The Castle of Lost in Time

The Castle of Lost in Time

A Poem by David Lewis Paget

The Castle that stood in the farmer’s field

Was a grey and battered shrine,

As kids we’d clamber the battlements

And imagine a former time,

When Norman soldiers stood at the heights,

Looked down on the Saxon serfs,

Who paid their tax to the Baron there

When the Normans ruled the earth!

 

And I’d be Baron Fitzwulf up there,

While Craig would be Robin Hood,

Our histories would be twisted there,

We’d mix and match what we could.

A hundred years was a slip of time

To pray for my own soul’s sake,

When I was Thomas A’Becket, and

He was Sir Francis Drake.

 

The walls were battered and falling down

Had been since the Cromwell siege,

When Charles had fled with his standard, said

No longer to be ‘My Liege!’

The cannon had ripped through the southern wall

Had brought the portcullis down,

And the Roundheads, ferried across the moat

Had slain every man they found!

 

But ivy clung to the stubborn stone,

And climbed right up to the tower,

Where knights once practised their courtly love

Grew the strangest sort of flower,

Its petals red in the morning sun

With a heart of gold within,

‘They’d pluck it up on their lances there,’

Said Craig, ‘for Ann Boleyn!’

 

Above our heads was a fireplace

Set high in the ancient wall,

The beams long gone where a floor belonged,

There’d once been a stately hall,

Where Dames had danced in their silken gowns

And knights had cast in their lots,

Had drawn up the Magna Carta there

For the shame of John the fox!

 

But Farmer Giles was a bitter man

And he’d chase us over the brook,

Whenever he showed in the Castle grounds,

No matter what time it took,

He even managed to fence it off

But we’d scale the fence with glee,

And play to our hearts content, with him

Away where he couldn’t see!

 

One night, we carried our sleeping bags

And stole through the darkening night,

I was the Duke of Marlborough

And Craig was Sir Hugh De’Spight,

We made our way through the ruins, found

A nook, we could safely sleep,

‘We’ll wait ‘til the morning light,’ I said,

‘Then we’ll play the Lord of the Keep!’

 

We woke as the Moon beamed overhead

Peeked out through a glowering cloud,

I could hear the strains of a harpsichord

The murmured sounds of a crowd,

A man that looked like a villainous lord

Appeared, not saying a word,

We scrambled out of our sleeping bags

As he drew out a wicked sword!

 

Then Craig took off with a yell, and I

Flew over the slated floor,

We jumped down into a passageway

That hadn’t been there before,

The walls were damp with an evil stain

And brands that flickered the way,

Along to the castle dungeons, filled

With chains, and a smell - Decay!

 

And there in a tiny cell we saw,

Most rivetting sight of all,

The skull of a grinning skeleton,

Chained fast to the dungeon wall,

The bones were covered in cobwebs

But he’d scrawled in dust on the floor,

‘Pray God to smite all mine enemies,

The Devil will take them all!’

 

We heard the clanking of chains along

The darkened passageway,

And like a shroud in a shimmering cloud

Was a soldier, dressed in grey,

His stare was that of a madman, crazed

The fires of hell in his eyes,

As he seized the haft of a burning brand

He looked like the Farmer, Giles!

 

I ran clean through the spectre, thought

That Craig was coming behind,

Cleared the end of the tunnel, leapt

Back up in a single bound,

I didn’t stop for a backward glance

I ran with a sense of doom,

Away from the Castle of Lost in Time

To the safety of my room.

 

I never saw Craig, my friend again,

They scoured the countryside,

Ravaged the ancient Castle grounds,

Questioned me ‘til I cried!

They found him dead in the dungeon

Chained, and lying against the wall,

A piece of flint in a bloodied hand

That had scraped in a childish scrawl:

 

‘May the Devil smite him, through and through,

Mine enemy, Sir Giles FitzHugh!’

 

David Lewis Paget


© 2012 David Lewis Paget



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Featured Review

Oh, I love it! What a romantic soul you are! The perfect symphony of intellect and emotion- and written in a way that is believable(as children mix and match characters from history). I felt I was there playing amongst the ruins. Another beautiful work, David.

Posted 5 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Of course, Ireland has it's fair share of Norman history, my town especially. Nicknamed 'The Medieval City' Kilkenny set up shop around Butler's castle originally built by Strongbow himself. Small as it is, this town holds many stories from back in that time that my friends and I would reinact on the castle grounds. Summers spent being Alice Kytler or the Duke of Ormond, you name it. Or my favourite, maybe, Oliver Cromwell. I find it funny, how the English note him as a hero whilst in Irish history books he is forever detested.
This was a beautiful piece :)
" To Connacht or to Hell"

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

A gifted poet you'll always be, but your stories breathe life beyond history. Your stories will be read long past when we all are gone. On a stormy night by reader with fears delight...and the guests won’t even put up a fight! Your profound perfection of poetry!

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

You can certainly tell a tale, I give you that. It's hard in these times to come across someone who would write so many stanzas in non-cheesy rhymes and good vocabulary. I think you should get some of your best works together and publish a book. It doesn't matter what others think, when you're this good. Trust me, you are.

Keep writing.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I adored this one.man the history bloody still.And the majesty of the Norman countryside.Such grandiose dreams were lived and died upon. The imaginings of children can surely conjure up a ghost .And then run the castle as if they were the descendants of royalty.It doesn't matter to children whether they own a thing or not.Only if they are king of the hill and the masters of all they got. As always
Tate

Posted 5 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

I enjoyed this one ;) I do love how you have paid reference to familiar characters when telling the story. Once again you tell a tale whilst adhering perfectly to the constraints of rhyme and meter, and you make it look effortless.

Posted 5 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Superbly written, as ever. Perfect narrative, with the opening lines taking me back to my own childhood where we could could play in actual ruins, in the days before health and safety. Simply superb piece.

Posted 5 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Beautiful, beautiful work! So much of the child and the adventure in it---It reminded me of my own adventures--

Posted 5 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

This is a wonderful epic poem. It contains so much colour and history...one hopes that the Farmer Giles will meet a devilish end...

Posted 5 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Marie

5 Years Ago

I got on the ide of "colour" when I was toying with the idea of a book called "Colour My world". Th.. read more
David Lewis Paget

5 Years Ago

I must admit, Marie and Shelley, that I have a 'thing' about correct spelling, and having been educa.. read more
Shelley Holt-Lowrey

5 Years Ago

I agree. American's (I love us but...) tend to shorten anything that isn't deemed useful. I look a.. read more
I love how your verse brings us into a story and spreads the life experiences of such a wise soul.

Posted 5 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Oh, I love it! What a romantic soul you are! The perfect symphony of intellect and emotion- and written in a way that is believable(as children mix and match characters from history). I felt I was there playing amongst the ruins. Another beautiful work, David.

Posted 5 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.


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833 Views
20 Reviews
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Added on August 20, 2012
Last Updated on August 20, 2012
Tags: battlements, Cromwell, moat, Normans

Author

David Lewis Paget
David Lewis Paget

Moonta, South Australia, Australia



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