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.

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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.

 

Sir Dominick’s Bargain XIV

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.

 

Sir Dominick’s Bargain, 14 poems by Rufus Woodward based on the story by Sheridan Le Fanu.  Now available.

Sir Dominick’s Bargain XIII

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.

 

Sir Dominick’s Bargain, 14 poems by Rufus Woodward based on the story by Sheridan Le Fanu.  Now available.

Sir Dominick’s Bargain XII

XII

Seven years
Seven years of all the pleasures
All the glories of the world
Seven years of enough and more to spare
Of never owing a penny
Of never missing a card, never losing a wager
Seven years of hounds and horses
Of great company, of grand nights
Of woman at hand and wine to drink
Of never a moment without a bright fire lit

Seven years of madness
Of troubled thoughts as black as the night
Of desperate diversion, of empty prosperity
Seven years of knowing
Seven years of waiting
Of wishing for a place to turn, a place to hide
Seven years of unwanted visitors in lonely places
Of pale riders come at your side
Terrible creatures in godless shapes
Leering and laughing, filthy and ragged
Who is the master now?
Who is the servant?
What is to come when seven years are done?
What is to become of me when seven years are done?

 

Sir Dominick’s Bargain, 14 poems by Rufus Woodward based on the story by Sheridan Le Fanu.  Now available.

Sir Dominick’s Bargain X

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?

 

Sir Dominick’s Bargain, 14 poems by Rufus Woodward based on the story by Sheridan Le Fanu.  Now available.