Treasure Island

David Lewis Paget

(22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)

The Ice Scream

The last of the autumn sun had gone,
The winter was blowing in,
And on her broom, the witch of the north
Arrived with her bag of sin,
We’d laid new straw in the cattle byre
Locked in the rooster and hen,
But the fox had dug right under the wire
And done for them both again.

The pigs got out, and rooted around
And trampled the pumpkins in,
When Molly said, ‘I tell you again,
It’s down to old Martha’s kin.
She’ll be the death of the poor old duck,
Her flounces and bill and coo,
She’s got all the menfolk ruffled up
And I’ve seen her looking at you! ’

I looked away and I baled the hay
At the mention of Lizzie Pride,
She’d come to stay at her aunt’s the day
Her mother and father died,
But Martha couldn’t control her then
She had the place in a whirl,
With her long, long legs, and eyes that begged
That said ‘I’m a wayward girl.’

She’d had Tom Horne in a field of corn,
She’d had Dick Black in the hay,
And in the barn of our rustic farm
She’d bared her legs my way,
Now Molly is just a homely wench
And she rarely lights my spark,
But Lizzie Pride took my breath aside
And I had her, out in the park.

The frost came in with a vengeance
And it froze the edge of the tarn,
She said, ‘It’s getting too cold out here,
I’ll meet you back in the barn.’
I knew it was getting dangerous
For Molly had seemed forlorn,
She’d got to whisper with Mrs. Black
And the girlfriend of Tom Horne.

The rumours started away back then
That a certain girl was cursed,
The cows got undulant fever
With our milking shed the worst,
The evil follows the witch, they said,
Then a pig and a heifer died,
And Molly pointed the finger, then
Went into the house and cried.

I’d been up late with a bloated cow
So for once I slept in late,
And when I woke there was no-one there,
I went to the garden gate,
And over at the edge of the tarn
They were there with the ducking chair,
With Lizzie tied as she screamed and cried
They ducked her down to her hair.

I ran as fast as I could, I called,
I ranted and screamed and raved,
They’d ducked her down for the second time
Through the hole in the ice they’d made,
I waded in and I pulled her out
And I said, ‘She’s never a witch! ’
Then looked at Molly, her eyes cast down:
‘By God, you’re an evil bitch! ’

I went alone to the funeral
Of that young and carefree heart,
Nobody else would come along
Or admit they’d played a part,
Then I packed a bag and said goodbye
To Molly and all I knew,
But think of those fateful words each day:
‘I’ve seen her looking at you! ’

Submitted: Friday, June 14, 2013
Edited: Saturday, June 15, 2013

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