Charon / Be Careful What You Read / A Bone to Pick

by E. J. Hagadorn

Isle of the Dead, 3rd Version. Arnold Böcklin, 1883. Public Domain.



He lives in death, eternal slave
To river Styx, his boat a grave.
And no reward there is for him;
No happy dance with seraphim,
Nor Hell-tormented, caught and bound,
Though many fates there are beyond.
Whilst watching sand fall in the glass,
His servitude will never pass.
And therefore he will never see
The lands of Purgatory,
Nor Paradise’s azure vault,
Inferno’s punishment of fault.
Straight on into Oblivion
He’ll row his cargo on and on.
And if the choice were his to make
Of where his agony would slake,
I cannot guess which path he’d take,
For aught would be a welcome fix
To rowing on the river Styx.


Be Careful What You Read

One night atop the northern tower,
Where many a contemplative hour
I passed with books of lore,
I came across a dusty tome,
That far had traveled from its home,
Transcribed in days of yore.

The tales therein were of a kind
No mortal now can easy find
When law forbids them all.
So stayed I there another night,
The candle burning down its light,
With stories that enthrall.

But had I known what sort of book
I’d taken on myself to look,
I might have had it burned;
For magic was within that lore,
And Death came closer to my door
With every page I turned.

And when I put it on the shelf,
I saw an image of myself
Reflected in the glass.
One night had come and gone for me,
But while my eyes bewitched had been,
A hundred years had passed.


A Bone To Pick

There was a dead man named Jones,
Who had rotted away to his bones.
Then the gravedigger tried
To burgle him blind,
So he kicked the old man in the stones.



E.J. Hagadorn is an author who once used an animal bone as a letter opener.  His many works of fiction and poetry can be found at, while his adventures in graveyards are documented at

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