I thought that I was the only one
Who had never found a mate,
I’d been so busy with other things
That I’d left it up to fate,
Then I was suddenly fortyish
When I started looking round,
But other people had caught the fish
That were swimming in our town.
The single ones were too young for me,
Their glances all were cold,
Whenever I’d proposition one
They’d say, ‘You’re much too old.’
And fate had seemingly passed me by
For my early diffidence,
It said, ‘you couldn’t be bothered,
Now there is no recompense.’
Though most unkind I became resigned
To my lonely single state,
I thought that whether I lived forever
I’d never get a date,
I’d wander aimlessly round the square
Of my village, Gretchley Green,
And sit alone on the benches there
To watch the passing scene.
I thought I knew every woman there
As they passed, or pushed a pram,
And some went by with their only guy
Or would not know who I am.
But then one day just a yard away
Passed a woman dressed in black,
Her face was covered in net, but then
She turned, was heading back.
She came and sat on the bench by me
And said that her feet were sore,
She’d had to walk from the town hall clock
On some yet unmentioned chore.
I said I’d carry her bag for her
And would see her safely home,
But then I spied her sparkling eyes
As the net on her face was blown.
She didn’t look very miserable
For a widow, dressed in black,
But said she’d had a terrible loss,
He’d died of a heart attack.
Though we’d just met, she removed the net
And I saw her dimpled cheeks,
Her hair in clips and her full, red lips
That would haunt my mind for weeks.
She started passing me every day
As I lazed in the village square,
And often sat on the bench with me,
‘I thought that I saw you there.’
We’d talk of the trivialities
That you find in village life,
I said that it must be strange for her
As a widow, and not a wife.
I think I must have embarrassed her
So I let the subject drop,
She said she had a confession, but
I told her then to stop.
I wouldn’t pry in her private life
Or her deep felt hurt or grief,
She must have loved her departed one,
So I felt like a furtive thief.
She ceased to cover her hair or face
But she still remained in black,
Though wearing more of a jump suit now
Designed for field or track.
It showed her marvellous figure off
And my heart stuck in my throat,
I said if only I’d met her first,
And she said, ‘you surely joke.’
It took me weeks to confess my love
When she turned to me, and kissed,
She said, ‘I prayed to the lord above,
Now I’m really feeling blessed.
It’s hard for me to approach a man
So I had to work a ruse,
I hope that you will forgive my plan…’
But she left me all confused.
‘I’d watched from off in the distance
And I really fancied you,
I couldn’t come, for it isn’t done,
I didn’t know what to do.
I’m not a widow at all, you know,
I’ll have to make it plain,
The one I lost to a heart attack
Was just my pet Great Dane.’
David Lewis Paget
We had lain back in the meadow
Looking up to see the stars,
They were clustered all together
We were trying to find ours,
For we each had picked a single star
Up in the sky so high,
Then I rolled around to face you
And I found your naked thigh.
They were not among the brightest stars
Up in the sky that night,
But they shone on down upon us
With a pale and pinkish light,
And I wondered why the astral ray
Was pink, and nothing less,
When I realised, reflected was
The tint of naked flesh.
For your dress, it lay unbuttoned,
Was flung open, side to side,
There was nothing left uncovered,
Not your body, nor your pride,
You had never let me see your
Secret places there before,
But you whispered, ‘take me gently,
You may enter at the core.’
Now there wasn’t but a single inch
Of you but gave me bliss,
Not an inch of pulsing womanhood
I felt I couldn't kiss,
From your ankles to your calves and up
Along each silky thigh,
To that tiny sacred wilderness
That opened to the sky.
I have tasted balm from heaven
From your ankles to your breast,
For your love is all encompassing
I’d not expected less,
And I thank the lord for giving joy
When stars above us shine,
For giving life to womanhood,
And for his grand design.
David Lewis Paget
I’ve been looking in the mirror
Every day since I was three,
Till a week ago I looked again
And saw it wasn’t me.
For this haggard face with wrinkles
And grey hair that should be black,
Took my place within the mirror,
And it stood there, staring back.
Sure, it registered surprise and seemed
To stare, and be in shock,
And behind me in the mirror stood
Our old grandfather clock,
It was ticking off the moments,
All that I had left of life,
So in case it was an omen, then
I thought I’d call the wife.
‘Can you see that ancient visage
In the glass, Penelope?
It’s supposed to be my image
But I think it isn’t me,’
And Penelope had stood and stared
Then shook her greying hair,
‘Yes, that scar was on your left cheek, dear,
But now it isn’t there.’
I was staring at the visage and
It gave me quite a fright,
For that scar upon my left cheek now
Showed firmly on the right.
And the parting in my hair was not
Just where it used to be,
For most everything was back to front,
So who the hell was he?
‘There’s a demon in the mirror,’
I exclaimed, ‘it has my mole,
And it’s come here from the devil just
To claim my mortal soul,’
So I seized a ball pein hammer and
Attacked the mirror glass,
Till it shattered into tiny shards,
That’s seven years, alas!
We’ve not allowed a mirror in
The house, from then to now,
We won’t invite a demon in,
We’ll keep him out, somehow.
We know we both are ageing, but
We’re not as bad as that,
Penelope will paint her face,
While I just wear a hat.
David Lewis Paget
I’m so heartily sick of writing
As I do most every day,
I’m missing that flash of lightning as
I write my life away.
