David Lewis Paget
Waxwork - Poem by David Lewis Paget
The Waxworks of Nathaniel Trask
Had an entrance that was grim,
Beneath a couple of arches
There were gargoyles, looking in.
He’d only featured murderers
In the past, or so he said,
But now he wanted to branch on out,
As long as the model was dead.
I asked if he wanted celebrities,
He said they were overdone,
‘I’ll leave celebs to Madam Tussaud’s,
She’s waxed them, every one,
I’d like to capture the spirit of youth
Before time takes its toll,
To reach inside, then draw it out…’
(He was talking about the soul) .
Something about the way he spoke
Sent a shiver along my spine,
The soul is such an intangible thing
But I’d like to hang on to mine,
He said he’d have to be there at the death
With a cauldron of hot wax,
And pounce, to capture that final breath
Before the body relaxed.
‘She’d have to be sixteen years or so,
Or twenty years, at the top,
I’d like to capture that innocence
Before the woman shows up,
For life is such a corrupting force
That the signs show in the face,
The eyes reflect the depth of the soul
And the state of perfect grace.’
I’d always thought him eccentric, now
I thought there was evil too,
I knew that he’d stop at nothing, just
To do what he wanted to.
He started visiting local schools
Inviting each class for free,
To go and look at his Waxworks
While he waved the usual fee.
I didn’t visit for quite some time
I was forced to work away,
And hardly gave it another thought
‘Til he called me up that day,
He said, ‘I need you to come down here,
I’ve got myself in a fix,
I managed to capture the beauty, but
The soul is playing tricks! ’
I called that night when a silver Moon
Was barely up in the sky,
Casting its ghostly shadows on
The gargoyles, up on high,
I gently tapped and he let me in,
The place was cloaked in gloom,
He led me silently down the stairs
Where he worked in a secret room.
In there, was stood on a marble plinth
The form of a naked girl,
‘I haven’t got round to clothe her yet,
She’s as sweet as a new-found pearl! ’
I must admit that she took my breath
As a perfect work of art,
I said, ‘You’ve really outdone yourself,
Such beauty gladdens my heart! ’
‘Now what did you say about the soul,
I can only see the form? ’
‘I had it covered, it got away
When I tried to keep it warm! ’
I looked up into the waxwork’s eyes
And I staggered back in fear,
‘My God, what’s running on down her cheek?
It looks like a human tear! ’
‘The soul is still in the wax, I think,
I must have made a mistake!
That breath I thought was her last, was not,
I thought she wasn’t awake.’
And only then did the horror hit
As my mind began to whirl,
‘That isn’t simply a waxwork, it’s
A living, breathing girl! ’
The eyes in the waxwork followed me
As I walked from side to side,
They seemed to say, ‘Will you rescue me? ’
And I swear, I could have cried.
Nathaniel took a scalpel and
I thought he would cut her throat,
I grabbed his arm and I dragged him down
By the long tails of his coat!
‘You’ve got it wrong, ’ Nathaniel cried
As I pinned him to the floor,
‘It’s not a girl, it’s a waxwork with
The soul that escaped before! ’
I clawed away at the wax until
It fell as an empty shell,
For that’s the truth about beauty…
Just skin deep, then it fades as well.
Nathaniel cried to see the mess
That I’d made of his work of art,
‘I’d managed to capture a spell, ’ he said
And now, you’ve torn it apart! ’
The eyes that I thought were real, lay seeping
Silicon over the floor,
I never go near a waxworks now,
Nathaniel broke my jaw!
13 April 2013
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