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