My friends are dead, or went on ahead
As they left me on the page,
And said, ‘You just fill the details in
While we go off to rage.’
I get no sense of achievement from
A page that’s white and blank,
I have to fill in some alphabet
Of scenes that I once drank,
I search around for a storyline
That no-one wrote before,
It’s like a flea on an elephant,
That’s what I’m looking for.
At least I fashion my characters
The way I’d like them be,
The men so brutally strong, and then
The women willowy,
The latter tend to be acrobats
So supple, every night,
And take up a shape impossible
To fill me with delight.
My ladies all are submissive as
They dribble from my pen,
They ask me what I would like to do
And I reply, ‘but then…’
I flip through the Kama Sutra for
The inspiration lacked,
And have them jumping through hoops to prove
How well each one is stacked.
But still I’m lacking a storyline
To put my people through,
So I look out of my window just
To watch what folk will do,
The world out there is a scary place
When I look down from above,
The only theme that is not obscene
Is the fairytale of love.
So in the end you can party folks
Go out to roar and rage,
I’d rather sit here alone and live
Here on the printed page,
It may not be as exciting as
An extra-marital fling,
But I’m content with the themes I’m lent
Because writing is my thing.
David Lewis Paget
Caroline called from the balcony
To join her and check out the bay,
‘You wouldn’t believe, there’s a barquentine,
You never see them today.’
I looked and I scanned the horizon there
But all I could see was the pier,
There wasn’t a sign of a barquentine
And all the horizon was clear.
‘I can see nothing,’ I told her then,
‘The sea is as calm as a pond,’
‘I’ll give you a hint, just make your eyes squint,
Then look to the pier and beyond.’
And suddenly there was a shadow shape,
That looked like a barquentine,
But out where it lay, it was old and grey,
And something about it obscene.
‘It makes me uneasy,’ I said to her,
‘There’s something transparent and cold,’
‘I think it’s romantic,’ was her reply,
‘It must be two hundred years old.’
It gave me the shivers, I went inside,
As rain pelted in at our door,
Though Caroline wouldn’t come in, but sighed,
And stayed where she’d stood before.
That night I woke up in the early hours
To find she had gone from our bed,
I followed her footsteps down to the pier
And saw her just walking ahead.
But Caroline wasn’t alone out there
She walked with a man I could see,
And holding his hand, she kissed him, and,
Was as transparent as he.
Then back in the cottage I found her there,
All restless, and tumbled in bed,
She suddenly woke, and gasped as she spoke,
‘I’ve had a strange dream in my head.
I’d been making love in that barquentine
To someone that I never knew,
He said we should go, but I told him ‘No’,
And then I came looking for you.'
We got up at dawn as the sun came up,
Walked out to the balcony,
We squinted our eyes, but to our surprise,
All we could see was the sea.
There wasn’t a sign of that barquentine
But only an empty pier,
And Caroline sighed, stood at my side,
‘Some things are much more than queer.’
David Lewis Paget
We lived right up on a grassy bluff
That looked down on the sea,
In a tiny cottage, fit for two,
Just Arabelle and me.
But Arabelle was a wistful wraith
Insubstantial in the flesh,
She hovered around in her ghostlike way
With an air of faint distress.
The surrounding air was turbulent
For it always seemed to blow,
Over the top of the bluff from depths
Down in the cove below,
But Arabelle was restless in
Even the faintest breeze,
Worse when the wind came surging up
And swaying the tops of trees.
‘Why do you let it get to you,
Why are you so forlorn?’
Often I’d say, as Arabelle
Would sit hunched up, at dawn.
‘I can detect a spirit there
That tumbles from out my breath,
That’s where the wind is coming from,
It’s a portent of death.’
Then she’d begin to gasp for air
As if she couldn’t breathe,
I’d say, ‘there’s plenty of air out there,
It rattles around the eaves,’
I’d take her hand and I’d lead her out
Walking along the bluff,
While she took many a gulp of air
Until she had had enough.
She died quite early one Sunday when
The wind had clattered outside,
I found her slumped on the grassy bluff
From watching the rising tide,
But now, there’s only a gentle breeze
Since I’ve been living alone,
I only hear the clattering gale
When visiting her headstone.
David Lewis Paget
They laid her out on a plastic sheet
Where she stared unseeingly,
With nothing to cover her naked form
When they said, ‘Come in and see.’
I thought how she would be mortified
To be naked under their gaze,
But she was laid in the mortuary
For this was her end of days.
That final humiliation is saved
To be served at the end of life,
They saw her just as an empty shell,
But I, as my loving wife.
She still looked stunning, and had the form
That would peak any man’s desire,
But all of life had been ripped and torn
Before she entered the fire.
They’d taken her kidneys, liver too,
And had left some ugly scars,
But her gorgeous breasts, and that little nest
Were left, for they had been ours.
I’d not have shared her with anyone,
We’d sucked at each other’s breath,
But she had signed for her organs, so
I had to share her with death.
I heard the crackle of flames behind
The grim steel plate of the door,
That they would open, and thrust her in
Just like a victim of war,
The horror tales of the holocaust
Came flitting across my brain,
That final test that would scorch the flesh
And all I could feel was pain.
She’s sitting up on the mantlepiece
In an urn of marble and stone,
A red ribbon sash, surrounding her ash,
I couldn’t leave her alone.
I hear her sigh in the early hours
As she did, whenever we sinned,
And wander around our lonely house,
Perhaps, it’s only the wind.
David Lewis Paget