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David Lewis Paget

Rookie - 616 Points (22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)

The Desk of Jeremy Thorpe


I haven’t the pocket to buy antiques
But often I like to go,
To sit at the antique auctions,
See who’s there, who’s in the know,
The men with yen and the businessmen
The Lords and the Ladies too,
Still with the loot their forebears stole
In 1642.

So guys like me can only watch
As the bids creep up each time,
Some of the things they’re bidding for,
It’s like white-collar crime,
There’s better stuff in a garage sale
Or found in a pile of junk,
I come away and I often say:
‘Well, that was a load of bunk! ’

But sometimes, at the end of the day
When the bids and the deals are done,
There are items that are cast away
Not even a bid, not one,
And they sit forlorn, out there on the lawn
Where everyone passed them by,
Waiting for owners to pick them up
Under a threatening sky.

That’s where I found the Georgian desk,
Beaten, battered and worn,
The side was scuffed and the top was chipped
With one side panel gone,
Someone had found it, out in a barn,
Under a pile of hay,
And brought it along on spec, they said,
They hoped it would go away.

I said, ‘Well what do you want for it,
I’ll cart it off in the truck, ’
He said, ‘I’m happy with forty quid! ’
I couldn’t believe my luck.
I got it home and I cleaned it up
And polished the ancient stain,
I’ll swear that the desk had smiled at me
With faith in itself, again.

And then I replaced the panel that
Was missing from times before,
But not before I’d inspected it,
Discovered a secret drawer,
And tucked in there was a parchment
Faded yet, and next to a quill,
It said, ‘Dear Margaret, hearken to me,
This love has made me ill! ’

A chill ran suddenly down my spine
The hairs rose up on my neck,
The room went dark as I placed the parchment
Down, face up on the desk.
I felt my heart beginning to pound
As I read what he had to say:
‘I came, my love, at the time you said,
But the soldiers took you away! ’

That was the day that changed my life
For the weather ‘til then was fine,
A cloud had come, and covered the sun
As I got to his final line,
Then thunder cracked and rattled the roof
While lightning shattered the birch,
He wrote, ‘Your father and his dragoons
Are out there, guarding the church.’

My mind was set in a turmoil, and
I paced for that afternoon,
Wondering who these people were
That had cast my life in gloom,
The only clue was the cursive date
And the name that he’d finely wrought,
For that was 1768
And his name was Jeremy Thorpe.

It seems they’d planned to elope and wed
In the church at Medlin Tort,
But the father said that he’d strike him dead
Despite what his daughter thought,
For Jeremy was a colonist,
And would take his daughter there,
To the Massachusetts colony,
Revolution in the air!

The nights that I couldn’t sleep, I paced
And wandered from room to room,
The study was faintly lighted by
A waning, rising Moon,
One night a young man sat at the desk
With a powdered wig and quill,
And wrote, ‘My Heart, all hope has fled,
But for me, I love you still.’

I went there looking for answers in
The local reading room,
I searched the shelves of the library
And I found an ancient tome,
A Margaret Evancourt had died
Imprisoned in a mill,
And left a note, ‘My Jeremy,
This heart bleeds for you still.’

That night I sat at the Georgian desk
Picked up the quill and I wrote,
Nothing of great import, but just
A simple, one line note,
I left it there on the desk, and laid
It underneath the quill,
It said, ‘Your love is imprisoned,
You will find her down at the mill! ’

I never saw him again, my note
Had gone when I arose,
I couldn’t wait to be off, in haste
I struggled with my clothes,
Then down at the little church I’d found
Still there, at Medlin Tort,
Were written the wedding lines I’d sought
Of Margaret Evancourt.

21 July 2013

Submitted: Saturday, July 20, 2013
Edited: Monday, July 22, 2013

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