David Lewis Paget
The Visitant - Poem by David Lewis Paget
‘Since ever we came to this grey old house
You've been muttering under your breath,
When I come running you always stop,
You're as pale and as grey as death;
You stand, arms crossed, with your back to me
And you stare from the attic windows,
Looking on down at the cemetery
And the cairn by the ancient crossroads.'
‘You shouldn't have listened to Picketty Kate
With her stories to frighten your soul,
You know that she wanted us out of this house
As the drink, and her brother told,
I've seen no proof there was ever a man
That she knew as Mordecai Vart,
No proof that he's buried under that cairn
With a stake through his wicked heart.'
She shivered and shook in the morning chill
And her eyes had glittered with hate,
‘She said that this house was a vampire's nest,
With blood running under the grate.'
I shook my head and I went to speak
But Drusilla ran into the hall,
‘There's an evil presence in here today,
I'm going to fetch my shawl.'
I'd purchased the place on the merest whim
As the cheapest house in the town,
It stood quite close to the crossroads there
But was set on an acre of ground,
Drusilla had always been fanciful
And she'd listened to Picketty Kate,
The sad old witch of the neighbourhood
Who peddled her reams of hate.
‘She said that there was a gibbet there
Where they hung old Archie Banes,
He'd cut the throat of his mother-in-law
So they hung him there, in chains, '
I said, ‘there's not a skerrick of proof,
Don't listen to what they say,
They'll give you a nervous breakdown, girl
If you keep going on this way! '
That night, the light of the moon went out
So I took a lantern and went,
Down with a pick and a shovel there
To see what the old cairn meant,
A wind blew up and it soughed and sighed
As I bent my back to the task,
Uncovered the thing that lay down there
What it was, you'd better not ask!
The stake was bloodied and rusty, was
A foot or so in the ground,
The ribs were shattered, the corpse down there
Stared up as I stared on down.
I pulled the stake from the tragic form
Then I wondered: ‘What have I done? '
Piled the stones back onto the cairn
With a sickening urge to run.
The sky turned red on the following night
In a fitful, evil glow,
The wood in the eaves was creaking with
The strain of the wind below,
The timber door on the crossroads side
Flew open and leaves blew in,
Drusilla screamed from the top of the stairs:
‘This house is a pit of sin! '
I heard her tumble, I heard her fall
‘Til she lay on the bottom stair,
Her eyes were open, her throat was cut
There was blood flowing everywhere.
Then somewhere deep in the house I heard
In an echo of times gone by,
‘You'll not be rid of me, stake or not,
I'll watch each one of you die! '
They said Drusilla had slashed her throat
With the state of her mind disturbed,
I went along with the verdict then
I felt that my tongue was curbed.
I lock my door as it roams the house
When the Moon is full and high,
I haven't been able to sell the place
But I keep a stake nearby!
9 February 2013
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