The Scarecrow

The Scarecrow

A Poem by David Lewis Paget

Out on the marsh on a lonely night

The wind soughs through his rags,

The hat that’s pinned to his painted face,

Flutters and soars, then sags,

His eyes are wide and his mouth is grim

As an owl is put to flight,

And nothing but shadows will venture there

For the Scarecrow rules the night.

 

And back in the manse in a window seat

The Parson’s daughter sits,

She stares at the fluttering coat-tails, but

In truth, is scared to bits,

She watches the sails of the windmill turn

And creak and groan in the gloom,

As clouds come stuttering over the marsh

In the rays of a Harvest Moon.

 

The father is out in the donkey cart

To tend to his aging flock,

He’s left Elizabeth waiting there

By the tick of the hallway clock,

But out on the moors and beyond the marsh

There rides one Highway Jack,

A frock coat topped with a bunch of lace

And a gold trimmed tricorne hat.

 

He’s whipped the horse to a lather

In a retreat from a new affray,

For the magistrates have gathered

Vowing to ride him down that day,

The redcoats wait in the village Inn

For the sound that they know too well,

When the curate sees the approaching horse

He’s to toll the old church bell.

 

But the curate lies in a drunken fit

On the floor of the old church nave,

And soon, by matins his soul will flit

From life to an early grave,

Elizabeth sits in the window seat

And thinks of the coin and plate,

As the highwayman dismounts, and ties

His horse to the manse’s gate.

 

He beats on the door, ‘Please let me in,

I’m weary and faint, that’s all.

I wouldn’t abuse your person, but

I fear my back’s to the wall.’

She leaves the seat and she slides the bar

For bracing the oaken door,

‘I dare not, sir, I fear for my life,

You’re safer out on the moor!’

 

Their voices echo across the marsh

Like fear, distilled in the night,

And something shudders out in the gloom

And lurches to left and right,

It seems forever, but now a sound

Tolls out, like a final knell,

For something, out in the church tonight,

Is tolling the steeple bell.

 

He barely makes it back to his horse

When the redcoats stand in line,

Their muskets fire a volley of shot

And his coat turns red, like wine.

They go to the church when the deed is done

To say, ‘You have done well!’

But the curate lies on the cold stone floor,

The Scarecrow tolled the bell!

 

David Lewis Paget

© 2013 David Lewis Paget


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Featured Review

for whom the bell tolls eh? Grim reaper in scarecrow garb, innocence by the window. Your opening stanza is superb. Highway Jack can also symbolize freedom, the parsons daughter chaste innocence, ordered by law.... and the bell tolls. A very unbridled write my friend.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

another exciting tale david

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Always an awesome poem from you David. I love the ending and your use of details is always gripping.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

for whom the bell tolls eh? Grim reaper in scarecrow garb, innocence by the window. Your opening stanza is superb. Highway Jack can also symbolize freedom, the parsons daughter chaste innocence, ordered by law.... and the bell tolls. A very unbridled write my friend.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Always fascinated with scarecrows. Something about them especially at night. Worzel Gummige springs to mind

Posted 10 Years Ago


Oh this was so good like lightning jack this one is beautiful

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Chilling and atmospheric poetry - an epic tale reminiscent of "The Highwayman" - scarecrows are creepy.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Another wonderful eerie tale. I don't like scarecrows much; they do frighten me. I guess I've seen one too many scary movies with them in it. But this tale.. I almost wish the lady had let the highwayman in and hidden him.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Well I am partial to a freaky scarecrow, the words flow effortlessly as always :)

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

THis is really good. THis time I had no ide what wuld happen. The atmosphere ws heavy, chilling...and then the scaecrow becomes the hero...

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

David that is so damned good! The rhyme and rhythm are perfect as always and those images are so real. I swear I felt cold draft on my spine when I read that magnificent opening stanza. Only a short one but one of my favorites.
PS: I ordered Pen & Ink (off LULU.com) so I will have a hard copy of your earlier work to read when travelling.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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12 Reviews
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Added on July 31, 2013
Last Updated on July 31, 2013
Tags: marsh, manse, highwayman, redcoats

Author

David Lewis Paget
David Lewis Paget

Moonta, South Australia, Australia



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