The Love that Binds

The Love that Binds

A Poem by David Lewis Paget

My father died of the cholera

In eighteen thirty-two,

There wasn’t a place at the cemetery

To bury him, that we knew,

The signs were posted at Netherton,

‘Don’t bring your bodies here!’

The Sexton spoke: ‘Try Gospel Oak,

Or maybe, Wednesbury.’

 

We loaded Pa back onto the cart

And whipped the old grey mare,

We’d not long buried our cousin Jack

At the turning of the year,

From Manchester to Birmingham

The epidemic spread,

From Liverpool to Leeds, to York,

With one in twenty dead!

 

I walked along with the horse and cart

And I passed so many more,

They thrust their relatives out, feet first

In front of the tradesman’s door,

The fear had spread so rapidly

No family was safe,

So Grandma went in her winding sheet

Outside, with her Sister Kate!

 

They loaded bodies onto a cart

No dignity in death,

And piled them three and four feet high

As they took their final breath,

And pits were dug as the space grew less

The Churchyards all were full,

For years, the gardeners turned them up

Old bones, and a grinning skull!

 

We took our Pa on home at last

With nowhere else to go,

And sat him out in the potting shed

Where the seedlings used to grow,

Then Ma sat down beside him there

And died of a broken heart,

We knew it would be a waste of time

To break out the horse and cart.

 

For years they sat untouched out there

Through spring and the summertime,

I looked one day, they were overgrown

With a creeper, like a vine,

The vine had woven in and around

Through bones that were falling apart,

It tied and bound them together,

Wrapping a tendril round each heart.

 

‘When things calm down, we’ll bury them,’

I said to my brother, Sid,

As time went on, we both forgot

And I guess we never did;

They’re closer now than they were in life

She doesn’t scold or moan,

While he clings fast to his silent wife,

And at least, they’re both at home!

 

David Lewis Paget

© 2012 David Lewis Paget


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Featured Review

Paget,I could not have imagined that such tragic and painful incident might take place in England.I knew about black death caused by plague.

I thought how it was possible to keep the bodies in the plant nursery for long period.Were they preserved in coffin?Could you give some more details?

I wonder how you could bear such painful memories for so long time.
Did you write this poem recently?
I don't dare to deliberate about the poetic quality of your poems.
They are always superb and epic in standard.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Zainul


Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Very well written. I truly enjoy the second half. The images that were in my mind were so detailed and clear.David my friend,you are one of my favorite writers here.I have to ask are you able to read or observe your surroundings and just able to write from that? you're an awesome writer I can't say it enough.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I dislike burials anyway. What a wonderful thing to be in the arms of your partner until you both become dust. I thoroughly enjoy your marriage of fantasy and reality in every piece written. Of course they have a better relationship now that she is silent :) I want my corpse to go up in flames. Another masterpiece!

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I really enjoyed the imagery, but more then that the representation of eternal love. So tragic in life so amazing in matters of the heart. Thank you for sharing. Hope your well

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is one of my favorite yet! Though, I say that till the next ;) The earth grown vines which bound them at last and your words were their headstone in rhyme. A most write David as always done the Paget way.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wow - cholera in Netherton eh - well to be honest I drive through there most days and to look at the place it could still be prevalent ( only kidding people of Netherton). My ancesters were nail makers and chainmakers at mushroom green. A morbid but humourous poem - i really enjoyed it :)

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I knew the plague had ravaged England...and how bodies were buried in trenches. I see it as symbolic, of course "wrappig a tendril round ech heart"...as poetry often is...
Good job.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Poignant write of a sad time in history you brought it alive and told with compassion and humour too.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Another of your gems. But what surprises me is that you made me find beauty in a poem about the cholera plague's victims. Remarkable. I know this is not a revealing review by any means but I feel ill and thought to end the night reading a Paget poem. Now I'll bid you goodnight and thank you for the incredible read.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on August 30, 2012
Last Updated on August 30, 2012
Tags: cemetery, cholera, vine, dignity

Author

David Lewis Paget
David Lewis Paget

Moonta, South Australia, Australia



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