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When I was in elementary school, the librarian would read the poem “The Ghoul” by Jack Prelutsky to us. We all thought it was shocking, funny, disgusting and I have never forgotten it.

I can’t imagine a K-5 school being allowed to read this to their students today, which is why I’m so glad to have grown up when I did.

The power of the words, the imagery it conjures up in your mind… simply breathtaking. This is the stuff of pure nightmares, yet the execution is both lyrical and humorous in the best tradition.

Strange that no one has attempted to make a film out of this yet…

“The Ghoul” by Jack Prelutsky

“The gruesome ghoul, the grisly ghoul,

without the slightest noise

waits patiently beside the school

to feast on girls and boys.

He lunges fiercely through the air

as they come out to play,

then grabs a couple by the hair

and drags them far away.

He cracks their bones and snaps their backs

and squeezes out their lungs,

he chews their thumbs like candy snacks

and pulls apart their tongues.

He slices their stomachs and bites their hearts

and tears their flesh to shreds,

he swallows their toes like toasted tarts

and gobbles down their heads.

Fingers, elbows, hands and knees

and arms and legs and feet–

he eats them with delight and ease,

for every part’s a treat.

And when the gruesome, grisly ghoul

has nothing left to chew,

he hurries to another school

and waits… perhaps for you.”