David Lewis Paget

Gold Star - 9,373 Points (22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)

The Graveyard Stones - Poem by David Lewis Paget

I spend my time in the graveyard of
St. Martin's in the Fields,
Cleaning the moss off the headstones
Just to read what damp reveals,
The local vicar has let them go
And the graveyard's overgrown,
As creepers cover the finer points
Of the lives now dead and gone.

And some of the stones have fallen down,
Some of them on their face,
Showing their stories to the ground
That wouldn't reveal a trace,
I heave and jemmy them back upright
Under the noonday sun,
Then read the inscriptions in the light,
Long hidden from every one.

The work is slow and exhausting but
It gives of its own reward,
They say that it stops the haunting by
The ones that are being ignored,
The graveyard dips down into a dell
And spreads through the willow trees,
With some of the graves so covered up
I get to them on my knees.

And some of them have been there so long
That the tops have fallen in,
Opening up the coffin lids
To the skull's unholy grin,
I sometimes cover the aging bones,
Then I sometimes leave them be,
It all depends if they made amends
Once I know each history.

But one I found in that shaded dell
Made the hairs crawl up my back,
I raised the stone when I was alone
When I should have called for Jack,
For there on the new raised frontage
Was a scene from a dream of hell,
A demon, wearing a flowing cloak
And with sharpened claws as well.

She stared from the stone of granite
Her horns stood out on her head,
Someone had carved her figure there
To give us a sense of dread,
Her teeth were those of a vampire bat
Protruding out of the mud,
And only once I had wiped them off
Could I see the signs of blood.

And then I read the inscription:
‘Here lies the Lady Vamp,
She lured her victims into the woods
Disguised as a willing tramp,
Then once inside she would tear their throats,
It looked like a beast of prey,
So no-one thought to look for her till
She'd given herself away.'

‘A soldier came on her sleeping
While she was covered in blood,
Her victim's throat was in keeping
With a vampire loose in the wood,
He sharpened a stake from a sapling
And stood for a moment, apart,
Then turned in a burst of fury,
Thrusting the stake through her heart.'

The top of her coffin had fallen in
I saw, with the creeper aside,
And there lay the vampire, staring at me
As if from the day that she died,
The stake was thrust in through the ribcage there
She'd helplessly reached with a claw,
And tried to remove, to seek a reprieve
From what she was dying for.

I'm not superstitious, I should be, I know,
And in that there lies my mistake,
I reached through that rotten, coffin lid so
I'd get a good grip on the stake,
I pulled it out swiftly, and gave it a twist,
A foul wind blew in, like a breeze,
And I was aware of a woman who watched,
Stood silently there by the trees.

20 January 2016

Topic(s) of this poem: horror

Form: Ballad

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, January 19, 2016

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