Bruce McGuffin: Tick-Tock

Mere words are insufficient to depict
The horror of that old grandfather clock.
A cursed machine, it wouldn’t tock, just ticked.
All night long tick-tick-tick but never tock.

A clock that only ticks? To you it seems
An inoffensive, maybe charming, quirk.
It haunted me at night in fevered dreams
As restlessly I lay there in the murk.

Horologists I asked were deeply shocked.
One told me he could fix it double quick.
And after that it wouldn’t tick, just tocked,
All night long tock-tock-tock but never tick.

Half mad, I made a desperate declaration,
"Enough" I said "I'll sell my soul to hell.
Deny myself the promise of salvation
To hear that clock go tick and tock as well!"

Then all at once a cloud of acrid smoke
Appeared before me with a baleful hiss.
Within that cloud a loathsome demon spoke,
An offer from the depths of the abyss.

"Without both ticks and tocks what good's a soul?
So true, I'm deeply moved by your appeal.
The price is low, just sign this smoking scroll.
I like the way you think. We've got a deal!"

A contract made in hell is iron clad.
And yet that dark fiend played an awful trick.
He fixed it, but my clock still drives me mad
As all night long it goes tock-tick tock-tick.