Thursday, October 8, 2015

Hallow Even by David Lewis Paget

Hallow Even

Jack found the biggest pumpkin
I had ever seen, I swear,
He wheeled it in a barrow from
The local Pumpkin Fair,
‘And what d’you think you’ll do with that?’
His sister said, Colleen,
‘I’ll make a Jack O’Lantern, for
Tonight, it’s Halloween!’

‘I betcha don’t!’ ‘I bet I do!’
They said, in childish chat,
For Jack was two years older so
He gave her tit for tat,
‘I’m gonna dress up like a witch
And put a spell on you,
That thing will end up pumpkin soup
Mixed in my witch’s brew!’

‘I’ll put my clothes on inside out,
Walk backwards round the fire,
My Lantern will bring back the dead,
I’m raising Jim O’Dwyer,
And he will bring the big black sow…’
But that was when she screamed,
His father cuffed him round the head
‘Stop frightening Colleen!’

O’Dwyer still hung in chains back then
Had danced his final jig,
He’d strangled little Annie Penn
Then fed her to his pig.
They hung him at the old crossroads
And staked his wicked heart,
And Colleen shut her eyes up tight
When passing, in the cart.

That night they lit the bonfire and
Then went to trick or treat,
The farmers gave them soul cakes
And their wives some home-made sweets,
But Colleen had complained all night
Had moaned and told them lies,
He said, ‘You wait ‘til we get home,
I’ll raise Widow Tresize!’

Tresize had been their schoolmarm
And had caned them as she taught,
Colleen had felt it on her legs
When she and Jack had fought,
The widow ended coughing blood
All over Colleen’s dress,
And Colleen screamed as she collapsed,
‘Look what you’ve done - Bad cess!’

She’d always been a spiteful child
And Jack would sit and brood,
Each time his father punished him
For being rough, or crude,
He’d sit up lonely in his room
And tear her dolls apart,
Imagining no sister as
He stuck pins in her heart.

The Lantern sat in pride of place
Out by the great bonfire,
Its evil eyes glowed in the dark,
Its mouth, a dreadful leer,
But Colleen threw a tantrum
Said the face made her feel sick,
She set about it with her broom
And poked it, with a stick.

The pumpkin smashed, in pieces lay
Jack sat with wounded pride, 
He took her witches broom and flung it
In the fire, outside,
Another cuff around the head
His anger turned to hate,
And Colleen sniggered just once more
And sealed her morbid fate.

The barrel in the kitchen floated
Apples by the score,
The dunking was the one good thing
That Jack was waiting for,
When Colleen dunked and dunked again
Jack stood behind, and frowned,
Then called out to his father, ‘Da!
I think Colleen has drowned!’

David Lewis Paget
Copyright 2012

David Lewis Paget is an Australian Poet, born in the UK but migrated to Australia in 1958. Writing since 1966, predominantly introspective poetry until 2005, then launched into Narrative and Gothic verse. Paget taught English to college students at the Wenzhou Medical College in 2005-6, from which came his Chinese collection. He lives in a Cornish cottage on the Yorke Peninsula, South Australia, retired, but still writing and publishing poetry. A prolific writer whose work has been called addictive by many readers.

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