The Grandfather Clock

The Grandfather Clock

A Poem by David Lewis Paget

The old Tudor house was half-timbered and gaunt,

Was gloomy and dim in the hall,

And time had stood still, since my father was born,

In the clock that had stood by the wall.

Its pendulum hung, never making a sound

I’d never so much heard it chime,

But then, on the day that my Dad passed away,

Its tick had begun to keep time.

 

My mother was dead and my father was gone,

The half-timbered house passed to me,

I wandered its passages, sad and distraught,

As lonely as one man could be!

I’d sit in the lounge and I’d read by a lamp

With the rest of the house cloaked in gloom,

And heard the dread tick of that grandfather clock

As it echoed in time through the room!

 

Each tick was a portent, the passing of life,

Each tock brought me nearer to death,

I’d listen for noises, the timber that creaked,

Sit terrified, holding my breath!

The warm summer showers pit-pattered the thatch,

The wind would sough-sough at the eaves,

And summer passed quickly to autumn that year

In a thick golden carpet of leaves.

 

I never once wound up that grandfather clock,

I waited for it to wind down,

But like a tap dripping, it never would stop

I felt I was starting to drown.

I found in the library’s masses of books

An ancient collection of tomes,

And one that was covered in leather, I looked,

And read, and I wished that I’d known!

 

Sir Richard FitzWalter had lived in that house,

And he it was, ordered the clock,

He’d fought against Cromwell for Charlie the First

‘Til Charles lost his head on the block!

He’d fled to the country, was caught in the house,

And hanged on the tree by the gate,

His wife, Lady Mary, had begged for his life

But the Roundheads had jeered: ‘You’re too late!’

 

She left them, went sobbing back into the hall

And she clung to the grandfather clock,

But just as her husband, his heart ceased to beat,

She heard that the ticking had stopped.

That clock never ran for the rest of her life,

But showed just a quarter to four,

The time that Sir Richard was pinioned and hung

At the gate, on the tree by his door.

 

The clock began ticking when Mary had died,

Had taken her grief to the grave,

And each generation it stopped or began

When the master was born, or was saved!

I knew then the clock had been ticking for me

And I wanted it never to stop,

I’d wake in the night and I’d tremble to hear

If my heart was still pounding, or not.

 

Then one winter’s night I was restless, and rose

From my sleep, and walked down to the hall,

A Cavalier soldier stood facing the clock,

Adjusting the pendulum pawl;

Resetting the weights on that grandfather clock

So my heart would continue to beat,

From that time to this, I have lived here content

While Sir Richard returns as I sleep.

 

David Lewis Paget

© 2012 David Lewis Paget


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Featured Review

Clocks. Ingenious and insidious at the same time. Usually sounds in stories give existential angst or foreboding to the main character, of Poe-ish flavor. But here you've turned it and the main character strives to hear the ticking continue. I'm not a fan of measured time, unless it's by the seasonal changes. Man tinkers too much I think.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

outstanding like all the others! I've always passed this one by, thinking I'd read it. that's why it took me time to read it. I'm glad I did.

you gave a whole new meaning to grandfather clocks.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Impeccable as always!
I love the story.
I love the perfect time.
(Oh, wow! No pun intended!)
You are an amazing poet.
Truly.
Claire

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Still one of my all time favorites

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Realy good
....................


Posted 5 Years Ago


Clocks. Ingenious and insidious at the same time. Usually sounds in stories give existential angst or foreboding to the main character, of Poe-ish flavor. But here you've turned it and the main character strives to hear the ticking continue. I'm not a fan of measured time, unless it's by the seasonal changes. Man tinkers too much I think.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

What an amazingly outstanding write. The message echoing time's remembrance of our own mortality ...and the plight of this mans journey one we should all take note. This is truly a beautifully composed piece of art. I relished in every word from beginning to end. You are a master craftman of fine poetry!!

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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...
The beginning of this piece, i do agree with another reviewer's post: does indeed remind me of Historical England. The rests of the poem resonates such poignancy, aching memories, of loved ones that have past, while entwined with the beauty of your words. Your writings are nothing short of amazing!

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

" Resetting the weights on that grandfather clock

So my heart would continue to beat,"

I wish I could think like this deep, conscious and meaningful. Great write.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wonderful..

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

The image of clock for life is wonderful.The tick reminds us of many things.it reminds us of our grand father, father, mother who ceased to live and the impending doom to us. You tell everything like a story with wonderful images.I learn a lot by reading great poems like yours than attempting to write some mediocre poems like mine.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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2587 Views
45 Reviews
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Shelved in 3 Libraries
Added on August 6, 2012
Last Updated on August 6, 2012
Tags: tudor, Cromwell, Cavalier, hung

Author

David Lewis Paget
David Lewis Paget

Moonta, South Australia, Australia



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