David Lewis Paget
The Cavalier - Poem by David Lewis Paget
He'd wandered into the party through
The French Doors, facing the lake,
Was vague, and missing a bob or two,
Perhaps he'd made a mistake?
Taken a left at the crossroads where
The kids had hidden the sign,
Instead of a right to the Graham's house,
I'd ask him, given the time.
The party was getting out of hand
The punch was spiked with gin,
And vodka and tequila and…
God knows what else was in!
For Jane was down to her underwear
While Pat fell down in a heap,
And Margaret danced on the table while
Her kids were sound asleep.
The clock in the hall struck midnight then
And I was getting tired,
I went on the hunt for Carolyn,
I thought that she'd expired,
But there she was, in the corner with
The stranger in the hat,
A funny thing with a feather in
And fancy dress, at that.
I thought that I'd introduce myself,
I'd not seen him before,
Perhaps he worked at the agency,
I'd ask, she'd know the score,
But Carolyn acted nervous when
I tried to hold her hand,
‘What gentleman is this, I pray? '
He asked of Carolyn.
‘Oh Phil, he's simply a husband, '
She replied, she was sublime,
I note she mentioned ‘a husband' but
No mention that ‘He's mine! '
‘And what are these folk that prate, disport
And act themselves remiss,
Is he from the Long Parliament?
God help him, if he is! '
I knew the punch had been tampered with
But he hadn't been there long,
Maybe he'd savoured something else,
Who knew what he was on!
But Carolyn gave me that funny look
And I edged back into the room,
Leaving the two of them talking there
In the corner, in the gloom.
We'd always had an arrangement, she
Had friends, and I had mine,
We never questioned each other, and
We found that it worked out fine,
She'd spend a night on the town or so
And fix me up a tray,
While I'd go visiting Annabel
For a tumble in the hay.
We'd purchased the house at Kineton,
When she'd said: ‘It has such charm! '
And I was content to be out there
In the country, near a farm,
They said the place was historic
Dating back to the civil war,
But not ‘til the night of the party
Did I give it a second thought.
By one, the following morning, when
The party was winding down,
I found that Carolyn disappeared
With the stranger to the town,
She sent me a mobile message, ‘Will
You come and get me, Phil?
I'm right in the heart of a skirmish
Down the slope, just by Edgehill! '
I drove to the ancient battlefield
In the dark, on a Moonless night,
But nothing stirred in the field out there
In the beam of the car's headlight,
My phone lit up with another call
And her voice came drifting through,
‘My God, I'm stuck in a battle, Phil,
In 1642! '
She'd taken off with the Cavalier,
I knew what he was by now,
A straggler caught in the folds of time
That had fetched up here, somehow,
And Carolyn faded into the past
As she'd made it more than clear,
I'm the only man with a wife that ran
Away with a Cavalier!
25 August 2012
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