A fair and a feast for a new Squire

VII
A fair and a feast for a new squire
The young master of Dunoran
There was dancing and fiddling
A welcome for all to come see
This grand estate at its finest

We had wine for the gentlemen and ladies
Beer and cider enough to float a ship on
All the farmhands and the stableboys
All the maids and the servant girls
All the pipers in the county came to
Raise a cheer for our Sir Dominick

Feast for a week and then feast for a month
Feast till the weather breaks and work returns
‘Till none but the master was left feasting
And dancing and drinking and dicing
A sinful darkness upon him, they said,
A bold compulsion to drain a fortune
As though it were a barrel. A fever
That raged and barked, that burned all it touched
‘till everything was gone and nothing was left
And the house we feasted in stood empty
And disgraced and quiet and alone

The master of Dunoran
The last of the Sarsfields
Shame of an old family
Gone to travel abroad
Gone to flee the money lenders
While debts still grow and this sad
Old house rots in the woods

Gone for a year, gone for three
Waiting for an east wind
To blow home through the mountains
A cold and lonesome sound
So hopeless and afraid
“It is all over with me,” it says
“It is all past praying for now.”

 

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.

 

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The woods here are nothing they once were

VI
Hazel and birch tree, oak and fir
Down in the wood of Murroa
Where roots burrow deep
Where leaves grow so thick
That no full moon ever shines.

In the dark wood of Murroa
Who knows what a man might find?
Shadows that speak
And beg for release
While the devil himself rides by

A gentleman walks out at midnight
A rope tied to a noose in his hand
At the end of his path
Is a door like a trap
For the unwary soul to fall in

So it was when I was a boy
When my grandfather told this tale
But time is a child
That burns all it finds
And now only his story remains

This grand old wood of Murroa
Cut down till the mountain is bare
Now the shadows are quiet
And the doors are shut tight
And the woods here are nothing they once were.

 

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.

This story still has some telling to do

V
It is an old story this one
But, you’ll believe me when I say
All the more true for being so

My grandfather first told it me
When I was only a tiny boy
And I’ve spoken and I’ve sung it out

More times than you could ever count
To anyone who’ll listen
To anyone who will hear me

But my back is twisted now and
My head is grey and I know that
Soon enough I’ll be put under this turf

Where my skin will rot and my bones bleach
And there will be nobody left
Who’ll want to listen to me

So this story is yours now
Take it and tell it any way you like
Tell it as many times as you like

In dark forests and by firesides
On dusty pages, in songs or sonnets
Shape it and change it and turn it

This story belongs to you now
This strange legend of dunoran
This story has some telling still to do

 

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 last master of Dunoran

IV
Higher than a man could reach
Higher than a man could leap
A rust coloured stain on the plaster of a wall

Not a mark from the weather
And not a strange vein of mould
It is nothing, no, nothing so lucky as those

A splash of old brains and blood it is
Where the skull of the squire was crushed
By the hand of the devil in a furious rage
As the midnight bells rang out

Marked there for a hundred years now
And marked there for a hundred more
No human hand will clear it, and no rain will wash it off

The last master of Dunoran
The last of the Sarsfield kin
He’ll never leave this place now. Not while these stones still stand.

 

‘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.

 

Food for worms

III
This ruined house stands doorless and open now
Silent and abandoned. Black mould stains on
Tall walls thick with ivy. It’s broken roof
Hangs wide and ragged, barking at the sky.

Such a grand house in its day. The pride of
A whole county. A place of revelry
And warm welcomes. Of wine and candlelight
Golden threaded ballgowns and midnight masques.

The marble-staircased heart of a small world
Now weatherbroken and bowed down
The transitoriness of all things writ clear
In spoiled plaster, grey stone and wet oak.

From the twilight sneers an unpleasant drawl
It’s whisper shocking in the sombre gloom
Harsh and oppressive and close in your ear
Repeating and repeating
“Food for worms, dead and rotten.
Food for worms. God over all.”

‘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.

 

I travel to Dunoran

II
I travel to Dunoran
By bog and hill, by winding stream and twisting road
By rocky gorge and mountain range
By wild moor and straggling wood

I travel to Dunoran for business
By mail coach and by horseback
By posting house and rough thatched country inn
I travel as a gentleman will do
Solitary and melancholy
But with eyes wide open
A curious seeker after strange tales

I have no face, I have no name
I have no voice, save for the one in your head
I am the stranger by the fireside,
A wanderer in the woods
I am the ghost at the heart of the story
I am the ghost you cannot see but for looking

I travel to Dunoran
Up a long grass road, under the shadow of tall trees
Along the ridge of a precipice
At the wild edge of an ancient forest
To an old house, ruined and delapidated
Lonely and morose
I travel to Dunoran

‘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.

 

Vane, venal Sir Dominick

I

Poor Sir Dominick. Vane, venal Sir Dominick
What hope did you ever have?
Spent your money ‘till every last guinea is gone
On drink and dice, on women and dogs
We know your story before you even start the telling
No bargain like yours ever did end well

Go to France, Sir Dominick
Take your guns and your horses
Take the first coin on offer and
Fight for Napoleon, fight for Wellington
Die on a battlefield as you were born to
With a sword in your hand and blood in your nostrils
It is a better end than any awaits you in Dunoran

Poor Sir Dominick. Proud, boastful Sir Dominick
He will come when your need is greatest
He will offer you that which you want most
Though the cost will be more than
Anyone could imagine

Poor Sir Dominick.
What hope did you ever have?
The trees stand tall here tonight
Their shadows hang thick around you
Listen
There is the sound of footsteps approaching.

 

 

‘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, orBarnes and Noble.