The Gravedigger

The Gravedigger

A Poem by David Lewis Paget

They said that he’d come from the cemetery
And I thought he maybe could,
In his coat with tails, covered in snails
And a cape without a hood,
He looked like a typical gravedigger
There was soil on both his hands,
And on top of that, an old top hat
Held on with rubber bands.

His skin a peculiar shade of grey
Like an old and weathered wood,
His eyes set back, under his hat
Each shot with a ring of blood.
His cheeks were sunken under his eyes
His lips in a rictus grin,
Exposed his teeth in a grin beneath
With some of them fallen in.

His trousers had a military stripe
Were in holes about his knees,
Where he had knelt, with an old grey belt
That suffered from some disease.
His boots had once been a shiny black
But were covered in clumps of mud,
As he stomped in like a burst of sin
From a grave he’d recently dug.

His voice had a curious rasping sound
When he opened his mouth to speak,
With a sort of croak, back in his throat
Or a rusty hinge’s creak.
‘I’ve come to escort the Lady Anne
On her journey, over the Styx,
That river of hate, at Hades gate,
Where she keeps her box of tricks.’

‘I think there’s been a mistake,’ I said,
‘For the Lady Anne is well,
She’s sat in a chair, just over there,
And dreams of heaven, not hell.’
‘Then little you know of the lady’s heart,
Or the object of her dreams,
Her cheating heart would tear you apart,
She’s never been what she seems.’

I went inside to the Lady Anne
And I tried to rouse her there,
But she was pale, and the air was stale
Where she lay dead in her chair.
I turned again to the gravedigger
Who was standing near me still,
‘I’ll take her corpse to the woodland copse
Where her coffin lies over the hill.’

I often visit the grave he dug
Which is edged around with bricks,
And sit beside the babbling stream
That they call the River Styx.
Then I call in vain to the Lady Anne
To reveal what she had done,
And sit and cry as I feel denied
By the love I thought I’d won.

David Lewis Paget

© 2017 David Lewis Paget

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What a sad tale of love. Love the photo David.

Posted 1 Week Ago

Methinks this particular grave-digger is multi-tasking. Maybe it's the way of things these days - clearly defined roles are disappearing as the workers are being exploited again, even those of the other realm.
Sad tale DLP. The man finally gets the girl only for her to leave him again :(

Posted 1 Week Ago

A amazing short tale. You create sad place and interesting location. I liked how you used Lady Anne. You led the reader to the strong ending. Thank you David for sharing your amazing poetry.

Posted 1 Week Ago

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this David! The way you describe the Gravedigger absolutely gave me chills, and conjured quite the gruesome image in my mind. I wasn't sure where the story was going to go by the end but it definitely thrilled me. Beautiful work!
All the best, Katie

Posted 1 Week Ago

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4 Reviews
Added on July 14, 2017
Last Updated on July 14, 2017
Tags: cemetery, rictus, disease, cheating

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