Digging in the Glade

Digging in the Glade

On heading home, at close of day,
by leafy path, I once surveyed
a figure, bent, industrious,
a-digging in the glade.

What do you do there, shadow-man,
that must be done by deepest shade?
When other folk are all a-bed
you're digging in the glade.

He worked away with fierce intent,
with fern and bracken all arrayed -
some private twilit ritual
of digging in the glade.

Half-mesmerized, I froze before
the shovel's deadly serenade,
no thought, no consciousness beyond
the digging in the glade.

Just then, the curtain'd clouds drew back.
The scene, by moonlight, was betrayed,
with me the only witness to
the digging in the glade.

And all at once the darkman turned,
dank loam upon his shovel weighed,
and fixed his cold eyes onto me;
ceased digging in the glade.

He stared, then brought his finger up
to seal his lips, and there it stayed.
He glared again, then swift returned
to digging in the glade.

Released, I staggered from the woods
and left him to his earthy trade;
ran home and locked my door against
the digging in the glade.

I never spoke of what I saw,
the diabolic pact I made.
My tongue is tied by bracken-branch
and digging in the glade.

My dreams are filled with digging men,
with gloomy arbours where I've strayed
but, worst, the dreadful, deadly sound
of digging in the glade.

                                                                                    by Samuel Joseph Macaulley, 1847


 © Mick Jackson 2012