About the Poem

This is a strangely ambiguous poem. The title translates as Tango of Death and the story is a grizzly tale of a missing boy who dances himself into, or onto, an early grave.


Scary Halloween Poems


Nonsense verse


12 lines

Key Stage



Max Scratchmann

Tango de los Muertos

Deep in the forest at the dead of night,
Oliver is dancing in the campfire light,
Oliver is ten years old, out there with his tent,
In a small suburban house they say, where did he went?

Mum looks in the kitchen, Dad looks in the shed,
But Oliver is gone, clear gone, he isn’t in his bed,
He’s out upon the woodland night, dancing the quadrille,
He’s dancing with the squirrel lords, dressed in orange peel.

Goblin folk are singing songs, owls eat mice on toast,
Oliver can dance all night, he has been heard to boast,
A ghost, a wraith, a thing of dark, flitting past the moon,
Morning light will break the spell, it hints it’s coming soon.

Red sun-fingers stroke the sky, dawn scents clover air,
All the midnight dancing folk begin to have a care,
One by one they flit away, back to sleepy lair,
Till Oliver must dance alone, lonely last one there.

Morning mists caress his cheek, leave it cold as stone,
A statue in his graveyard plot, that stands aloof, alone.

Copyright © Max Scratchmann. All Rights Reserved

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