David Lewis Paget
Raising The Demon - Poem by David Lewis Paget
‘There's just one story I've never told
From the dregs of my memory yet,
It happened when I was just a lad
And I needed to forget,
But since I've been in the hospital
The dreams have come again,
Have swirled around on the ceiling here
From the depths of my tortured brain! '
The old man under the coverlet
Knew he was fading fast,
He wouldn't be there on the morrow
After that night, he breathed his last,
I'd always thought him a wicked man
There was evil in his eyes,
But now the light of the truth shone there,
Much to my surprise.
‘We were just a group of army lads
Playing about with sin,
Everything was a joke to us
So we let the evil in,
The guy that we knew as Gorgon was
A Warlock, so he said,
We let him think we believed him, but
Our laughter turned to dread.'
‘The army town was a country town
With a graveyard on the hill,
We'd often go up at midnight, just
To give ourselves a thrill,
We'd sit on graves, sing bawdy songs
In the dark, as black as pitch,
While he'd go skittering round the graves
To call up an evil witch.'
‘We laughed, and thought it a joke, but then
He said, ‘You don't believe?
There's any number of demons here
I keep tucked up my sleeve,
I'll call on the Demon Malphas, you
Will not mistake his form,
He comes as a fluttering raven, makes
You wish you'd never been born.''
‘He stood up there on a graveyard slab
At the height of the midnight hour,
And drew a mystic pentangle with
The stalk of a plastic flower,
He called ‘Mallala al Rishabad'
In a tongue we'd never heard,
We all went suddenly quiet when
We heard the wings of a bird.'
‘The air was filled with a fluttering
But we couldn't see in the dark,
There wasn't a Moon in the sky that night
Nor even a single star,
The Gorgon swallowed and went quite pale
Looked blindly up at the sky,
‘Oh God, I think that I've raised him up, '
He said, with a weird cry.
A headstone stood in the second row,
It must have been eight feet high,
And on the top sat a raven, wings
Stretched out, and an evil eye,
We heard the crack of the mortar, saw
The slab break right in two,
And the Gorgon fell right into the grave,
He disappeared from view! '
‘While up above sat the raven, he
Let out a terrible caw,
A sound like the creaking gates of Hell
As they swallowed the soul before,
The guys, they up and they scattered
Making their way on down the hill,
Their equanimity shattered,
There were groans in the sudden chill.'
‘The Gorgon never came out that night
The army sent up a team,
They dragged his corpse in the morning light
From the grave where he'd last been seen,
A look of horror was on his face
From the time of his deadly fall,
And none of us even had the grace
To go to his funeral.'
The old man struggled to get his breath,
Began to fade from my sight,
The hospital room spun slowly round,
He wouldn't see out the night,
My eyes were playing me tricks, I saw
Perched just above his head,
The shadowed form of a raven that
Cawed once, and he was dead!
5 February 2013
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