Sir Dominick’s Bargain

“Poor Sir Dominick. Faithless, feeble Sir Dominick
Some stains you cannot clean from your soul

The heir to a fortune squanders his inheritance on wine and gambling. Destitute and alone, he makes a desperate bargain with a gentleman he meets one midnight. For seven years he will have all the riches he craves. But what will happen to him, what will become of him when those seven years are done?

Sheridan Le Fanu’s story of a man’s pact with the devil is retold in 14 poems by Rufus Woodward.

‘Sir Dominick’s Bargain’ is Chapbook number one of four volumes published by the Olgada Press.

To read all four for free, please visit us at Amazon, Smashwords, ibooks, or Barnes and Noble.

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Faithless, feeble Sir Dominick

XIV
Poor Sir Dominick. Faithless, feeble Sir Dominick
Some stains you cannot clean from your soul
He comes at midnight
Here by appointment
To keep a promise

Too late for priests and prayers now
Too late to run, too late to hide
How happy, now, how inviting looks
That old oak tree with its open noose?

Like a coward you bluster
Like a child you plead
But the stranger is not for listening
Not a gentleman any longer
His coat is ragged, his shirt torn
Long matted hair worn for breeches
He takes a step towards you
He puts his stong hands upon you
And throws you to the wall
And smashes your head in pieces there

Lights go out. A door crashes closed.
A gale blows through an empty house.
From the fireplace, ashes fly and
Hang in the air, glowing silent
For an eternity, it seems
Before dropping and vanishing

Outside there is a howling
A crying of beasts in panic
Two shadows ride from Dunoran
Silent and uncanny, while
Your body lies in the courtyard
Cold and stiffening already

Poor Sir Dominick. Lost, damned Sir Dominick
What hope did you ever have?
Your bargain is not yet ended.

 

The heir to a fortune squanders his inheritance on wine and gambling. Destitute and alone, he makes a desperate bargain with a gentleman he meets one midnight. For seven years he will have all the riches he craves. But when seven years are done, what will become of him then?

Sheridan Le Fanu’s story of a man’s pact with the devil is retold in 14 poems by Rufus Woodward.

‘Sir Dominick’s Bargain’ is Chapbook number one of four volumes published by the Olgada Press.

To read all four for free, please visit us at Amazon, Smashwords, ibooks,or Barnes and Noble.

 

The fear is upon me worse every day

XIII
The fear is upon me worse every day
Fierce and growing, blowing like a gale in my
Face, a roar in my ears. Fever claws sharp in
My flesh. A poison in my blood. I dare not
Trust my eyes any longer. My tongue is thick
And tastes of ashes, and tastes of sodden earth.
I have not spoken to any man in days.
Thoughts scatter and tumble like shattered glass.
I cannot drink enough to draw them together.
Only one thing I do know – he is coming
He is coming, he is coming for me.

Oh God, can you forgive me? Father can you
Help me? I would give up much to be free of
This. I will make my confession. I will make
My penancy, give over all my vices, change all
My ways, live in retreat like a hermit, as your
Servant, as your servant, Lord. Oh God, please let
These prayers save me. Oh Lord, please let these
Prayers save me. Please let these prayers save me.

 

The heir to a fortune squanders his inheritance on wine and gambling. Destitute and alone, he makes a desperate bargain with a gentleman he meets one midnight. For seven years he will have all the riches he craves. But when seven years are done, what will become of him then?

Sheridan Le Fanu’s story of a man’s pact with the devil is retold in 14 poems by Rufus Woodward.

‘Sir Dominick’s Bargain’ is Chapbook number one of four volumes published by the Olgada Press.

To read all four for free, please visit us at Amazon, Smashwords, ibooks,or Barnes and Noble.

A single brass needle

XI
A single brass needle pricks
Three drops of blood from a vein
Strange words scratched on parchment slips
And now our bargain is made

For seven years I serve you
When that time ends, you serve me
A master and his servant

 

The heir to a fortune squanders his inheritance on wine and gambling. Destitute and alone, he makes a desperate bargain with a gentleman he meets one midnight. For seven years he will have all the riches he craves. But when seven years are done, what will become of him then?

Sheridan Le Fanu’s story of a man’s pact with the devil is retold in 14 poems by Rufus Woodward.

‘Sir Dominick’s Bargain’ is Chapbook number one of four volumes published by the Olgada Press.

To read all four for free, please visit us at Amazon, Smashwords, ibooks,or Barnes and Noble.

