David Lewis Paget
The Proposal - Poem by David Lewis Paget
I paced the floor by the tavern door
In the hopes she’d come my way,
She didn’t know that I’d still be there
For I hadn’t said I’d stay,
We’d parted there on a bitter note
On a dark and moonless night,
I’d told her I wouldn’t marry her,
But now, I thought, I might.
I’d filled my head with the pros and cons
And the pros had come up short,
I’d have to steady and settle down
And that was my major thought.
I’d been so free that it seemed to me
I’d be hoist on a single hook,
Why would I trade a library
For the sake of a single book?
But then I began to doubt myself
As her scent came wafting through,
That scent of fire with the name ‘Desire’
That she’d said, ‘I wore for you! ’
I’d pressed my lips to her silken throat
And I’d felt my power surge,
As she lay back and surrendered to
Some overwhelming urge.
Where would I find her likes again,
I paced, and bit at my lip,
We’d courted then since I don’t know when,
She’d said, ‘we’re joined at the hip.’
But then I’d panicked and almost ran
I could see my freedoms gone,
‘If you don’t ask me, there’s them that will! ’
Like a fool I said, ‘So long! ’
I knew that she’d seen Montgomery,
He’d eyed her off at the ball,
And set up a wager, he to me,
He’d be first to see her fall.
She’d left that night in a coach and four
With him riding close behind,
While I’d returned to the tavern then
And drank til my eyes were blind.
I heard he was going to propose that night
And the thought had made me sick,
I’d have to make a decision now
And I’d have to make it quick.
I saddled Sally, the old grey mare
And I whipped her out the yard,
For Cauter Hall was at Risdon Weir
And I’d have to ride it hard.
We caught the coach at the meadow rise
And we passed it on the fly,
They must have seen a demon rider
And horse against the sky,
My cloak flew out as the wind blew up
On the road at Walker’s Flat,
And somewhere there in the cold night air
I lost my only hat.
We skirted the ground at Risdon Weir
And we splashed on through the Ford,
The lights of the mansion grew more clear
As we galloped to Cauter Hall,
Her hooves a-clatter on cobblestones
I leapt from the horse’s back,
And beat on the ancient cedar door
In a frontal, forced attack.
Montgomery stood in the passage there
And he turned to her to shout,
I raced on in with a sense of sin,
With a punch, I laid him out.
Catherine came from an ante-room
And she said, ‘How dare you do…’
But I went down on my knees to her,
‘I’m here for marrying you! ’
She seemed surprised, then her laughing eyes
She tried to hide with a fan,
‘I knew that you’d come around one day
If you saw me play with a man.
I’ll take you dear, but I’ll make it clear
That my guest was never the one,
We never marry our cousins here…’
Then I knew that I’d been done!
14 May 2015
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