by Murray Ewing
New neighbours in the flat below.
Young. Happy. In love. You know.
Kiss each morning as they go to work.
Bit more than that each night in the dark.
I can hear it all. These flats, see, they’re nothing
But thin-walled boxes. Though, after a while there’s something
That bothers me a bit.
The girl, a cheery chit,
Comes home in the afternoons, every day,
Opens the windows all the way,
Puts on some — I can only call it rather odd music
Wears something little more than basic
Flits about like that, waving a — well,
If I called it a wand, she’d be casting a spell.
Housework, though, surely.
But one day I’m poorly
And the couple call, together. Ask if I’m all right.
Say they’ve been hearing me coughing in the night.
(I don’t say what I’ve been hearing.)
Ask if they can do anything.
We get to talking, as you do.
Turns out they belong to the Church of Cthulhu.
Never heard of it myself
But they’ve got a whole shelf
Of books they can lend me.
Girl makes us all a cup of tea. Very friendly.
Start to tell me about their beliefs.
Show me a photo of this bas-relief,
As they call it. That’s Cthulhu, they say.
Lives undersea in a place called R’lyeh.
They tell me that when the stars are “right”
Cthulhu will wake, and rid the world of the blight
Of the human race. We’re all insects to him.
I say, it’s rather a dim
View of the future. They both smile and nod.
Totally infatuated with their funny little god.
They say life is completely and utterly without purpose
And all human striving is entirely meaningless.
I have to admit I feel a certain dismay.
But you seem so happy, I say.
So young. So full of life. And above
All, so deeply in love.
They shrug and smile and say it’s just a delusion.
They can’t help being caught in the human illusion.
They’re only living life as animals do.
(We’re all animals, as well as insects, to Great Cthulhu.)
But you’re so kind, I say. You made me some tea.
It’s just something to do (they say) till the sea
Opens and dread R’lyeh rises from the deep.
“And then how are love or kindness going to keep
“Us from the clutch of Great Cthulhu?
“Once he awakes, there’s nowhere to run to.”
But, I say, he’ll save his worshippers, I suppose?
No, not at all. He’s not one of those
Gods that bargain, or promise, or demand.
He’s simply going to eliminate all of mankind.
Smiling, the girl collects the cups
And gets started on the washing up.
I say, It’s not going to happen tomorrow morning?
But apparently it could be anytime, without warning.
They’ll call again, they promise, the next day.
If there is one, I say.
If there is one, they cheerily repeat,
All smiling brightly and dressed so neat.
It’s late, so I watch the News at Ten.
And hear them, in the flat below, at it again.