David Lewis Paget
Black Tide - Poem by David Lewis Paget
I never was one for warnings
Never could see the way ahead,
I always thought that the dawn would bring
Glad tidings to my bed,
The sky lit up and the stars went out
As the sun came up each day,
And so it would for a million years,
Or so I heard them say.
The grass was green and the sky was blue
And the earth a dirty brown,
Nothing was going to change my view
While the earth and the stars went round,
Each day had followed the day before
The months were bundled in years,
And if I wished I could draw them out
Like the coins in a long-loved purse.
Then you walked onto my palette brush,
Were painted into my life,
I'd never seen beauty such as yours
That hadn't been someone's wife,
You said your name was Ophelia
And you took me on for a ride,
While friends had muttered aside to me,
‘Beware of the long Black Tide! '
I couldn't see it, I never could,
To me you were just a dream,
Your star had lit up my neighbourhood
But nothing was what it seemed,
You borrowed money from everyone
With a smile and a ‘thank you, Jack, '
And spent in rivers that rose in flood
But I had to pay it back.
Your smile was a smile for every man
But the women had seen you through,
They caught you out when you held a hand
Beneath a table or two,
The days when you said you'd stayed at home
With a fever, taken a pill,
I swallowed, while you were out to roam,
You said you'd been feeling ill.
Then often I saw your eyes were bright
Though your speech was a little slurred,
I thought you had drunk too much that night,
You'd stop, you gave me your word,
The laughter grew a bit wilder, and
The parties you went to, gay,
I couldn't keep up with that side of you,
I had to work by the day.
I felt that a tide was rising, that
Was colouring everything black,
The world was a sad and grimmer place
As you slowly turned your back,
I'd fret as the conversation died
And you made each lame excuse,
As rumours brought the conclusion that
All that you were was loose.
One night you rode on a Harley, with
Your scarf adrift in the breeze,
On the back of a bike with Charlie
With your skirt up, showing your knees,
You waved and laughed as you passed me by
And clung to the fellow's back,
He took you down to the woodlands there
Along the old farmer's track.
They phoned the news in the morning, I
Was shaken, pale and tense,
For he was impaled on the handlebars
And you on a barbed wire fence,
I knew that you had been lost to me
When you went on that final ride,
And the gorge had risen to choke me like
The surge of a long Black Tide.
My heart is grey and it's leaden, while
The land is riven with drought,
The sky is grey and forbidding, since
The stars in the sky went out,
The days still follow the days before
But there's darkness here inside,
And I ponder more as I walk the shore
On the number of times you lied!
4 February 2013
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