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 11 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

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 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is class David. I bounced along merrily laughing as I went - This reminded me of the Two Ronnies - magnificent rhyming and imagery - just one thing..(as Columbo used to say as he scratched his eyebrow, cigar in hand) - I would have loved to hear what the witch saw in the guy that proved to her he was suffering - I'd have liked a right laugh at the state of the guy, but I'm happy enough that she was a witch and able to look inside him.
I a fan - as of now.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I just love all your work, I just can't help it!!!!1

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

He-he-he! This is perfection! I love to read your poetry...I love everything about it. Great writing skills, my wonderful witty friend. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Incredible! Thank you for sharing it with us!

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I can't put it any better than emmajoy. wonderful as always.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Each reader will admit to you that sometime, some place, somewhere...they were there.....I read you again and again....each time a different spin.....and I dare you to disappoint me, but, alas, you always win. I shall send you a picture of my Love-Me Tree.......which, by the way is now ready to be pruned as the fruits on that tree have withered and died. Well, so much for me.......

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

You have the world's most creative imagination and the words to express it...

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Masterfully funny yarn.. It kept me following all the way through to the conclusion.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Your sense of humour is great! You seem to have mastered the art of writing lengthy pieces with such brilliance that not once does the reader's attention waver Just love your writes


Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Another wonderful tale with lots of humor this time. That poor girl, so lost under those spells. Love the ending.. well suited for all the trouble the old widow caused. Excellent work!

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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2377 Views
37 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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