David Lewis Paget

(22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)

The Big Black Dog in the Yard


They’d gone to live in an old stone house
On the further side of a hill,
‘You’ll come to enjoy the countryside.’
She said, ‘I never will!
I’ll miss my friends and the city streets,
And where will I go to shop? ’
‘You shop too much as it is, ’ he said,
‘Perhaps it’s the time to stop.’

He’d taken a job on a local farm,
He wanted to get away,
Away from her supercilious friends,
The ones that had made her stray.
He’d caught her necking with Edward Jones
At the Carlton, out for a drink,
The booze was seeping into her bones,
She needed to stop, and think.

She said it was only harmless fun,
He didn’t mean much to her,
‘He’s just a friend that I’ve known since when,
It was just a peck, I swear.’
‘Your friend’s been after your skirt too long,
He drinks you into a fog,
He’ll take advantage, so you beware,
I’ve heard that he’s called ‘Black Dog! ’

She wandered around the house alone
When he went to work at the farm,
Scoured the house for a bottle of gin,
Or something to keep her warm.
She looked out over the countryside,
Was suddenly on her guard,
For bounding over the garden stile
Was a big black dog in the yard.

His coat was sleek, and his body lean
And his tongue lolled out of his jaw,
She took a slug of the Gilbey’s Gin
Found hidden behind a door.
The dog lay panting, and stared at her
With its eyes of grim intent,
While she stared back through the window pane,
And trembled until it went.

A week went by, and it came each day,
And stared at her from the yard,
She couldn’t move while the dog was there
But she kept the windows barred.
When Ben came home from his daily toil
He could see she was most upset,
‘You’re pale and shivering, Gail, ’ he said,
‘What seems to be wrong, my pet? ’

‘I can’t go into the garden, Ben,
I’m stuck in this house all day,
It’s cold and lonely within these walls
Each time that you go away.’
‘You need to open the doors, ’ he said,
‘And open the windows too,
You should be letting the sun shine in
With the fresh air blowing through.’

She didn’t tell him about the dog,
She thought that he’d think her mad,
‘It’s only a dog, ’ she thought he’d say,
And suddenly felt quite sad.
‘I’ll try, ’ she muttered, but shook inside
At the thought of an open door,
With a big black dog come wandering in,
And slavering at the jaw.

It came each day for another week
Then she threw the window wide,
The breeze rushed in and it calmed her down
With the scent of the countryside.
The dog came up to the window then
And it placed its paws on the sill,
Its eyes had gleamed, turned red it seemed
And it almost broke her will.

She seemed to hear in her inner ear
What the dog, in its gruff, low tones,
Was beaming into her mind, so clear,
‘Come back to Edward Jones!
He’ll keep you clear of the countryside
And you’ll have your friends as well, ’
But reflected back from the black dog’s eyes
Was a scene from the depths of Hell!

That night, she spoke of the dog to Ben,
But he laughed, and shrugged it away,
‘It’s probably just a farmer’s dog
That comes over here to play.’
‘It’s more than that, I’m afraid of it,
For its eyes are cruel and hard, ’
Then Ben leaned over the window-sill,
The black dog stood in the yard.

It stayed a moment and then was gone,
It leapt back over the stile,
Then disappeared in a darkened field
While Ben just stood for a while.
His face was pale when he turned to Gail
And he said, ‘I’ll buy a gun.
He won’t come worrying you again,
By God, I’ll make him run! ’

He came back home the following day
To a house, so cold and still,
He placed the gun on the table, then
Looked over the window-sill.
The black dog stared, and its eyes were red
As it sneered its disregard,
For a bitch went following on behind
As they both took off from the yard.

14 April 2014

Submitted: Monday, April 14, 2014
Edited: Monday, April 14, 2014

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