David Lewis Paget
The Goblin Under The Stair - Poem by David Lewis Paget
When I was seven, or maybe eight
My father left when my mother died,
He said he'd take me when he came back,
He said he would, but my father lied!
I went to live in the Bailiwick
Of Nether Dearth, in a Castle there,
And every night as the clock did tick
I heard the Goblin, under the stair.
He'd rasp his nails on the old stone wall
And make the stairs in the passage creak,
And then he'd let out a tiny moan
While I lay trembling under the sheet!
I'd gone to live with a maiden Aunt
Who kept a dwarf as a servant there,
His name was Hob, and he'd say: ‘I can't! '
Whatever we asked; ‘It's just not fair! '
‘It wasn't fair' that he chopped the wood
To feed the fire in the ancient hall,
‘It wasn't fair' that he made the tea
Whenever my Aunt put on her shawl!
‘I'm much too small for the heavy jobs, '
He'd say, and handed the axe to me,
Then wandered down to the orchard, where
He'd sit in the shade of an apple tree.
‘My Aunt said, ‘God, you're a lazy Hob,
Get back to work or you're gone from here! '
He'd pull a face, and he'd try to sob,
But she'd go in, and she'd pack his gear!
One day I mentioned the Goblin there,
He shook all over, his face was white,
‘You lie! There isn't a Goblin here! '
‘I think you're wrong - but I hope you're right! '
‘He comes at night when the moon is dim
And sits right under the castle stair,
Then moans and mutters, he sounds quite grim,
And sometimes shrieks as he claws the air! '
‘I've heard him tearing that tapestry,
The one that hangs in the cobweb room,
The one that no-one's supposed to see,
It's always shuttered, and filled with gloom.'
‘You mean, ' said Hob, and his face collapsed
His eyes bugged out in a fit of fear,
‘The picture sewn on that mouldy rag
Is a portrait of Edward Glastonbury! '
And then he snivelled, and then he cried:
‘That Goblin's coming on after me!
My grandfather was three foot four,
That same, that Edward Glastonbury! '
He waged a war on the Faery Folk
And the Goblins in the neighbourhood,
He rode abroad and he practiced spells,
And chased them all to the Underwood! '
‘I thought they'd all died out by now,
But if you're right, there's one abroad,
I'll have to tackle the stairs tonight
And slay the Goblin, with my sword! '
That night, the muttering started late,
The moon was hidden behind a cloud,
The moaning kept me alert, awake,
But then the shrieks, and the cries were loud!
I ventured out to the passage stair
And there was Hob by the old hall stand,
The Goblin clung to his throat and back
And waved Hob's sword in his other hand!
Then Hob ran shrieking, into the night
With the Goblin stuck to his back for good,
The screams they faded, and then they died,
They seemed to come from the Underwood!
I stayed a couple of years or more,
The mutters and moans were gone for good,
And Hob, wherever he toils and groans
Is down with the Goblins, chopping wood!
14 May 2012
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