David Lewis Paget

Gold Star - 9,373 Points (22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)

Marooned - (A Dual Ending) - Poem by David Lewis Paget

There was mist up high on the mountain
There were bones along the shore,
And a line of caves that met the waves
Around that evil tor,
There were screeches in the forest
But they weren’t from parakeets,
And the heavy sound of breathing
Late at night, and from the deeps.

While the waters round this island
Seemed to mutter from the reef,
When the tide would urge them forward
They would pile and then retreat,
It was if it was forbidden
For the waves to beat the shore
As an ancient Atavism
Gave out its primal roar.

So we camped out there on the beaches
Within sight of Hartley’s wreck,
That the reef had torn a hole in,
There was water to the deck,
It sat forlorn on a sandbar
Within reach, when the tide was low,
We hadn’t a plank so the vessel sank
And we had nowhere to go.

We lived on fish that we netted,
We traced out ‘Help’ on the sand,
We hoped that a plane from overhead
Would rescue our little band,
There was John who was the bosun,
There was Jane who cooked and chored,
Myself for the navigation,
And Hartley, that made four.

But seven others were lost at sea
Were afloat beyond the reef,
The tiger sharks had left their marks
With their cruel razor teeth,
So we kept a silent vigil
With the single flare we had,
And hoped that Keith would bring relief
In the merchant ‘Iron Clad’.

(for alternative ending, jump to *)

‘We need to go in the forest, ’
Said Jane in a bleak despair,
‘We need to find what fruit and berries
Might just be growing there.’
So John went off with a bucket
As the sun began to rise,
But soon was back, he had been attacked
And was missing both his eyes.

‘A thing rose up in the forest,
It had no shape or form,
It just looked black but it still attacked
And I felt my face was torn,
It had a gutteral growl as old
As the earth that formed this place,
A sense of aeons before the storm
That created the human race.’

He died that night with a whimper,
With everyone else asleep,
I began to shake as this evil shape
Was taking him up the beach,
It dragged him into the forest,
Food for its larder there,
And I so scared and unprepared
That I fired our only flare.

It lit the heavens above us,
It lit up the sand, and then
It lit the trees in the forest
And the bones of other men,
When Hartley woke with a curse and spoke
The most welcoming words he had,
As Jane got up from her sleep, he cried,
‘By God, there’s the ‘Iron Clad! ’

(Alternate ending from *)

When Hartley woke in the morning
We saw he had gone quite mad,
For John lay dead with a bleeding head
And a wound where he’d been stabbed,
While Jane took off and ran up the beach
To shelter in one of the caves,
And I was forced to listen to him
Engaged in one of his raves.

He was blaming John for wrecking the ship
And blaming me for the tack,
‘You were the Navigator, Jim,
So what do you say to that? ’
I said that the fog was thick and deep
When we drove up onto the reef,
‘And you should have been up on the deck
Not down in a drunken sleep! ’

He went for me with the rusty blade
He’d used already on John,
But I was younger and far too quick
As he came stumbling on,
I wrestled him to the ground and found
The knife had entered his side,
Then belching blood on the sand he cursed,
Lay on the beach, and died.

When I went to look for Jane I heard
A single scream in the cave,
Where a giant octopus held her,
I was just too late to save,
It’s tentacles were ten feet long
And were wrapped around her frame,
Though I slashed and cut off three of them
She was dead before I came.

So I wandered back to the lonely beach,
The only one alive,
My heart so low at this latest show
That I thought of suicide,
But then out there in my bleak despair
I fired the flare we had,
And there, beyond the reef I saw
The shape of the ‘Iron Clad’.

8 March 2015

Topic(s) of this poem: horror

Form: Ballad

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, March 8, 2015

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