!
    It'll take more than that
    to stop these tears!"

    The boy said ----- "Oh, Mother! Please!
    Please ----- do not stop trying
    I can never rest in my grave
    if you do not stop crying!

    The mother sat
    on the edge of her bed
    She looked down at the floor
    as she softly said,

    "Well ---- I guess, the flower's power
    was not strong enough
    Remember, a mother's grief
    is awfully tough.

    It takes a really strong power
    to make grief go away
    And I'll bet I'll be grieving
    on Judgement Day!"

    And although the little boy
    seemed rather upset
    he let his mother touch his shroud
    It was soaking wet!

    Again ---- the boy's mother promised
    that she would do her best
    to stop crying ---- so her son
    could sleep and rest.

    The boy said ---- "Mother, I know it is hard
    And I know you'll be trying
    But I'm going to leave you something else
    that will help you stop crying."

    Suddenly the boy's shroud
    began to glow
    He said, "Okay Mother
    I have to go!"

    But before ---- he disappeared
    He left her a piece ---- of his shroud
    which gently fell ---- from his body
    like snow ----- from a cloud

    Well ---- there must have been something
    in that small piece of shroud
    Because when his mother cried
    she cried half as loud

    I guess, that little piece of shroud
    added just the right touch
    Because when his mother cried
    she cried half as much

    Now, the little boy ---- would still appear at night
    And he would still wander and such
    But he only appeared
    about half as much

    Now, in case there was something
    you happened to miss
    it wasn't the shroud alone
    that did all this

    It was the power of the shroud
    plus the power of the flower
    Because the two of them together
    had a much stronger power

    The piece of shroud alone
    would not be enough
    Because a mother's grief
    is awfully tough

    That piece of shroud could strengthen
    A power not seen in years
    Because the shroud was soaked
    in Mother's Tears

    Tears that fell on the boy's grave
    And on his mother's bed
    Tears are like Memories
    Like Prayers for the Dead.

    Even though the boy's mother ---- cried half as much
    She was still crying
    Which kept the boy's shroud
    from totally drying!

    Now, about a week later
    the mother was in her bed like before
    Suddenly, she saw tiny footprints
    appear on the floor

    After the footprints appeared
    there was a very bright light
    The woman thought she was dreaming
    because this all happened at night

    Suddenly, the little boy appeared
    and he stood on her bed
    He was wearing his shroud
    and had his wreath on his head

    Again, the wreath was missing a flower
    the lovely silver-white one
    And the boy's golden hair;
    it shone like the sun

    His mother longed to caress him.
    She remembered the hugs ---- and the kissing
    When she looked at the boy's shroud,
    there was a piece missing.

    The boy said ----"Mother, see what happens to my shroud
    when you don't cry
    Look at my shroud!
    it's half-way dry!

    Mother, I'm so glad!
    You did your bes'
    But I think you could cry
    a whole lot less!

    I left you a piece of my shroud
    and that silver-white flower.
    Now, the two of them together
    have a much stronger power!
    A power not seen
    in a thousand years
    The power to stop
    a mother's tears"

    The mother said,----- "But still their power
    is not strong enough
    Remember, a mother's grief
    is awfully tough!

    It takes a really strong power
    to make grief go away
    But at least I grieved
    half as much today."

    The boy's mother sighed
    a long sad sigh
    But when she touched the boy's shroud
    it was halfway dry.

    Again, the boy's mother promised
    that she would do her best
    to stop crying so her son
    could sleep and rest.

    The boy said ----- "Mother, I know it is hard
    And I know you'll be trying
    But I'm going to leave you something else
    that will help you stop crying."

    Suddenly ---- the boy's golden hair
    began to glow
    He said, "Okay mother
    I have to go!"

    But before the boy vanished
    into thin air
    He left her a lock
    of his golden hair

    Yes ----- a glowing lock
    of his golden hair
    Which had the power to destroy
    thoughts of grief and despair

    That lock of golden hair
    nearly doubled the power
    of that little piece of shroud
    and that silver-white flower

    It seemed the boy's mother
    was on the road to success
    Because when the mother cried
    she cried a whole lot less!

    Now, the boy would still appear at night
    And he would still wander around town
    but the number of sightings
    went sharply down.

    Like magic ----- the mother's grief
    began to subside
    And it finally reached a point
    where she seldom cried

    But no matter how hard
    his poor mother was trying
    All of a sudden
    she would find herself crying

    And although his poor mother ----- cried a whole lot less
    She was still crying
    Which kept the boy's shroud
    from totally drying!

