Treasure Island

David Lewis Paget

(22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)

Headed for Paradise


The Vicar, Reverend Birkenshaw
Was a man deep filled with gloom,
He often regretted his calling
On a rain filled afternoon,
The church was old, so damp and cold
And the vestry far too small,
He’d stand so grim for the morning hymn,
No joy in it at all.

The Bishop told him to lift his game
To stand at the door and smile,
‘There’s plenty of curates want your job,
Leave you by a country mile.’
He bowed his head, and he’d try, he said,
But the Bishop made him curse,
Of all the living’s he could have had
Saint Anselm’s was the worst.

The congregation was paltry
And they never had filled the plate,
They’d toss in their frequent flyers
With a coin too old to date,
There wasn’t a single gardener
For the graveyard round the church,
The ground was soggy and overgrown
And it made the headstones lurch.

Then Roger Bodge had arrived one day
On the end of his mother’s arm,
She said, ‘I want you to teach the boy,
To keep him away from harm,
He’s lots of muscle but not much brain
The cord was around his neck,
He’s a sandwich short of a picnic, but
You can teach the boy respect.’

So Birkenshaw saw the boy was raw,
And sent him out in the grounds,
Straightening up the headstones and
Cutting the willows down,
He gave him a rusty shovel, said:
‘Now you’ll be digging the graves,
The Lord was simply a carpenter,
It’s only the meek he saves.’

So Roger sweated and dug a grave,
The vicar said, ‘Doing well! ’
But Roger frowned, deep in the ground
He thought he was through to hell.
He stood aside at a burial,
And watched as the coffin dropped,
‘He wasn’t bad, ’ he said to the lad,
‘It’s just that his heart had stopped.’

‘Does anyone ever get out, ’ said Bodge,
And looked in the vicar’s eyes,
The vicar frowned, ‘No, once in the ground
You’re headed for paradise.’
So Roger smiled, and his face lit up
‘We’re sending him off in style? ’
The vicar thought of the Devil’s maw
But humoured him for a while.

The vicar was fond of his tipple, and
He kept his Port in the nave,
When staggering back to the manse one night
He fell in a new dug grave,
He called and called, but nobody heard
So he spent the night in the ground,
When Roger called in the morning
Birkenshaw was not to be found.

He wandered out with his shovel there
And he heard the vicar shout,
Found him lying, down in the ground
Too deep to pull him out,
He thought of what the vicar had said
So disregarded his cries,
And brought the shovel down on his head
To send him to paradise.

The Bishop came and he sought him out,
‘Just where is the vicar, lad? ’
‘I’ve just completed filling him in,
I think that he’s rather glad.
He couldn’t wait for a wooden box
So he jumped right in ahead.’
The Bishop groaned, and he made his moan,
‘Oh the paperwork! ’ he said.

21 June 2013

Submitted: Friday, June 21, 2013
Edited: Friday, July 26, 2013

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