David Lewis Paget
The Ragman's Dray - Poem by David Lewis Paget
Nobody knows where the Ragman goes
In the wee, small hours of the morn,
When he’s taken the dray with your rags away
Through the pin-point eye of a storm.
He came to stay while you were away
And your sister gave him your dress,
The one with the dreams and the bright sequins
Sewn in to the lace at the breast.
She said that you wouldn’t be needing it
Since your dreams have faded to dust,
When all those hundreds of bright sequins
Were dimmed, and turning to rust,
But the Ragman knew that he’d capture you
If he made away with your dreams,
And sits unpicking your party dress
With a razor blade at the seams.
Your sister Grace has a second face
That she turns when she’s not near you,
In a zealous, jealous and carping place
That she keeps well hidden from view,
For nobody gives her a second glance
While she schemes and dreams and plots,
To plant your beauty deep in the ground
With a host of forget-me-nots.
Don’t peer too long from the balcony,
Don’t stand too long at the edge,
She’s loosened the rail you lean upon
And thrown the bolt in the hedge,
A sudden rush and a simple push
Will send you a long way down,
While she prepares her look of despair
As they plant you there in the ground.
I’m only a menial footman here
But my love is stamped on my face,
I’m going to track the Ragman down
And bring him back to this place,
I’ve seen his dray by a cottage door
In the forest of chills and frost,
And seen the women he buys and sells
Who wander the forest, lost.
Your sister sips on a nightly draught
As she sits and watches the Moon,
Plotting to see the end of you,
I know that it’s coming soon.
I’ll drop a potion into her drink
And tie her up in a sack,
Then throw her up on the Ragman’s dray,
She’ll never be coming back.
He’ll take her deep in the forest there
To the caves of unshriven souls,
Then put her up on the auction block
And sell her to one of the trolls.
The bolt is back in the balcony rail
And the potion’s in her drink,
The Ragman’s dray is coming today
And your sister’s at the brink!
12 December 2013
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