He didn’t die in the whirlpool by the mill
where he had fallen in after a wild chase
by all the people of the town.
Somehow he clung to an overhanging rock
until the villagers went away.
And when he came out, he was changed forever,
that soft heart of his had hardened
and he really was a monster now.
He was out to pay them back,
to throw the lie of brotherly love
in their white Christian teeth.
Wasn’t his flesh human flesh
even made from the bodies of criminals,
the worst the Baron could find?
But love is not necessarily implicit in human flesh:
Their hatred was now his hatred,
so he set out on his new career
his previous one being the victim,
the good man who suffers.
Now no longer the hunted but the hunter
he was in charge of his destiny
and knew how to be cold and clever,
preserving barely a spark of memory
for the old blind musician
who once took him in and offered brotherhood.
His idea — if his career now had an idea —
was to kill them all,
keep them in terror anyway,
let them feel hunted.
Then perhaps they would look at others
with a little pity and love.
Only a suffering people have any virtue.