David Lewis Paget
The Castle Of Lost In Time - Poem by David Lewis Paget
The Castle that stood in the farmer's field
Was a grey and battered shrine,
As kids we'd clamber the battlements
And imagine a former time,
When Norman soldiers stood at the heights,
Looked down on the Saxon serfs,
Who paid their tax to the Baron there
When the Normans ruled the earth!
And I'd be Baron Fitzwulf up there,
While Craig would be Robin Hood,
Our histories would be twisted there,
We'd mix and match what we could.
A hundred years was a slip of time
To pray for my own soul's sake,
When I was Thomas A'Becket, and
He was Sir Francis Drake.
The walls were battered and falling down
Had been since the Cromwell siege,
When Charles had fled with his standard, said
No longer to be ‘My Liege! '
The cannon had ripped through the southern wall
Had brought the portcullis down,
And the Roundheads, ferried across the moat
Had slain every man they found!
But ivy clung to the stubborn stone,
And climbed right up to the tower,
Where knights once practised their courtly love
Grew the strangest sort of flower,
Its petals red in the morning sun
With a heart of gold within,
‘They'd pluck it up on their lances there, '
Said Craig, ‘for Ann Boleyn! '
Above our heads was a fireplace
Set high in the ancient wall,
The beams long gone where a floor belonged,
There'd once been a stately hall,
Where Dames had danced in their silken gowns
And knights had cast in their lots,
Had drawn up the Magna Carta there
For the shame of John the fox!
But Farmer Giles was a bitter man
And he'd chase us over the brook,
Whenever he showed in the Castle grounds,
No matter what time it took,
He even managed to fence it off
But we'd scale the fence with glee,
And play to our hearts content, with him
Away where he couldn't see!
One night, we carried our sleeping bags
And stole through the darkening night,
I was the Duke of Marlborough
And Craig was Sir Hugh De'Spight,
We made our way through the ruins, found
A nook, we could safely sleep,
‘We'll wait ‘til the morning light, ' I said,
‘Then we'll play the Lord of the Keep! '
We woke as the Moon beamed overhead
Peeked out through a glowering cloud,
I could hear the strains of a harpsichord
The murmured sounds of a crowd,
A man that looked like a villainous lord
Appeared, not saying a word,
We scrambled out of our sleeping bags
As he drew out a wicked sword!
Then Craig took off with a yell, and I
Flew over the slated floor,
We jumped down into a passageway
That hadn't been there before,
The walls were damp with an evil stain
And brands that flickered the way,
Along to the castle dungeons, filled
With chains, and a smell - Decay!
And there in a tiny cell we saw,
Most rivetting sight of all,
The skull of a grinning skeleton,
Chained fast to the dungeon wall,
The bones were covered in cobwebs
But he'd scrawled in dust on the floor,
‘Pray God to smite all mine enemies,
The Devil will take them all! '
We heard the clanking of chains along
The darkened passageway,
And like a shroud in a shimmering cloud
Was a soldier, dressed in grey,
His stare was that of a madman, crazed
The fires of hell in his eyes,
As he seized the haft of a burning brand
He looked like the Farmer, Giles!
I ran clean through the spectre, thought
That Craig was coming behind,
Cleared the end of the tunnel, leapt
Back up in a single bound,
I didn't stop for a backward glance
I ran with a sense of doom,
Away from the Castle of Lost in Time
To the safety of my room.
I never saw Craig, my friend again,
They scoured the countryside,
Ravaged the ancient Castle grounds,
Questioned me ‘til I cried!
They found him dead in the dungeon
Chained, and lying against the wall,
A piece of flint in a bloodied hand
That had scraped in a childish scrawl:
‘May the Devil smite him, through and through,
Mine enemy, Sir Giles FitzHugh! '
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