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The Rectory - A Poem

By Michael McCormack

Even in my early years
You were part of my awareness
I was barely five years old
When I was taken to a sports day
In the flat field by the river

You stood on a low hill
Looking down on us
Your large frame garlanded
By a row of big horse chestnuts

Your huge gaping windows
Spoke of some deep mystery there
And the vacant doorway
A toothless gap, an open invitation

And so my curiosity inflamed
I listened well to sad tales
Manufactured out of fear and envy
The history of the people living there

Tales of murder, a young life cut short
And a secret burial in the dudgeons
Then cloaked mutterings of ghostly apparitions
That set the body tingling

I longed to go there to feel its tensions
And then one day it happened
On a sunny summer day, when still quite young
We did visit there

Three musketeers with eyes fixed forward
Prepared to face whatever
Through gaping double doors
To gaze in wonder at the wreckage
Thirty years of noone living there

But it was the deep dark dungeons
That we had come to see
And what might lie down there
So with timid steps and giggled fear
We descended into Hades

Along dim lit walls gingerly
And then a sudden stop
A pokey hole off to the left
And what's this, an empty wine bottle?
And where's the ghost, the apparition

Three brave boys had faced the devil
And years of wonder fell away
Now, three brave boys with puffed up chests
Came back to the light
To face the world, more cheerily.

The Rectory