The Landau

The Landau

A Poem by David Lewis Paget

The winter fogs roll in from the Thames

While frost forms up on the eaves,

The damp will settle in aching bones,

While the trees are bereft of leaves;

The streets were stark in the old East End

A footfall echoed and died,

And nights when the homes were shuttered in

They listened to wheels outside.

 

A Landau, black as the devil’s sin

And drawn by a single horse,

Rolled slowly up to The Black Dog Inn

By the side of the watercourse,

When out there came from the bawdy house

In black from her head to tail,

A dollymop with a nosegay,

Wearing a bonnet, black, with a veil.

 

She’d climb up into the Landau while

The coachman, clad in a cloak,

Would give one flick with the reins,

And pull on the bit ‘til the horse had choked,

He’d take them off with a clatter

Wheels a-rattle on cobblestones,

His eyes agleam like a demon

While he whipped the horse to the bone.

 

The horse’s hooves on the cobbles

Warned ahead through the fog and mist,

As people cowered in doorways

Shouted a curse as the Landau passed,

They followed the glow of the gaslamps

Shedding their weak and feeble light,

And raced by the mighty river

Into the dark of the endless night.

 

They came to a halt at Wapping

Down where the river cast its spawn,

The bodies of dead and drowned who’d

Cursed their mothers for being born,

And hung on poles at the river’s edge

Was another terrible sight,

The bodies of sailor mutineers

That swung in their chains at night.

 

Hung on the Tyburn gallows

Then cut down and shackled again,

The bodies were coated with tallow

For a post mortem hanging in chain,

They’d bind them up with a winding cloth

Then coat them again in tar,

Hang them in chains at the riverside

‘Til their dust blew near and far.

 

The woman climbed out of the Landau

Took one look, and fell to her knees,

Her lover hung gently swaying,

Swaying in time to the river breeze,

His eyes stared out from the candle wax

And his mouth was shaped in an ‘Oh!’

He seemed to be saying, ‘Goodbye, my love;

What a terrible way to go!’

 

She wept like a woman demented,

Seized his legs, and pulled to her breast,

Clung to his swinging figure

Moaned like a creature, quite obsessed,

She tried transferring her warmth to him

But his cold was the cold of death,

And his eyes stared straight ahead of him

No thoughts, no love, no breath!

 

She climbed back into the Landau

As the coachman whipped it away,

And often at night they hear it go,

Those folks down Wapping way,

They say it spattered a stream of blood

On the road as it raced on by,

From the dollymop who’d slashed her throat

And lay in the coach to die.

 

And when there’s a mighty river fog

In the winter, down by the Thames,

They sit in the Inn they call Black Dog

And they drink to the health of friends,

They drink to the ones who’ve gone before

As they hear the wheels outside,

And hold their breath at the emptiness

As the door is opened wide!

 

David Lewis Paget


© 2012 David Lewis Paget



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Featured Review

Dave this one is the best .I loved it The wording the cadence it sings like the sorrow it entails.What a tale! This is another in line with the carousel and Lightning Jack it is the type of story i have come to expect and herald as only from you.I could read anything of yours and immediately know it was from you.But this is at the top with the previously mentioned and the great eastern . Absolute immortality will be yours with the likes of this congratulations ten stars and a snap for this!!! I will send immediately out to all.

Posted 4 Years Ago


3 of 3 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

You are a truly gifted man


Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

deep and magical, poetry simply in it's best form

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

My jaw set at the sound of the Landau wheels on the cobblestones. A graphic, visceral haunt. This dripped from beginning to end with your macabre style. I agree with Tate. I think I'll just stay in the pub and have another pint.

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I love the whole story from beginning to end, but the lines that literally jumped from the screen are:

"The woman climbed out of the Landau
Took one look, and fell to her knees,
Her lover hung gently swaying,
Swaying in time to the river breeze,"

The melancholy of those last two lines are stunning.


Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Like a novel was singing a hauntingly beautiful song to me. This was stirring and riveting piece with a bit of horror to douse the smiles of those who have yet to see this place. Very cool.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Beautiful work.The story the expression all are just perfect the details of emotions, place and people so well pictured a unique story telling style that David Lewis Paget has ! surely another great write!

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Your writings display your wonderful creative thoughts and story telling, They are magnificent!!

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Epic. What can I say to one of the best writers on here, who not only writes one good poem but comes up with quality work every single time.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

staggering! outstanding vivid description! tailored bitter sigh... what a way to say goodbye!
Good God... you had me hanging by a thread, and unleashed to the vivid epicentre of the tragedy! of anticipation... of imagination!
keep them coming my friend!

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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2093 Views
51 Reviews
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Shelved in 9 Libraries
Added on October 21, 2012
Last Updated on October 22, 2012
Tags: dollymop, sailor, Tyburn, chains

Author

David Lewis Paget
David Lewis Paget

Moonta, South Australia, Australia



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