David Lewis Paget

(22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)

The Witch & the Windmill


She could make a cow grow sick and die,
She could sicken a healthy pig,
She could poison somebody’s cottage pie
But she couldn’t harm Tom Rigg.
For Tom wasn’t born of woman
He’d been plucked too soon from the womb,
When his mother lay there dying
From a concoction stirred with a broom.

So he’d grown up broad, and tall and strong
With a warlock cast to his eye,
Whatever the spell she tried on him
He would turn on her, ‘Just try! ’
She conjured a flight of vampire bats
To follow him here and there,
But the bats were spurned, and then returned
And they tangled up in her hair.

She would lie in wait by the farmer’s gate
With the graveyard dog in a ditch,
So he’d open the sluice that was not in use,
And soak her, every stitch,
She’d scream, come tumbling after him,
‘You think you’re so fine and big,
I’ll spell that you fall in love with me,
Just see if I don’t, Tom Rigg.’

For deep down under her witch’s pride
Was the beat of a woman’s heart,
And the sight of Tom had sent it, quivering
Shaking itself apart,
But Tom had kept himself to himself
Immune to a woman’s wiles,
Determined to fix the old windmill
On the other side of the stile.

He lived in the ancient tower mill
That he’d bought, picked up for a song,
It hadn’t been used for a hundred years
Since part of the works went wrong,
The sails were seized, poked up at the sky
In a way that said, ‘We’re spent! ’
But Tom believed that he knew just why;
The cog on the shaft was bent.

He cleaned it up and he scraped the rust
And he greased the copper sheath,
He checked it over and sideways, down
And he peered from underneath,
But the shaft was rigid, it wouldn’t turn
He was giving up in despair,
When late one night with a mighty crash
There was something amiss out there.

He peered up under a rising moon
There was something caught in the sail,
All he could see was a besom broom
But then came an awful wail,
The witch was caught in the topmost sail
Where she’d swooped in the night unseen,
And now she was clung to the old wood frame
And all she could do was scream.

There wasn’t a ladder that went so high
So all he could do was stare,
‘Now how do you think I could rescue you,
And how did you get up there? ’
The mill was starting to creak and groan
As the wind came over the hill,
The sails were starting to slowly turn
With the witch stuck firmly still.

The weight of the witch had freed them up
And she shrieked as the sails whirled round,
While Tom was laughing, joyfully, merrily,
Rolling over the ground,
‘I’ll swear you’ve done me a favour, Jane,
I was going to call it quits,
But now, if ever you come back down,
I’m ready to kiss a witch! ’

1 August 2013

Submitted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Edited: Thursday, August 01, 2013

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