David Lewis Paget (22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)
The god from the past came stalking,
Came clambering over the hill,
He’d woken first thing in the morning
With a hangover, fit to chill,
Those Roman debauches with grapes and wine,
The reds and the whites of the Tuscan kind,
The fruit of an overburdened vine,
Were sapping his energy still.
He’d rubbed at his eyes in the dawning,
And wondered where everyone went,
For nothing remained of the Roman baths
Not even a soldier’s tent,
And where was the maiden he’d last embraced
The sweet Lucina, so fair of face,
Whose long held virtue was laid to waste
When the force of his love was spent.
Invidia’s green and brooding eyes
Had watched as he laid her down,
Had mixed her potions to match his lies
As they struggled, there on the ground.
She thought, ‘No god should be so remiss
As to offer a rival a tainted kiss,
From now, I’ll act as his Nemesis,
He’ll sleep while the world turns round.
She poured him a draught of her potion then
The last of his thirst to slake,
Though Empires rose and fell again
She vowed that he’d never wake.
The buildings crumbled and turned to dust
As the god dreamt long of his love, and lust,
While Nemesis thought her scheme was just
And the field turned into a lake.
The ages tired and the gods retired
To their mansions, high on the mount,
But he continued to sleep and dream
More years than he could count,
The god slept through in a dream sublime
While generations were buried in lime,
Two thousand years was a blink in time
For the gods in their banishment.
He woke on a chilly Autumn day
And found himself in a lake,
Shivered once, and then strode away
For his heart had begun to ache,
He walked down into a valley plain
Green and fresh in the Autumn rain,
When out of a tunnel streamed a train
With a scream, and the squeal of brakes.
‘By Juvenal! ’ cried the god in shock
As the carriages streamed on by,
Then up above, like a giant gnat
A vehicle flew in the sky.
‘The world has changed since I fell asleep
The gods have fled to the mountain keep,
And men have conjured a giant leap,
The world has passed us by! ’
He ran headlong through the tunnel
Hoping to find Lucina again,
And that was the great explosion that
Nobody could explain.
The diesel engine was rendered flat
With carriages piled on top of that,
While Nemesis on the mountain sat
Her tears flowing like rain!
7 July 2013
Comments about this poem (Nemesis by David Lewis Paget )
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