David Lewis Paget
The Devil and Demon Park
The girl that captured my heart, I knew
As Angela Dupree,
She stood at the centre of every group
At the university,
The comb in her hair was tortoiseshell,
Her necklace, crosses and beads
And silver bangles jangled her wrists
While her dress trailed lace at the knees.
The hair that fell at her shoulders was
More silvery then, than grey,
She said: ‘It's a strange genetic thing
That came from my grandma's way! '
We went to the self-same English tute
But she barely spared me a glance,
She favoured the sweatier, sporting type
So I didn't stand much of a chance!
I'd watch her in the refectory
As she sipped her herbal teas,
But glanced away from the leering mob,
From their ribald jokes, and pleas,
As each of them tried to seize her hand
And vie for her every smile;
While soaking in their adoring spin
She basked in their wit, and guile!
They'd form a huddle beside the quad
With Angela at the core,
And pass the tokes with their feeble jokes
But kept their eyes on the door,
She came to the tutes all glassy-eyed,
And dreamed, not saying a word,
‘Til the tutor noticed, took her aside,
But I doubt if she even heard.
She failed a paper on Rupert Brooke,
I saw the look of alarm,
She'd never failed an assignment yet
But I saw the tracks in her arm,
Her face grew troubled, her brow was dark
With the slide, already begun,
Down to the Devil and Demon Park
And on to oblivion!
I found her sitting alone one day
And sat right down by her side,
‘Your ‘friends' will take you to hell and back
But they're just along for the ride! '
She looked at me and she curled her lip:
‘So why would you even care? '
But she saw the love-light shine in my eyes,
As I caught the scent of her hair!
She wept, and muttered: ‘It's far too late,
I'm weak, and sick as can be!
All I can think is - how can I score?
Get rid of this devil in me! '
‘There isn't an easy path, ' I said,
‘But start by taking my arm,
I'll see you clear, though the demons jeer,
And I'll keep you free from harm! '
I spent a week in her unit there
As she twisted, turned, perspired,
I mopped her brow and I gave her strength
Though she swore, and cursed, and cried.
There were times that she said she hated me,
There were times that she lay and wept,
She would suffer the fits of pain and cramps,
But there at the end, she slept!
I'd like to say that it all worked out
That we fell in love in the end,
But once recovered, she kissed me, said:
‘I will treasure you, as a friend! '
I was there when she married a banker's son,
Was feeling a tear begin,
But she saw me then, and she whispered, ‘Hush!
An Angel has just come in! '
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- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
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- If, Rudyard Kipling
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
- No Man Is An Island, John Donne
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
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