You’ve one foot in the grave, little Clara, little dear;
You have to take great care, be aware, do you hear?
You’re far too young to leave and bereave those who care,
So pinch your nose and slap your cheeks to get some color there.
But mother, I care not for the suns of this world.
My one foot in the grave now has more fun than any girl.
It dances with the black beetles scutting to and fro
And I cannot think of any cause to stay instead of go.
My sweetest chick, your arms grow limp, your eyes sink to pools.
Your skin is thin as paper and you look a fearsome ghoul.
Come back to us, don’t languish there upon your bed!
Don’t wallow any longer or you’ll soon be dead.
Oh mother, all the skeletons, they count my toes!
And it tickles like the greenest grass that ever grows.
What funhouse waits for me beneath the earth and stone?
I want it now; I cannot wait until I’ve grown.
Foolish child! Your whims are sins; you love not those
Who’ve upended all their lives to shape the end you chose.
Your days turn night; your soul takes flight; I hope you see
That you’ve carved yourself a coffin for eternity.
One foot follows fast the first—mother this is far from worst!—
Now my legs, my trunk, my arms, my fingers one through ten.
Only now remains my head, on the pillow on my bed,
But one tug and there it goes! All my guts and hair and toes
With my bones are dancing jolly in the corpse’s den!