She lived in a strange old gabled house
But she rarely came outside,
I’d glimpse her up on the balcony
But she’d see me, and she’d hide.
She seemed a nervous, tremulous thing
But I thought she looked so sweet,
Her hair in a long blonde ponytail,
And a dimple in either cheek.
She lived alone with her grandmother
Who was old, and sharp of tongue,
A sort of witch with a constant itch
She had scratched since she was young.
She wouldn’t allow young callers, who
Attracted to Abigail,
Would try to court but were overwrought
By her, till their efforts failed.
The two who had breached her sanctuary
Who had forced their way inside,
Had only stayed but a single day
Then emerged, and had later died.
It seemed that a curse lay on that house
There was something in the air,
A sense of sin that had lain within
Caught up in the word, ‘despair’.
The more that I glimpsed of Abigail,
The more that my heart would leap,
I’d stand and stare on the corner there
And I’d sometimes hear her weep.
I’d hear the drone of that dry old crone
As she snapped and snarled at her,
‘A man is a fret that you’ll soon regret,
There’s a thousand more out there.’
I finally braved the woman’s wrath
And beat on their old front door,
I knew she wouldn’t invite me in
But hoped that her mood would thaw.
‘I’m coming to call on Abigail,’
I cried, and I pushed on past,
And racing across the hallway floor
I ran up the stairs, at last.
Abigail stood and smiled at me
With her grandmother aghast,
She took me out to the balcony,
I thought that the dye was cast.
I said that I’d seen her from afar
On the balcony above,
‘I want you to know I’m here to show
That I’ve fallen for you, in love.’
‘And I’ve watched you from above,’ she said,
‘I saw the love in your eyes,
I knew that you would finally come
So it’s not a great surprise.’
At this the crone had mounted the stairs,
I finally saw her smile,
She carried a platter for us to eat,
‘Some sweets, will you stay awhile?’
Abigail tied them up in a cloth
To take when I left that night,
Some cherry whirls, and peppermint twirls
And chunks of Turkish Delight,
She scribbled a note that she placed within
And she’d underlined it twice,
‘Whatever you do, I’m telling you,
Don’t eat the Coconut Ice.’
It seems that the sweets were all home made
In the kitchen under the stair,
‘My grandmother takes great pride in these,
But still, you’d better beware.’
At home I unwrapped them carefully
And I checked the Coconut Ice,
The smell was bitter like almonds so
I took Abigail’s advice.
The chemist confirmed that cyanide
Was part of the recipe,
The police arrested the grandmother
And now Abigail is free.
I wish I could say she stayed with me
But she went with Raymond Bryce,
So there was a lesson learned, you see,
I never touch Coconut Ice.
David Lewis Paget