Who tells on you, when you play alone?

Under the silvered clouds that night,
The willow swept its memory
In trails across the devilled water.

The outgrown-dead of tangled thorns
Grew closer to its solitude,
Crept closer to the devilled water;

Shadows sifted through the mists
Like drifted menaces in white,
Drifting over devilled water,

And yet that lonely lake, so still
It kept its sleepless slumbers: how
It dreamt of much, the devilled water.

A girl once lost her footing near
That shameful willow: and she kissed
The surface of the devilled water.

You would not think, to see its utter
Stillness. It would not whisper to her
Mother: She played alone, by devilled water.

The coldest lips to touch are those
That keep their secrets closely, sleeping
Silent as the devilled water.

This isn’t inspired by any particular gothic poetry. Strangely, it is fundamentally based on a bloody terrifying public safety advert from the 70’s, courtesy of the (correspondingly scarily-named) Central Office of Information. This has regularly been cited in various polls as one of the most haunting adverts ever to have been brought to the public conscience: and you can see why. 


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