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