The Perils of Laughing in Church

by Thomas Vaughan Jones
(Liverpool UK)

The Parson read his sermon to the folk he thought had sinned;
Some listened - sadly others nodded off.
He stood prepared for snoring or the sound of breaking wind,
or the stifling of a surreptitious cough.

But he almost lost his diction when somebody made a gaffe
which caused his brow to bead with consternation.
He could scarce believe his ears, for he'd heard a hearty laugh
from a member of his solemn congregation.

The pulpit shook and trembled to the Heavens' thunderous roar.
Forked lightning flashed around the old church bell.
There came a fiendish hammering upon the old oak door,
and from the earth a most malodorous smell.

Beelzebub came bursting in and rolled himself a smoke
from pages of an ancient Holy Psalter.
Then to the consternation of the watching parish folk,
unzipped himself and peed upon the altar.

A hundred grinning gargoyles danced a dance of dark desire,
then set upon an unsuspecting hassock;
They ripped it into pieces, which they promptly set on fire
then shoved them up the poor old parson’s cassock.

The choirboys cried and whimpered in a state of mortal fright;
Parishioners were paralysed with fear,
The eagle on the altar spread its wings and took to flight,
Madonna graced a solitary tear.

That drop of holy water stopped the Devil’s dread intent;
The Daemon and his henchmen fled away,
But he laid his curse upon the holy house before he went,
and the roof fell into permanent decay.

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