The Dungeon

The Dungeon

A Poem by David Lewis Paget

From the Minappartamento

In the middle of the night,

We walked the old Piazza

Lit by just a single light,

I could see the Madonnina

Where she overlooked Milan,

But then mia Carrenina

Shivered, so I took her hand.


We were headed for the Church

Santa Maria, in the gloom,

That held the first segreta prigione,

The torture room,

It was down below the basement

And forbidden every day,

By the Friar, Alessandro

Who kept sending us away.


Carrenina was determined

She had seen the manuscripts,

Telling of Contessa Roma

Last seen heading to its depths,

With her lover, Count Lorenzo

To be questioned there in chains

For the sins of fornication

And adultery, were the claims.


They were never seen again, and the

Franciscans would not tell,

In a secret inquisition

They sped wayward souls to hell,

But my Carrenina hungered

To complete her family tree,

It had ended there with Roma,

Rousing curiosity.


The Church door lock was ancient

And it snapped with just a twist,

So we ventured through the shadows

Found the door we’d almost missed,

Then we stepped down to the basement

Had to break two other locks,

That revealed another staircase

That was made of limestone blocks.


The air was damp and musty

There was mildew on the wall,

But the instruments of torture

Rusted there, around the hall,

There the rack and the strappado

Were like monsters from the past,

But the Judas Cradle caught the eye

Of Carrenina last.


There were awful iron cages where

The bones were still intact,

Looking hopelessly below them

As their wives and sons were racked,

But we finally turned slowly

To inspect the furthest wall,

When Carrenina cried on out;

We read, and were appalled.


The mildew scraped away to read

Lorenzo, on one stone,

Beside it, one said Roma

And the silence down there groaned,

For we knew that we had found them,

That the Franciscans had lied,

They had bricked them up behind that wall

While they were still alive.


There were hammers by the bootikens

That lay all stained in blood,

There were chisels for some torture

Staked in blocks of spattered wood,

So I seized them and attacked the wall,

‘By God, we’ll set them free,’

I said to Carrenina as she

Wept, and clung to me.


The mortar had turned sandy so

It powdered with each clout,

And loosened up Lorenzo’s block,

I slowly edged it out,

He lay within a coffin space

His head the closest view,

But on his side, his arm thrust in,

A space they’d left them to.


One stone between their coffins

Left a hole between each space,

Enough for him to reach on through,

Hold hands, or touch her face,

But when the Roma block was moved

We saw the state of things,

Lorenzo’s hand was round her throat

Still girt with ducal rings.


He’d strangled her, his mi amore,

To still her pain and fears,

When death was stalking both of them

Walled up, and she in tears,

We moved his hand to clasp on hers

Though centuries passed them by,

But as we turned to leave that place

I swear, I heard them sigh!


David Lewis Paget

© 2013 David Lewis Paget

My Review

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Featured Review

As Quinnfinn remarked: Shades of Edgar Allan, and I agree. Your ability to develop such a good story with words that compliment and describe the scene is professional and done with craftsmanship. Tate Morgan recommended I read your work. I've had the pleasure of reading some of it in the past and I've reviewed a few times (probably under my other name of Palewriter which has been closed), including a review given on another site.

According to Tate on his poem--Peaches, you use a 8. 7. syllable count and I can see that being utilized here. I'm still trying to learn about meter myself and have recently revised some poems though my understanding was always to count the stressed syllables and not just the syllables themselves. It appears I still have more to learn but I've found that statement very helpful.

Your rhymes (perfect?) are very impressive as well and flow so smoothly. I also enjoyed the words like miniapartmento and bootikens. I'm glad Tate recommended your work and I look forward to reading more again. Excellent work.

Posted 5 Years Ago

2 of 2 people found this review constructive.


Very chilling ending. Didn't expect it.

Posted 5 Years Ago

I use to love reading Poe. The way he told a story I thought I`d never find again. Then I read yours. I almost think I like them better.

Posted 5 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

A chilling one, this is. Yet comforting, I think. interesting one to think on. There must be something gruesomely tantalizing about it, I think. A great write, here. Thank you so much for letting me read it!

Posted 5 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Jesus dave this one bespeaks the worst of human nature . I can only imagine that such things must have happened in our past. However i can hardly feel the humanity by thinking on it. Its hard to believe we can be so cruel isnt it.Buit the writing while it is fiction lends an air of truth to itself. This kind of thing would warp a person for life . Im not sure it hasnt disturbed me. Yopu do such a good job writing that i think you must have lived many lives before this one.

Posted 5 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I have to put this up there with one of your best. Chilling, spellbound, flowed beautifully between each line, smooth and seamless between thoughts and emotions, a swell of anticipation and shock then the gentle joining of two sets of souls befriended in the end across the ages though love and justice. Magnificent!

Posted 5 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Rousing good story with a stunner of an ending and despite my first disappointment, I soon felt this showed more powerful love than just holding hands while his lady love grew heart-breakingly desperate... you excel in this field

Posted 5 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Fantastic tale and a supurb ending..I love the old time stories of how our ancestors were and how the high and mighty treated their people..and we think we have it bad today..I loved the way you put this one down on paper David..Katihe

Posted 5 Years Ago

Your poetry has the ability to make the reader feel the "all" of it - at times it is beauty, and then there is awe, mesmerizing one to want to read on, and on and be sorry the ending has come.

The tale you have woven in this sent me off to read about the devices of torture and I am shaken to the core to think such horrors existed/perhaps still do exist according to my reading. But, the redeeming grace of your poem is the love and mercy that Lorenzo showed to his love! It is quite touching that the pair moved his hand to clasp on hers. The fact they are now together seems to bring some grace to the horrible and tragic situation.

The way they were discovered as a result of the urgency of the explorers to discover what had happened to them was an intriguing part of the story and clever in the way you developed the concept. It them into the area below the church, to expose the truth!

I do learn so much from your writing! Each one seems to be history lesson for me taught in most delightful form!!!!

Posted 5 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

A sad but beautiful love story...I thought no good could come of breaking into a church, but I was was set free...

Posted 5 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I am not surprised that I am once again in awe of your story telling. It's as though watching a cliff hanging movie, on the edge of your seat awaiting the next scene. Outstanding poem David.

Posted 5 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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14 Reviews
Added on January 2, 2013
Last Updated on January 2, 2013
Tags: Milan, Franciscans, strappado, rack


David Lewis Paget
David Lewis Paget

Moonta, South Australia, Australia



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