poet David Lewis Paget

David Lewis Paget

The Hermit

I well remember the Hermit who
Lived up in the public park,
He never ventured out of his cave
Til the sky and the fields were dark.
He was, ‘…the only Neanderthal
That survived the coming of Man!
Don’t get too near or you’ll rouse his fear
And he’ll chop off both your hands! ’

The cave was deep and mysterious,
It hadn’t been there for long,
The entrance had been uncovered by
The blast of a German bomb,
As kids we’d run in the daylight sun
Right up to the entrance there,
And scream ‘Hello! ’ in a long echo
When the other kids would ‘Dare.’

Then deep within came a rumbling
Like an Ogre, clearing its throat,
In seconds then we were tumbling
And I tore my best blue coat.
Just once we saw him out of the cave
With a beard, down to his waist,
Shaking his fist and grumbling
So we screamed, took off in haste.

The years went by and I asked my Dad,
‘Just who was that Hermit guy?
The one that you used to scare us with
In the public park, near Rye.’
He pursed his lips and his face was grim
‘Aye, that was a tale, my son,
Back in the war, a soldier there
And a bloody great Ack-ack gun! ’

The Germans used to come every night
And the guns would open up,
With searchlights all criss-crossing the sky
We’d get no sleep or sup,
The guns would go, ‘Ack-ack, Ack-ack, ’
Which is how they got their name,
The Home Guard took it in turns to shoot
Each time that the bombers came.’

‘Well Martin Shaw was an older man
And he shot a Heinkel down,
He stood and watched as it burst in flames
Then dived, and hit the ground.
But then a Dornier dropped a bomb
And it hit beside the gun,
It blew a hole in a cave below
Surprising everyone.’

‘The gun fell into the cave below
And so did Martin Shaw,
We said, ‘That’s it, poor Martin’s gone,
We won’t see him no more! ’
But he survived in the cave below
And refused to come on out,
So when they were trying to rescue him
They were looking up the spout.’

‘The first one trying to come in here
Is going to lose his head! ’
Martin screamed at the rescuers,
‘Come in, and you’ll be dead! ’
He fired a couple of Ack-ack shells
To underline his case,
So they all backed off, and went to tea
And left the gun in place.’

‘The years went by and he stayed in there
Long after the war was done,
They knew that he didn’t have any more
Shells, for the Ack-ack gun,
So he’d only walk abroad at night
Catch rabbits and steal his veg,
They said he suffered from shell-shock
And was pretty near to the edge.’

My father had almost had me there
‘Til I saw his sneaky grin,
‘You’ve had me on again, ’ I said,
‘You really suckered me in! ’
He laughed, ‘I haven’t the faintest who
He was, but just a loon,
But there, that’s something to tell your kids
On a Sunday afternoon.’

8 March 2014

Topic(s) of this poem: humor

Poem Submitted: Saturday, March 8, 2014
Poem Edited: Tuesday, March 11, 2014

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