The Widow Hamm & the Love-Me Tree

The Widow Hamm & the Love-Me Tree

A Poem by David Lewis Paget

I’d been on my own for so many years

That my heart had turned to stone,

It must have shown in my miserable face

For the women left me alone,

They took one look, thought: ‘Not for me,

I’ve not even seen him smile!’

If they only knew how I ached inside,

Or walked in my shoes for a while.

 

The one young love that I’d thought to have

Had married a banker’s clerk,

I don’t know how he attracted her,

They must have met in the dark.

He walked knock-kneed with a crooked grin

She couldn’t have loved his looks,

But he bought her a fine old Georgian house,

He must have been cooking the books!’

 

I thought I’d wait ‘til she tired of him,

I shouldn’t have long to wait,

I’d walk on by and I’d wave to her,

Or stand by her garden gate,

But she seemed content as the years just went

And I lived my life in dread,

That I’d watch myself grow old and lie

Alone in my four-post bed.

 

I would drink alone in the Saracen’s Arms

When the rain was wet on the stones,

And a stranger, there from the countryside

Came in, to warm up his bones,

We sat together beside the hearth

And he soon confided in me:

‘I’ve got me a new young wife,’ he said,

‘My thanks to the Love-Me Tree!’

 

I looked him carefully up and down,

He seemed to be past his prime,

The battle scars on his craggy face

Were set in a long, deep line,

He laughed, ‘I know what you’re thinking,

Why would a young girl fancy me?

I put it down to the Widow Hamm

And the spell of her Love-Me Tree!’

 

He told me then of the Widow Hamm

In the village of Cauter Hook,

‘You can look in vain for the Widow’s name

But she’ll not be found in the book.

She lives in a cottage by candlelight

With her water drawn from a well,

And under the tree by the well, you see

Is the place where she casts her spell.’

 

‘The water bubbles up out of the ground

And it feeds the roots of the tree,

Then the tree it blossoms with heart shaped darts,

She calls it the Love-Me Tree,

You give her the name of the one you love

And she casts her spell in the air,

Then you take a blossom and place in the hand

Of the one that you want to care.’

 

He told me about the claims she made

Of the men she had helped, for sure,

All of them wed to some young girl

Who wouldn’t look twice, before,

He told me then of a banker’s clerk

Knock-kneed, and ugly as sin,

Who’d lusted after a Janice White,

And how she’d been taken in.

 

My heart had stopped, and a chill ran down

From my neck to the base of my spine,

So that was how he had stolen her,

The girl who should have been mine!

I said I’d like to meet Widow Hamm

And he told me the way to go,

So I turned up there on her doorstep, said:

‘There’s a girl I would like to know!’

 

She took me in and she asked her name

And I said it was Janice White,

The Widow paused, and she pursed her lips,

And her face turned pale with fright.

‘I know that name, but she’s lost to you,

I cast her spell in the Spring,

It was not that many years ago

But I see that you’re suffering!’

 

She charged me double the normal fee

As she said it was ‘fraught with strife,

If he should find I have spelled again

And cost him his lovely wife.’

But she took me into the garden there

And she sat me under the tree,

Then she muttered some incantation that

Would bind the woman to me.

 

I took the blossom and hid it well

As I sauntered along the Strand,

Called to Janice who came to me

And I placed it there, in her hand.

She seemed to stop, and she stared at me

With a new look in her eyes,

‘But my, you’re suddenly handsome,’

She exclaimed, in her surprise.

 

I told her where I was living, and

She arrived, that afternoon,

She said, ‘I’m suddenly weary of

My husband, that poltroon!’

I told her how I had loved her, that

I’d waited for years in vain,

Then she held me close and she kissed me,

Said: ‘You won’t have to wait again!’

 

I thought it would have been settled, but

The spell was just half as strong,

Fighting against the other spell

It knew neither right nor wrong,

For the first twelve hours in every day

She swore she was mine to keep,

But right on noon she would go back home

And then she’d begin to weep.

 

‘I don’t know what I am doing,’ she

Would say when she came to me,

‘I think that I must still love him…’

Then I thought of the Love-Me Tree.

I said, ‘You don’t really love him, he

Once captured you with a spell!’

Then I told her about the Love-Me Tree,

And she said, ‘You can go to hell!’

 

Her eyes were suddenly opened, she

Could see us for what we were,

A couple of ugly troglodytes,

Both with a love for her,

But she went and married a handyman

And she sent him at night to see,

And while the Widow Hamm was asleep

He chopped down the Love-Me Tree!

 

David Lewis Paget

 

© 2013 David Lewis Paget


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Featured Review

BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT!

How on earth do you write such a wonderful tale with such incredible meter each and every time, tisn't fair, Mr. Paget, tisn't fair! Never known you to put a step wrong. You weave magical pictures, you use great language, you make me and dozens of others laugh and feel. And here you start with the sadness of the man then drift off and away with smiles.. and end with that terrible final act. oh my

Should find a favourite stanza or phrase or, but is hard.. too hard.. will read a third time; excuse me a moment ..maybe these four lines:

'He walked knock-kneed with a crooked grin ~ She couldn’t have loved his looks, ~ But he bought her a fine old Georgian house, ~ He must have been cooking the books!’


Posted 7 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

I might be a little late here, but this was a wonderful story, with near-perfect rhyme and meter.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

you truly are a master of story telling in poetic form. oh to write like you. great yarn and so well done like it was some Irish or english folklore tale from the 1800's or earlier

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wow i wish i could say more. I see my self in your poem, truly this poem inspires me to act.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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Mac
What a wonderful yarn. It has a fairy tale aspect to it which makes it that much more of a great read. We need more writing like this. Thank you for keeping the imaginative alive with wonderful rhythm and words.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

That was fantastic. Served them blokes for messing with mother nature. A woman doesn't appreciate being duped after all.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

What a delight this is! With a perfect ending. Of course, it is the inevitable, unavoidable ending. I do like the way you got there.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

ahahaha! a bit long for me but certainly not wearying .. fine story telling .. kept guessing what turn it would take and nicely surprised at the end .. gave me a fine chuckle to start the day :) i especially like these lines:
"I would drink alone in the Saracen’s Arms
When the rain was wet on the stones,"

E.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

You make everything rhyme and flow so well...it takes true talent. I love this, it's a story a very relating one, as if all of this was happening right before your eyes as you wrote this poem. Now I gotta go find me a love-me-tree ha ha!

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Beautifully brilliant, as always! You are just beyond compare!

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

You can count me as a fan! I've only begun reading your poems, but you're batting a thousand in my book! Keep up the good work and warm holiday greetings from east coast USA.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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2317 Views
36 Reviews
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Shelved in 4 Libraries
Added on April 16, 2013
Last Updated on April 16, 2013
Tags: spell, ached, dread, love

Author

David Lewis Paget
David Lewis Paget

Moonta, South Australia, Australia



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