David Lewis Paget

(22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)

Out of Time!


The Moon was rising, over the hill
Along with the evening star,
They lit the lane he was walking, ‘til
He could see the lights of a car,
They were headed up in the narrow lane
So he had to jump out wide,
Then it hurtled over the flowing rill,
Rolled, and lay on its side.

He stood in shock for a moment there
Then ran to do what he could,
But flames burst out of the tangled wreck
At the edge of McNalty’s Wood.
He heard a woman, screaming in pain
Who was trapped inside the car,
But the tank blew up, as he knew it would
So he watched it, from afar.

The door on top of the wreck flew up
As the air began to scorch,
The woman climbed from the burning wreck
But was lit like a flaming torch,
She stood engulfed for a moment there
As the flames devoured her hair,
And screamed, ‘I’m coming to get you, John,
In the dead of the night, beware! ’

Then all he saw was a staring skull
As the flesh peeled off the bone,
The body shuddered, and then collapsed
As he turned, and ran for home.
His heart was pounding a steady beat
As he ran, and stumbled there,
The voice that rang in his ears was shrill,
‘In the dead of the night, beware! ’

He knew the woman, he knew the car
And a terror entered his soul,
He’d left her stood at the altar, while
He hid in his coward’s hole,
He’d packed his bag, and travelling things
While her father stood at the door,
Loading a pair of cartridges
And sworn to even the score.

He’d left the town in the dead of night
Had driven a hundred miles,
Buried himself in the countryside
In a shack called ‘Seven Dials’.
There were seven clocks in the tiny shack
That would tick and tock in turn,
They each were named for a crying shame
And the seventh clock was ‘Burn.’

The first was named ‘Disloyalty’
And the second ‘Coward’s Toll’,
The third had hands but a vacant face
And its name was ‘Empty Soul.’
The fourth had written across its face
A single wording, ‘Scare! ’
The fifth was draped in a veil of lace
With the only word, ‘Despair.’

He thought of stopping the ticking clocks
But they ticked on through the night,
He’d wake up drenched in a sweat, and when
He rose, his face was white,
The sixth clock hung in the kitchen, was
The only clock to chime,
But then would lock, the ticking stop
While the name said, ‘Out of time! ’

He lay low after the burning car
Would not go out for a week,
He locked the doors and the windows,
Every night, but took a peek,
The world outside by the darkened wood
Was a place to chill and scare,
The wind would whisper among the trees,
‘In the dead of the night, beware! ’

A month went by, they buried the corpse
That they found by the burnt out car,
He thought he’d beaten the woman’s curse
So he left the door ajar,
A gale blew up and it swung the door
Out wide in the dead of night,
And a shape appeared in the doorway
As he woke in a sudden fright.

She seemed to shimmer while standing there
In a charred silk wedding dress,
‘You didn’t think you’d escape me now
That you’ve left me such a mess, ’
A breeze had lifted her veil by then
There was just a moment’s lull,
Then he stared at her and she stared right back
From a charred and blackened skull.

He screamed as only a man can scream
When the terror eats his soul,
A flame burst out of the wedding dress
And devoured the woman whole,
The shack went up and the ticking stopped
Of the first six dials in turn,
But above the crackle of flames he heard
That last clock ticking, ‘Burn! ’

Submitted: Sunday, September 15, 2013
Edited: Monday, September 16, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

15 September 2013

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  • Noreen Carden (9/15/2013 9:24:00 AM)

    Hello David what a wonderful story wrapped up in a brilliant poem. It took me back in time to when my father s friend would come to our house and he would recite all these epic tales i remember one was called The green eye of the little yellow god.Thank you for bringing me back to happy day s.Great poem well done (Report) Reply

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