The Tunnel

The Tunnel

A Poem by David Lewis Paget

The house dated back to the Tudors,
Half timbered, in need of repair,
They offered it me for a peppercorn rent
If I’d do some work on it there.
Right next to it stood the Catholic Church,
All pillars and deep seated vaults,
I thought I could make it a comfortable lair
Despite its old timbers and faults.

But Kathy was not so enamoured,
She said that she’d rather a flat,
‘There’s dry rot and beetles,’ she stammered,
‘So what will you do about that?’
‘I’ll think about that in the morning,
For now you’ll just have to be brave,
You’ll love that old bed, and its awning,
And think of the money we’ll save.’

We got settled in and explored it,
The wainscoting seemed to be fine,
With three rooms upstairs, and an attic,
I seized on that, told her, ‘It’s mine!’
She wouldn’t come down to the cellar,
‘It’s too dark and creepy for me.’
I thought it would do for a storeroom,
It had its own hearth, and chimney.

One day I had leant on the mantle
When something had moved in the wall,
A bookshelf slid back near a candle,
Revealing an ancient priest hole,
But way beyond that was a tunnel
The led all the way to a crypt,
So this was their ancient escape route
For anything termed Catholic.

I thought I would wait to explore it
Till Kathy would like to come too,
But she had just shivered, ignored it,
And said, ‘you just do what you do.’
I couldn’t contain my excitement
As into that tunnel I went,
Imagining priests that had used it,
To burn at the stake, or repent.

Then halfway along in an alcove
I flashed the light, looking in there,
And there was a man in some red robes,
He sat, sprawling back in a chair,
And there on his skull was a mitre
That headdress for bishops of old,
And down by his side was a crozier,
All glittering, fashioned in gold.

But lying between his skeletal feet
Was a sight that I couldn’t absorb,
I felt at a loss, on top was a cross
On a gold and magnificent orb,
Caught short in his flight from the protestant’s might
He was stealing these treasures away,
In hopes that the realm of England returned
To the one true religion one day.

I picked up the crozier, picked up the orb
And I took them from where he had fled,
I didn’t tell Kathy, but thought it was best,
So I hid them both under our bed.
That night we heard chanting, a hymn in the dark
That had Kathy awake and in tears,
While I could see phantoms surrounding our bed
Giving form to a host of my fears.

There was an abomination of monks
That were filling the room from the stairs,
And chief among them was a bishop who stood
At the base of the bed, and just glared.
I leapt out of bed and recovered the orb,
And I handed the crozier to him,
He gave a faint smile, and then in a while
He was gone like a ghost cherubim.

I never went back to that tunnel again,
To tell you the truth, I was scared,
I knew that a fortune was hidden within
But to go back again, never dared.
I’m hoping that bishop has saved me a place
In a heaven for those who are saved,
So I can tell no-one where he lies in grace,
That knowledge I’ll take to my grave.

David Lewis Paget

© 2017 David Lewis Paget

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A very interesting tale my friend David.. I liked how you weaved the tale to perfect ending. Thank you for sharing the outstanding poetry.

Posted 3 Years Ago

Yes, It is not a good idea to mess with bishop ghosts! I don't blame you for not going back to that tunnel again! What a wonderful tale! I really enjoyed reading this - it flowed well with a rhythm and wording which kept me on tender hooks, and a very hopeful ending. I must find out a bit more about ballads.( or is this a 'narrative'?) Thank you.

Posted 4 Years Ago

A powerful yet frightful tale. I love the way you draw readers in. Excellent storytelling.

Posted 4 Years Ago

Another powerful narrative masterfully shared, drawing this humble reader in with each successive line to the very end. Story telling at its best, thanks for sharing.


Posted 4 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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5 Reviews
Added on May 10, 2017
Last Updated on May 10, 2017
Tags: Tudors, wainscoting, mantle, alcove


David Lewis Paget
David Lewis Paget

Moonta, South Australia, Australia



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