David Lewis Paget
Charlie's Room - Poem by David Lewis Paget
It was just on the stroke of midnight,
I was going to go to bed,
But I had to pass by Charlie’s room
So I hung back there, instead,
I could hear the rattle of drums that came
From under his bedroom door,
And then the sound of a French ‘Huzzah! ’
From a Napoleonic war.
I thought, ‘He’s at it again, he’s got
The Frenchies marching east,
He’s going to Borodino, where
He’s got a chance, at least,
He’s leading the French Grand Armée
As Napoleon did before,
But I couldn’t get in to stop him, as
He’d locked his bedroom door.
I shook my head and I went to bed,
There was no point hanging round,
For Charlie, he’d be up all night
‘Til the Armée went to ground,
By dawn he’d have them dragging back
From the Russian ice and snow,
And wouldn’t be fit to go to school
‘Til he’d had a sleep, you know.
He wasn’t a kid like other kids
He wouldn’t play with a phone,
He didn’t get into computer games
But he spent his time alone.
He didn’t make friends so easily
For he never went out to play,
But stuck his head in a history book
And would read and read all day.
They said he must have been gifted in
Some strange, abnormal way,
He used his imagination for
The games he wanted to play,
His mind reached back to another time
Where the personae were dead,
And brought them back for a second chance
On the counterpane of his bed.
I caught a glimpse of the action once
In a crack through his bedroom door,
A galleon moored in a harbour by
An armed Conquistador,
He saw me there and he slammed the door
And he said, ‘Don’t interfere!
I’m trying to raise the English Fleet
And I can’t if you’re standing there! ’
His mother took him to town one day
To see a psychologist,
Who said, ‘He lives in a world of his own,
I think he’s really blessed.
We all grow out of our childish ways
And I think he’ll be the same.’
He thought it was all in Charlie’s head
‘Til the day that ‘Little Boy’ came.
He’d read and read of the second war
For a month until that day,
When I heard the aircraft engines I
Just knew, the ‘Enola Gay’,
I beat and beat upon Charlie’s door,
Broke out in a cold, cold sweat,
But the plane took off, and I grabbed the wife
And we’d still be running yet.
We were out in the road when the roof blew off
With a mighty blast and roar,
And the mushroom cloud was curling up
While we lay, flat out on the floor,
Charlie had gone from our lives for good
With his gift, and his bag of tricks,
Hard to believe that he had the power,
For Charlie was only six!
20 March 2014
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