 

Take this gift and belong to me

X
“Take this gift and belong to me,” he says
He does not lie to you
Though the truth he tells will be
Too terrible for you to hear

A handsome gentleman with a hollow smile
With a gold laced coat and a voice like warm wine
He does not offer a name
But you know who your master will be
It is the sharp edged taste in the air that tells you
It is the way his eyes know you
The way each hair on your neck stands high
The red itch on your chest where your crucifix lies

“Take this bag of coins and more will follow,” he says
Not pebbles, not stones, not nutshells
Not empty promises to taunt and mock
And disappear come morning
A bag as wide as a hat
Full of guineas bright and new
A dreadful brightness to take in your arms
It is the heaviest load you will ever carry

“Take this good fortune and use it all,” he says
Though your heart tells you not to
Though your scalp creeps and your hands tremble
And your skin turns cold at the thought of it
You do just as he says
Because debts are due with more to follow
And demands rise on all sides
And there are no friends left to turn to
And there is nothing left to do
But continue the journey just begun

“You found the money good but not enough,” he says
“No matter. Come with me.
Are you willing?”

 

The heir to a fortune squanders his inheritance on wine and gambling. Destitute and alone, he makes a desperate bargain with a gentleman he meets one midnight. For seven years he will have all the riches he craves. But when seven years are done, what will become of him then?

Sheridan Le Fanu’s story of a man’s pact with the devil is retold in 14 poems by Rufus Woodward.

‘Sir Dominick’s Bargain’ is Chapbook number one of four volumes published by the Olgada Press.

To read all four for free, please visit us at Amazon, Smashwords, ibooks,or Barnes and Noble.

Gamble and gamble again

IX
You know some men who would rather lose than win
No matter what game it is they play
Losing becomes an addiction for some men
The taste they crave is bleak and bittersweet
The acid cut of recrimination
The shifting fog of lost illusion

Some men will do anything to lose
If it will bring their hand to a swift end
They will happily squander a fortune
Betray all their family, shame their name
And think nothing of it. These men you know
Might choose to die at any moment
And be glad of it. And be grateful

This is not the kind of man you are
You are a gambler. You are not
Afraid to lose, but you will not love it
Even with the most hopeless hand you will
Stay at the table, you will fight and play
You will wait for the game to move your way

So now, at midnight in the wood of Murroa
Darkness so thick you cannot see your step
Why play a move you could never return from?
No. Take off the noose that hangs round your neck
Stay in the game while the dice are still rolling
Gamble and gamble and gamble again

 

The heir to a fortune squanders his inheritance on wine and gambling. Destitute and alone, he makes a desperate bargain with a gentleman he meets one midnight. For seven years he will have all the riches he craves. But when seven years are done, what will become of him then?

Sheridan Le Fanu’s story of a man’s pact with the devil is retold in 14 poems by Rufus Woodward.

‘Sir Dominick’s Bargain’ is Chapbook number one of four volumes published by the Olgada Press.

To read all four for free, please visit us at Amazon, Smashwords, ibooks,or Barnes and Noble.

Come home

VIII
Come home to go away again
Come home from far off places. Come
To see Dunoran one last time.
Come home, blown on an anxious wave
To see, as if for the first time
How small the old place looks, how grey
How tired and unimportant.

Come home laughing. Bitter laughter.
Bent double over a tree trunk
Coughing out curses, choked on a
Thought that sticks in your throat. Who is
The joke on if not you yourself?

Come home, not like a father, not
Like a lover and not like a
Soldier returning from a war.
Come home like a ghost to walk these
Cold walls at midnight when noone
Can see, to stand in the darkness
With noone to wait inside for you
Noone to sing sweet songs for you
Noone to weep or mourn for you
Noone even to notice if
You ever come home at all.

Come home with a plan in your mind
Come home with a purpose you dare
Not voice, not even to yourself
Come home
Come home to go away again.

 

The heir to a fortune squanders his inheritance on wine and gambling. Destitute and alone, he makes a desperate bargain with a gentleman he meets one midnight. For seven years he will have all the riches he craves. But when seven years are done, what will become of him then?

Sheridan Le Fanu’s story of a man’s pact with the devil is retold in 14 poems by Rufus Woodward.

‘Sir Dominick’s Bargain’ is Chapbook number one of four volumes published by the Olgada Press.

To read all four for free, please visit us at Amazon, Smashwords, ibooks,or Barnes and Noble.