Vane, venal Sir Dominick


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
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.


Sir Dominick’s Bargain

“Poor Sir Dominick. Vane, venal Sir Dominick
What hope did you ever have?”

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.


Four blue spiral notebooks

Everything about you was burned
In four blue spiral notebooks one afternoon
You crackled and spat and rose into the autumn sky
A drifting cloud of tiny black pieces
Like snowflakes in reverse

I took a stick and turned you
Page by page into the orange flame
Every poem, every song,
Every drawing, every memory
Catching and creasing and turning to ash
I felt the heat of you on my face
I had the taste of you in my lungs

When all were done I stamped you out and buried you
Under cold dirt and wet leaves
Now you are gone and you will not come back
And I will never think of you again
I will never think of you again.

House Story

This old house has cracks all over the place
Across the ceiling
Up some of the walls
All over the place
We had a surveyor come to look them over before we bought it
He said they were nothing to worry about
“Just the leftovers from some historical shift”
He said it so casually. “Historical shift”
As though things that happened in the past
Are not worth worrying about anymore

When we first moved in we found
Cigarette burns on the carpets
A scratch down one of the doors
And a crack in a window pane
Just as though someone had fallen against it
Or thrown something at it
All these scars from incidents or accidents
The house still remembers
But we don’t know anything about.

Some of these cracks are well hidden
So they’re easy to ignore or to miss
If you don’t know what you’re looking at.
We have them all covered up
With paint and plaster
And pictures and wallpaper
Some of them, though, are too wide
And too deep to disguise like that
They are obvious for everyone to see
No matter what we do to try and hide them.

Useless Things

Is this the way to help you read my mind?
Through these strange symbols
Scratched In black on white?
Can you not see it in my eyes?
Can you not hear it in my sigh
What useless things words are.
Why can’t we always talk instead through
This gentle press of loving arms
Through soft caresses and silent calm
Through long walks on empty beaches
Where the pattern of our footprints intertwined
Says more about us than any poem ever could

The song is in the step

The song is in the step
In the warm hum of weary calves and tired limbs
In the stomp of boots over gravel,
Through wet leaves, on rocks, through heather
In the unconscious, self perpetuating repetition of the step

The song is in the air
Crisp and cold, still like ice and
Untasted by anyone but you and I
The song is in the cry of startled grouse
The swift coloured flashes of meadow birds and dragonflies
In the strange, distant bellowing of unseen beasts

The song is in the light
Changing with every breath.
Bright one moment, dark the next
In the colours that wash our trail,
Each turn a new shade, a new character revealed

The song is in the path
In the stones and in the grass
The song is in the clouds and the mist
In the heat and the chill
On the moors and in the trees
The song that sings me is in all these places
But more than that
More than any of these
The song I listen for is in your lips
That song is in your smile, your whispers, your stories,
The chain of words that binds us together
Tighter and tighter with every step.


Gordon Hatton [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve been here all my days, he says
And from the lines on his face, the white of his hair
The tiny tremble of his leather strong hands
We can scarcely imagine how many years that might be

He tells us about the fishing fleet that sailed from here
How he started out on his father’s boat
Then sailed with brothers
Before one died and the other moved away
Until he was the only one left still sailing
Strong enough even now to put his hands in the cold waters
And see what he can pull out

He smiles when he tell us all this
As though to say he will be sailing here a few years yet
As though to say it will take something more than old age,
It will take something more profound than death
To move him away from this place

We could live for a hundred years and never have what he has
Our roots run shallow and thin
And the only footprints we leave sink softly into wet sand
Gone swiftly on the next wave