David Lewis Paget

(22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)

The Secret Women's Clique


Her skin was dark and her hair was black,
She walked with a Spanish sway,
‘She could be from South America, ’
I would hear the neighbours say,
She’d taken the cottage in Ansley Court,
Put seagrass mat on the floor,
Then given them something to talk about
With the shingle she hung on the door.

‘A Course is starting on Wednesday week
For the women of Risdon Vale,
“The Secret Rites of the Shuar Revealed, ”
(For ladies alone - No Male!)
The art of centuries, hidden ‘til now
Will be taught in a matter of weeks,
Be among the first to learn of these skills,
(At just sixty dollars, each!) ’

Said one, ‘It’s probably just a scam,
For what could she have to show? ’
‘This village is such a bore, ’ said Pam,
‘I’d pay to see rushes grow! ’
But curiosity killed the cat
They say, in that wise old saw,
And half the women of Risdon Vale
Turned up to the stranger’s door.

She took the women, one at a time
Examined each one alone,
Then chose just six to make up the course
And sent all the others home.
She’d weeded out all the gossipers,
And the ones that were loose of tongue,
Had sworn to secrecy those she chose
At an altar with candles on.

Not one of the chosen ones would speak,
Not one of them say a word,
They hung together in whispered cliques
And wouldn’t be overheard.
Their husbands too, were kept in the dark
When asked, they would heave a sigh,
Shrug their shoulders, and raise a brow
Though everyone wondered, ‘Why? ’

Ted Wilkins wasn’t impressed by this
And took himself to the pub,
‘I don’t like secrets, ’ he told his mates,
Then left to head for the scrub.
They said he’d gone with Emily Bates,
They’d been having it off for years,
‘Her cottage is suddenly empty too, ’
Said the wags in ‘The Bullock’s Curse.’

There wasn’t a tear in the Wilkins home,
She seemed to be quite relieved,
‘I always thought that she must have known, ’
So half of the Vale believed,
A woman alone is a tidy mark
For a man like Michael Stout,
They saw him creep to her house one night,
But no-one saw him come out.

The tongues were wagging in Risdon Vale
About ‘funny goings-on, ’
‘The preacher hasn’t been seen at church
Since that spat with Lucy Chong, ’
Then Red Redoubt who had beat his wife
Took off, when he knew the score,
For Gwen had bid him ‘good riddance’ when
He was heading on out the door.

The women met on a Wednesday night
And they burned a light ‘til dawn,
‘What do you think they do in there? ’
Said the gossip, Betty Spawn,
She crept up close to the house one night
And peered at the light within,
So Pam came out and surprised her there,
Said, ‘Why don’t you come right in! ’

The six week course was almost done
When the police came round one night,
Kicked the door of the cottage in,
Gave the girls a terrible fright.
‘We need to know what you’re doing here,
There are rumours, round about, ’
But the woman from South America
In the dark, had slipped on out.

There were pots and pans and cooking things
And a smell of something stale,
‘We’ve been learning all these secret things
But we can’t tell you, you’re male! ’
Then a cry came out from another room
From a lad in the local police,
He said, ‘There’s six new shrunken heads
Out here on the mantelpiece! ’

Submitted: Sunday, September 08, 2013
Edited: Monday, September 09, 2013

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David Lewis Paget

Comments about this poem (The Secret Women's Clique by David Lewis Paget )

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  • Noreen Carden (9/15/2013 1:51:00 PM)

    Hello David you certainly know how to draw the reader into the fabric of the story you are weaving
    well done i am really enjoying reading.Well written (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

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