David Lewis Paget
The Gargoyle - Poem by David Lewis Paget
Back in the tiny town of Hamm
In a province best unknown,
Is an ancient sandstone prison tower
Where the grounds are overgrown.
The locals still in the town are few
Were wary of us at first,
But ventured out when they heard me shout
To tell me the tower was cursed.
‘Don't venture there if you fear despair, '
They said in a foreign tongue,
Then slunk back, each to his rundown lair,
But we were too smart, and young.
‘They're peasants, what would they know, ' said Kym,
‘They're superstitious and fools,
We'll test their funny old tower now.'
We should have played by their rules.
It was built in a grim and Gothic style
But had sadly been run down,
Hundreds of years of standing there
Put a torpor over the town.
The rusty railings, falling apart
Had never been breached by them,
The peasants whispered and looked away
In the manner of Holy men.
We made our way through the bushes, sedge
And weeds that grew in the grounds,
But then up close to the building saw
Some features that astound.
The walls had flying buttresses,
A door with a pointed arch,
And a gargoyle leering from above
Next to soldiers on the march.
We didn't go in the first time there
But wandered around the site,
It was Kym who had the bright idea
We should go and explore by night.
I wish that we'd known its history
For that might have broken its spell,
I wouldn't have sought its mystery,
And Kym would still be well.
We noticed an old Teutonic sign
Engraved, and above the door,
We couldn't translate it at the time
It should have been done before;
Before we entered that cursèd place
And risking our sanity,
For I came out with a twisted face
Though Kym was worse than me.
The moon was casting a yellow glow
As we stood before that door,
Directly under the gargoyle that
Let out a fearful roar,
Then a stream of ectoplasm flowed
From its jaws, and down on Kym,
Covered her in this bluish light
And then, it dragged her in.
I followed, not that I had a choice
I was quite beyond control,
My legs did whatever they wanted to,
I had no choice at all.
Inside was a vaulted ceiling over
An old and blood-stained block,
And Kym was struggling, screaming,
As she was stretched across its top.
She glowed and glowed in this bluish light
Her neck was placed on the block,
And then a shimmering man appeared
I think I went into shock.
He held a shining scimitar sword
And he raised it up to strike,
And still I live that terrible scene,
Each and every night.
I saw it clearly pass right through
The base of Kym's long neck,
And watched as this bluish head fell off
Went rolling along the deck.
But her head was there, was still in place
As I dragged her screaming out,
It was then I noticed my twisted face
That I can do nothing about.
They say that it's called Bell's Palsy, that
I must have suffered a shock,
The right hand side of my face is numb,
My eye and my mouth have dropped,
But Kym just utters the weirdest moans
As if blood was starved from her brain,
Her eyes astare at the horror there
I think she must be insane.
The last I saw of that evil tower
The gargoyle seemed to grin,
As if to say there is hell to pay
For those who might come right in.
And the screed engraved above the door
The letters were filled with lead,
‘You've come to the Tower of Grimm von Gore,
Enter, and lose your head! '
23 January 2015
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