The Time Has Come,
The Hour's Near....!

The poem that follows is my adaptation of an item I read about forty years ago. It was in a book of ‘gags’ written by Robert Orben. He produced dozens of these books in the 1950’s and they were sold in magic shops, world wide. They were and are very good.

At the conclusion of the poem, Orben suggested a comedy ‘follow up’. I will tell you how I use the poem and the funny ending, after you have read the poem.

The Time Has Come, The Hour's Near....!

The time has come, the hour’s near
when all the things that mortals fear
will leave their graves and mummy cases
and brush the mould from off their faces.

All Hallows Eve, the time when all
the ghosts and ghoulish monsters call.
Restless spirits, the un-dead too.
They’re looking for someone, perhaps it’s – YOU!

They all are doomed for eternity.
But once they lived, like you and me.
Did you never think when a hearse goes by,
that one fine day, you’re going to die!

And you’ll be buried in the ground
with other corpses all around.
Then come the worms and they’ll crawl in.
Some of them long and some of them thin.

They’ll enter your mouth, your eyes and ears too
and Oh what a mess they will make of you!
They’ll tear at your flesh and as you get thinner,
for all you are now, you’ll be just a worm’s dinner!

Orben assumed that the poem would be spoken in the theatre and suggested that the lights be dimmed as the poem progressed until the final line would be delivered in total darkness! He then jokingly suggested that a team of people should run from the back of the auditorium down the aisles, crying, “The Worms! The Worms!” and throw handfuls of wet spaghetti over the audience!

He hastily added that this was a joke and shouldn’t be taken seriously unless you were prepared to deal with the dozens of law-suits that would inevitably follow! He was right of course. However, I thought it very funny and wondered how I might be able to actually do it without causing a riot and damage clothing.

The solution resolved itself when I began doing ghost story walks. The circumstances have to be right and when they are, I recite the poem and at the conclusion, I have two or three people primed at the back of the group who throw handfuls of wet string over the crowd!

The best type of string is that which is used to make mop heads. Cut (worm-size) lengths and soak them in very cold water. Wring them as dry as you can, so that no water is actually dripping and keep them cold.

It goes without saying that you use this idea with discretion! Groups of young people find it funny. Older people, less so! The old rule applies: ‘When in doubt, leave it out!’.

Since writing the above, a further thought has occurred to me. I will try it out on the next occasion that I use the poem in public. It is certainly safer and likely to produce just as strong a reaction!:

Here in the UK, it is possible to buy 'gruesome' sweets (candy). I suspect that they are available in other countries too. Why not have a paper bag full of candy 'worms' and then at the end of the poem, grab a handful, wave them in the air, cackling and shouting, "The Worms! The Worms!". Make as though to throw them at the spectators, then as an after-thought, stuff them in your mouth! and eat them!!

Bon appetite!

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