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

Perfect. Such a beautiful tale from such sadness, perfectly structured and weighted, with wonderful flow.

Posted 11 Years Ago


You found beauty in tragedy bringing love together, bound for eternity in the simplicity of nature to nature, dust to dust. What a lovely poem.

Posted 11 Years Ago


This is hauntingly tragic. What a terrible epidemic the black plague was, and I read recently that it could have been prevented if the Catholic church hadn't been so adverse to the advent of modern medicine. But that was just a theory, i'm not saying that I blame it on Christianity- but it was an interesting read.... this was wonderfully well executed. Stanza six was my favorite; such a beautifully poignant portrait of love and death, bound by thorny vine. Remarkable story, so memorable, and written with the flawless grace of a mater poet. Bravo. :)

Posted 11 Years Ago


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.

Oh..I know there was really some kind of epidemic that killed a bnch in England..but the way you put it..adds something special..a love that is eternal..Not many find that on earth any more..Another brilliaant write david..love and God bless Lyn and you.Kathie Hope you are feeling better.

Posted 11 Years Ago


Oh this is soo good on soo many levels The wife that is now silent The hearts together more so than in life,A romantic look at the way we try to remember them, all

Posted 11 Years Ago



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26 Reviews
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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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