Shadows in the Rain

Shadows in the Rain

A Poem by David Lewis Paget

My father told us the story of
The time of his greatest pain,
Back in the year of ninety-nine,
During Victoria’s reign,
He lived in a two-bed terrace,
With a brother and sisters two,
With gas lamps out in the cobbled street
And nothing you’d call a view.

‘The windows were of a pebble glass
That distorted all you’d see,
And when it rained and the clouds were grained
All these shades appeared to me,
The lamps would cast a flickering beam
On the movement in the street,
To paint in shadows the local scene
Of that place they called ‘The Fleet’.’

‘I thought these shadows were passing ghosts
Who had died and lost their way,
Their shadows, caught in the pouring rain
Coming back and forth all day,
I little knew that my brother too
Would be claimed before too long,
Would add his tiny, flickering soul
To the heart of that heaving throng.’

‘For down below, a river would flow
Underneath the Coach and Horse,
The mighty sewers of the Fleet
Followed that watercourse,
The entrances were underground
And the water in it foul,
But floating bodies were often found
And the sewer men would howl.’

‘And Toby, our little Toby, he
Would be sent along the street,
He’d clatter along the cobblestones
For a loaf of bread, a treat,
He’d fetch a plug of tobacco for
Our father’s pipe, of course,
Collecting it from the barman there,
Down at the Coach and Horse.’

‘He’d toddle away, in light or dark,
He’d go in the sun or rain,
Whatever my father asked him do
He saw no need to explain,
And Toby went in the drizzling rain
One day, for a quart of beer,
I watched for him through the pebble glass
But the lad quite disappeared.’

‘All I could see were the moving shapes
Of the shadows in the rain,
Of ghosts, all huddled in coats and capes
As they passed my way, again,
But never a sight of our Toby, nor
The quart of my father’s beer,
We sent out a searching party, but
He wasn’t to reappear.’

‘We got in touch with the sewer men
Who said they would search the Fleet,
And try to find him before he flowed
To the Thames on New Bridge Street,
But all they found were a dozen dogs
Along with a monster pig,
Who all had drowned before they were found
And Toby was half as big.’

‘My father stood at the open door
At the same time every day,
Come rain or shine, he couldn’t divine
Why Toby had gone away,
But I can see, as if in a fit,
A thing that should count the least,
My father’s pipe, forever unlit,
Still gracing the mantelpiece.’

David Lewis Paget

© 2015 David Lewis Paget


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Featured Review

Such a fantastic, mentally stimulating piece! I loved the feeling over it, right down to the schematic and flow. Reading this was like being transported to a busy, turn of the century London. You wrote such an intriguing, storytelling piece that I feel as though I couldn't come up with higher praise than loving this piece! I shall read more of your work! :D

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Wonderful in every sense; I loved this poem a lot!

Posted 8 Years Ago


Few things you stop doing in memory of someone you loved. It perturbs us so deep we no longer want to face the associated emotions. Your writings fire imagination so vivid I can tell the writer was there when he was writing it.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wonderful tale David. I loved the rhythm.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I love it,,,beautifully written and sad too. Awesome job

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

You are a gifted storyteller, your friends and children and wife must fall at your feet to hear you tell them.
Wonderful poem

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Immensely sad David, this makes me think of Dickensian style stories, I guess you have that kinda feeling in your work although no one can take away from you your own very distinct and unique story telling of course, personally I would read you ahead of Dickens or even most writers any day, you're always a wonderful read my friend :)

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 2 people found this review constructive.

This comment has been deleted by the website administrators.
I really enjoyed this, it's beautiful but sad in its way. You're very talented.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Sad David but a yarn it is brilliantly told but lies some truth spoken in another one's tale!

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Loved your work, easy flow, nothing forced. Excellent imagery, felt a sense of music that timed the verse's for me. I cannot write poetry but I will read more of yours.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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1055 Views
19 Reviews
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Added on December 29, 2015
Last Updated on December 29, 2015
Tags: pain, London, Fleet, sewer

Author

David Lewis Paget
David Lewis Paget

Moonta, South Australia, Australia



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