    Now, about a week later
    the mother was sleeping one night
    And in through her window
    came a strange ball of light

    The ball started out small
    but then it started to grow
    Suddenly ------ the mother was awakened
    by the ball's bright glow

    Suddenly, the little boy appeared
    and he stood on her bed
    He was wearing his shroud
    and had his wreath on his head

    He said, "Mother I'm so glad
    you seldom cry
    Look my shroud
    is nearly dry!"

    The mother wiped a single tear
    from the corner of her eye
    She touched the boy's shroud
    it was nearly dry

    The boy said ---- "Mother I can not rest in my grave
    if you are still crying
    And I know just how hard
    that you have been trying

    You are seldom seen moaning,
    weeping or sighing
    But just a few of your tears
    can keep my shroud from drying!

    I've given you the silver-white flower
    from the wreath on my head
    And a little piece of my shroud
    the Cloth of the Dead

    And still there was not
    enough power there
    so, I gave you a lock
    of my golden hair

    But still ---- that power
    was not stong enough
    because a mother's grief
    can be awfully tough

    But now ---- I have nothing to give you
    to help you stop crying
    It's all up to you now
    Please do not stop trying!

    You see, whenever you cry, Mother
    I must cry too
    then I wander around town
    with nothing to do

    The sad story I tell you
    is painfully true
    And every night
    this is what I must do

    I must wander all night
    'til the crack of dawn
    for as long as your weeping
    continues on."

    When the boy's mother heard that
    her heart sank to the floor
    All her tears dried up
    and she wept no more

    The little boy's words
    must have struck ----- a strong cord
    Because his mother----- gave her sorrows
    and tears to the Lord

    His mother gave all her sorrows
    into God's keeping
    And He gave her the strength
    that kept her from weeping

    Yes, it takes a really strong power
    to make grief go away
    And God gave her that power
    that very same day

    Suddenly, the mother's face
    began to glow
    The boy said ---- "Okay, mother
    I have to go."

    But before he disappeared
    he gave her a kiss on the cheek
    And said he would return
    the following week

    Now ---- about a week later
    while she lay asleep ----- in her bed
    The mother ---- was awakened
    by a gentle kiss ----- on the head

    Suddenly ----- the little boy appeared
    and he stood on her bed
    He was wearing his shroud
    and had his wreath on his head

    He said ---- "Look, Dear Mother!
    My shroud is all dry!
    So, I've come to say
    one final goodbye

    The boy's mother smilled
    And the boy hugged her twice
    Then the boy gave his mother
    some final advice

    He said, "God gives
    and He takes
    He mends
    and He breaks

    And He never regrets
    any decisions He makes
    Because God never, ever
    makes any mistakes.

    Now, that's the whole truth
    I have no reason to lie"
    Then the boy kissed his mother
    And he said, "Goodbye"

    The mother asked the little boy
    if he could stay a little while
    The boy nodded his head
    And he cracked a sweet smile

    He said " I can stay and play
    until the crack of dawn
    But when the sun comes up
    I must be gone!"

    Then they went outside
    to where they used to play
    And they played all night
    until it was day.

    Now, as the sun slowly came up,
    the boy started fading away
    But before he completely disappeared
    he got a a chance to say:

    "I enjoyed the extra time
    we had to run and play
    And I know we'll see each other
    again some day.

    Keep the flower ---- the piece of shroud,
    and the lock of my hair
    Now, Bye-Bye, Mother
    And Please take care!"

    And with those final words said
    the the little boy was gone
    Just like he said
    at the crack of dawn

    After the little boy disappeared
    His mother went inside
    Her heart was filled
    with joy and pride

    The woman smiled as she slowly
    closed her front door
    The boy was never was seen again
    And he appeared no more

    So, the little boy finally
    fell asleep in his bed
    Deep under the ground
    with the rest of the dead

    Now, many years later,
    the mother herself passed away
    Her home is now a museum
    in Zounkoondray:
    A lovely German village
    whose name is hard to say.
    It's about 50 miles south
    of Half Moon Bay.

    Now, the lock of hair ------ the piece of shroud,
    and the silver-white flower
    They draw huge crowds
    with their mystical power

    Yes ----- all three items
    are there on display
    And if you travel to Germany
    you can see them one day

  • #2
    I was going to publish this piece as a children's picture book that is why it is so long

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