David Lewis Paget

Gold Star - 8,384 Points (22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)

The Barn At Willoughby's Farm - Poem by David Lewis Paget

I have this recurring nightmare where
I'm wandering round a farm,
It's out in the middle of nowhere, just
A milking shed and a barn,
An ancient tractor sits by the house
But the blinds are pulled and drawn,
And it seems that the farmer left this place
Before Jacinth was born.

But ever I see her stand and wave
As she climbed aboard the bus,
Off for a life of adventure, not
Stuck here, like one of us,
She'd always wanted the country life
Away from the city's swell,
The day that she waved goodbye to us
Was my first real glimpse of hell!

‘Once I've settled, I'll write, ' she said,
‘Or else, there's always the phone;
I'll try to ring on a Friday night
When I'll catch you all at home! '
But she didn't ring, and she didn't write
And a month went by so soon,
She'd left in the middle of March, at night,
And then it was almost June!

I called on out to the agency
The office was next to the zoo,
She said they'd found her a pretty farm
That wanted a Jillaroo,
She'd cook and clean for the family,
And then work out on the farm,
Herding the lowing milkers in
To the milking shed by the barn.

The woman flicked through the client file
In a search for Jacinth's name,
She said, ‘That's strange, I've re-arranged
This file, but just the same,
I have no recollection of this
Girl, whatever she's called,
It could be another agency…'
But I thought the woman stalled!

I went to call at the depot where
The buses were parked at night,
I looked up the owner driver that
I'd seen when Jacinth took flight,
‘I don't remember the girl, ' he said,
‘But March was a fair way back,
She probably went to Willoughby's Farm
On the Strzelecki track.'

My heart sank into my boots at that,
I'd heard of that barren track,
There wasn't a working farm out there
Just bush and the bleak outback,
I packed up the old Toyota Ute
With a jerry can or two,
And headed up to the Flinders
As I thought she'd want me to.

They hadn't seen her in Lyndhurst,
What was left of the old ghost town,
I drove on up to Farina where
The buildings were falling down,
Then by the track on a tyre that sat
At the edge, on a pile of sand,
‘Five miles to Willoughby's Farm', the scrawl
Was writ in a shaky hand.

The farm was ruined and derelict,
The milking shed and the barn,
The tractor sat in a pile of rust
By the house of the ancient farm,
The roof had gone, had fallen in
But the barn was still intact,
And covered in dust by the old barn door
Was Jacinth's haversack.

I pushed the door and it opened up
With a creak of ages past,
I thought of the sweat on the farmer's brow
As he turned away, at the last,
But there in the dry, brown dust of the floor
Was a slight but recent mound,
And a shovel leant by the cattle pen
As I fell on my knees, to the ground!

I have this recurring nightmare where
I'm wandering round a farm,
It's out in the middle of nowhere, just
A milking shed and a barn,
And the tears stream in this dreadful dream
To remember the pain and hurt;
With one last look at the haversack,
The shovel bites into the dirt!

15 August,2012

Topic(s) of this poem: horror


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Poem Edited: Sunday, August 24, 2014


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