Poet # Seven

 

Notting's Hill

There stood a great ancient pine tree
way up on Notting's Hill.
It stood up there like a pillar great,
Or maybe a strong windmill.

I liked that tree, from down below
and in the village square;
the elders told me not to go,
themselves, they wouldn't dare.

Oh, Notting's Hill is cursed! they said,
and often with a shiver.
Those who go come back quite changed,
they'd say with voice a-quiver.

Returning changed?  How so? I'd ask
in bold, though childish, tones.
The elders only shook their heads and said,
Some things are best unknown.

Unknown? I thought.  What lunacy!
All things are better uncovered!
The sun went down, and I stole out
as one might meet a lover.

I started up "cursed Notting's Hill"
the pine tree as my goal,
and not a worry shook my heart,
no fear did shake my soul.

The moon she veiled her face that night
with mist and fog and cloud
Her nebulous veil trailed o'er the earth,
almost like a dead man's shroud.

I bit my lip, swallowed a chill,
determined to finish my climb.
The fog swirled thick, I could hardly see,
but darnit!  I would reach that pine!

I crested the hill, held back a sharp gasp:
the great tree was now before me,
wrapped up in many a gauzy grey cloak,
its figure towered now o'er me.

It stood there much taller than I had thought,
and wider too, I saw;
but what surpriséd me most all
was the great wide gaping maw

at the base of that great ancient tree
atop of Notting's Hill:
A door wide open, calling my name,
enticing all of my will.

No choice I had but to approach that tree
enshrou'd in fog and mist.
I poked my head in through the "door"
when lo!  A voice!  It hissed:

Come here, my child, come here to me.
Who's there?! I cried in fear.
I looked around, no one was there,
but again!  That voice!  So near!

You came to me, dear boy, against
your "wise" old elders' word.
Your curiosity brought you here,
so I guess it's time you learned

what happens to those who come to me,
and with boughs like outstretched arms
they lowered down and ushered me in,
completely devoid of all charm.

Just let me go back!  I cried in dismay,
but the branches proved too thick to pass.
They brushed me into the old tree's heart
and closed the "door". No light dared pass

into the old tree in which I found
my tremble-ling, fear-filled heart.
Please let me go loose! I tried yet again,
but the voice shushed me ere I could start.

Now now, my dear child, no pining here, please,
it scolded with a touch of a smirk.
It's your own fault that you are where you are,
on this night you wanted to lurk.

But now you are here, we'll set down to work:
since you wanted to find what was not
meant to be found, please do come around,
come here to me.  Here, sit on the knot.

I can't remember what passed in that tree,
but oh!  Pain's here with me still!
I paid a great price for my curious vice
that night on old Notting's Hill.

 

The End

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