David Lewis Paget
The Magic Pen - Poem by David Lewis Paget
He was nothing if not successful,
Grant Overman with his pen,
Everything that he seemed to write
Was well received back then,
The publishers fought for his stories,
And women swooned at his tales,
The only negative feeling then
Was coming from jealous males.
Was coming from jealous writers,
Who never quite got it right,
Their work returned from the publishers
To give it a ‘second sight.’
‘I don’t see how he can churn them out
So fast, with never a flaw, ’
Said Ernest Benn to his leaky pen
While blotting his tale once more.
‘I think he’s in league with the devil,
He’s scribbled a pact in blood,
Or how could he twist my heartstrings so,
My tears come in a flood.’
His wife had sniffled through seven books
Of the hated Overman,
But never wailed at her husband’s tales,
He’d not yet published one.
‘I have to discover his secret,
There’s something we just don’t know,
If only you can get close to him
To see how his stories flow.
He needs a helper to clean his house,
Apply for the job, and then,
Rummage around what can be found
And watch him, using his pen.’
She used her charm at the interview
And was taken on to sweep,
To wash the dishes and scour the pans
To clean, three days a week,
While Grant would sit in his study there
And sit, bowed over his desk,
Then fall asleep in his padded chair
While he thought of tales burlesque.
Marie came back on the second day
And she said, ‘I think I know,
The thing he’s got and that you have not
That makes his stories flow.
He keeps it locked in a bureau drawer
Till he starts to write, and then,
It dances over the page, I swear,
He slept through chapter ten! ’
‘You say the pen does the writing?
I see, ’ said Ernest Benn,
His eyes aglow, ‘so at last we know,
He has a Magic Pen!
We need to get it away from him
So that I can find success,
The chances of getting caught are slim
If we do this with finesse.’
Marie left open the kitchen door
On an afternoon in June,
While Ernest, unobtrusively
Sneaked in, and hid in the gloom.
Though Grant was falling asleep, his hand
Had begun to race again,
So Ernest battered him from behind
While Marie took hold of the pen.
But Grant sat up, and he tried to rise,
He cried a hollow note,
Marie hung onto the pen, and then
She stabbed him in the throat,
And blood was suddenly everywhere
The desk, the floor, their shoes,
Said Ernest, ‘better get out of here
Before we make the News! ’
After he’d washed and filled the pen
With a nice new brand of ink.
He held it over the paper, said
‘Do I even have to think? ’
The pen began on its sudden scrawl
But was making quite a mess
By writing a line in blood, not ink,
‘I, Ernest Benn, confess! ’
8 March 2015
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