The Wrecker by Neville Paddy

Customs man with his musket primed,
Death within his curled finger,
No mercy given within his aim,
On a wrecker who dared to linger,
Fired lead ball struck naked flesh,
Hurling the wrecker into foam,
Death’s reaching hand lay upon him,
A body bloody lay upon sea stone,
Rum, bitter, against a salted throat,
Final act of a wrecker’s friend,
But no tears fell upon this rocky shore,
Wrecking, not a man could defend,
So much death he’d seen in others,
Much braver men than he,
Luck had dealt him a death card,
And his grave, the cruel sea,
Made numb his once pained body,
To await perforce deliverance,
Echos the sea upon the shell,
When life ebbs away, to sea–wave chants
Not a cry from those rugged rocks,
Nor footsteps come to rescue,
A dying wrecker adrift at sea.
Where only crying sea-gulls flew.
Jagged rocks. jut the seaward Lizard.
Dark devils below surface hide.
For he who holds the Devil’s lamp.
Is a deceiver on a wrecker’s tide.
He, who wrecks great sailing ships,
And flounders the sea-dog clipper,
Who reaches deep within flooded holds.
And sells to the highest bidder.

Silently sank the wrecker, deep,
No more in pain and fear,
But soundly slept the Customs man,
Without dreams or mournful tears.
A friend did marry the widow,
He being a wrecker too,
Lightened her of her sorrow,
And paid her debts all due,
He promised, the death of the Customs man,
With death within curled finger,
Just one shot from an assassin’s pistol,
If he alone should linger,
“I’ll do the deed to prove my love”,
Was the promise he made to her,
Poor widow, still, with unborn child,
Who feared what her new man craved,
Did have much dread within her heart,
When forewarning the Customs man,
He, who planned to await his assassin,
Due west of the rock strewn sand,
Customs man with his musket primed,
Was deafened by the sea-gulls’ call,
Too late he heard the pistol fire,
And felt its leaded ball.
Death came to him so mercifully quick,
In the blink of a lady’s eye,
Pounded sea surf upon the sand,
As up the rock-face sea birds cried,
Came the tide destroying impressions,
Of footsteps in the sand. Her naked feet were running.
She, with a pistol in her hand,
Wind swept back her tresses.
As from a rock she looked out seaward,
And called out loudly, her first husband’s name,
As the child within her stir’d,
This, the child, of one dead wrecker
Who was taken on a wrecker’s tide.

Into the sea she tossed the pistol.
Into a cave she walked with pride,
But, for the Customs man upon the sand,
There is no pain or fear.
Only she did sleep, to the sound of waves,
 And for the dead, she shed no tears.

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