The Waif

The Waif

A Poem by David Lewis Paget

She was walking the damp and cobbled streets
Like one with nowhere to go,
I saw her quivering, cold and shivering
Deep in a fall of snow,
I rarely talk to a stranger, but
She looked me straight in the eye,
And said, ‘Dear sir, could you help a girl,
I noticed you passing by.’

She took me out of my comfort zone,
She quite appealed to the eye,
I mumbled in an embarrassed tone,
I have been known to be shy.
‘I’ve not been warm for a week,’ she said,
‘And haven’t slept, and I’m tired,
I wonder if you could take me home
And let me sit by your fire?’

I didn’t want to be compromised,
I had a girl of my own,
But barely thinking, I said all right
And so she followed me home.
I built the fire with a log or two
Then she sat down by the grate,
And held her hands to the warming flames,
But the hour was getting late.

I wondered where she would sleep that night
With nowhere to go, she said,
Then like a fool, broke the golden rule
Said she could sleep in my bed.
‘I’ll stay out here on the couch, so you
Can catch right up on your sleep,’
If only I’d had a crystal ball
The future would make me weep.

She said that her name was Elspeth Jane,
Had run away from her home,
So stayed wherever there was no pain
From brutes, just bad to the bone.
She said she could tell a gentleman
And smiled, when looking at me,
I felt quite flattered, I must confess,
Not knowing what was to be.

I had a girl, and her name was Kate,
She’d be around in the morning,
I thought that the waif would be gone by then
But Kate showed as it was dawning.
‘Who is the girl, there in your bed?’
As Elspeth lay a-bed, stretching,
‘I thought I could trust you, now you’re dead,’
Then Elspeth said I was letching.

‘He picked me up for a bit of fun,
He didn’t mention a girlfriend,
He’s quite a lover, son of a gun,
You should hang on to your boyfriend.’
‘Why would you lie, you slept alone,’
I looked in horror at Elspeth,
The door then slammed, and Kate had flown,
While Elspeth asked about breakfast.

I should have kicked her out in the street,
I should have barred her forever,
But first I offered her toast to eat,
Then thought it was now or never.
She walked back in through the bedroom door
Her gown slipped down off her shoulder,
I knew that a starving man must eat,
And now, I’m wiser and bolder.

David Lewis Paget

© 2017 David Lewis Paget

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Awesome story. Loved reading it.

Posted 2 Years Ago

Poor man had no chance.
'thealked back in through the bedroom door
Her gown slipped down off her shoulder,
I knew that a starving man must eat,
And now, I’m wiser and bolder"
The above lines are so good. Thank you David for sharing the amazing poetry. I liked this one.

Posted 4 Years Ago

Quite an eventful night there. You opened up to life I guess at last.

Posted 5 Years Ago

(tsk tsk)..but what a great poem!

Posted 5 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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TS might not be Frost or Eliot but combined with Nix they made music. Perhaps another colab?...


4 Reviews
Added on April 14, 2017
Last Updated on April 14, 2017
Tags: snow, cold, fire, help


David Lewis Paget
David Lewis Paget

Moonta, South Australia, Australia



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