The Ballad of Phineas Granger

So long ago now I can barely remember,
The only thing that mattered much to me was
My daughter, my lovely little daughter,
A tiny thing full of life and
A longing like the sun for the dawn.
And back from a hard day’s work,
I opened the door to our flat asking
Of her stepmother wherever she might be?

“Oh she’ll be back in a trifle,”
She told me with a smile
And then she fed me bits of pie,
Laughing there she told me
The pieces of my child each bite came from
With bile in my throat and with
The madcap rage of the damned
To my feet I roared with grief.

There we tore at each other like dogs
Until one lily white hand found iron
And with one mighty thrust she did drive
That old railroad spike through my head.
She left me on the wooden floor
She left me there for dead
But I didn’t die then and they found me there
The iron still clasped in my head.

Later longer still I rose
From a bed as white as snow
But yet there was I
Walking still walking with
The earth beneath my feet and
The sky a vault of stars
And I wondered there then
If there might somehow yet be a way?

A way to wrestle that life back
If the Reaper’s hand might yet be ungathered
To bring my sweet daughter back again
With so many heartbeats and so many lives
Like mayflies on a cold summer day,
And perhaps the light of one of those lives
Might be the key to turn back that lock,
And bring that innocence back to me.

So I started then on Old Bill Black
The shoemaker up there on Holloway Lane
His ears taped to a chair and
His arms pinned all back
As the electricity from four car batteries
Burned him down to a black crisp.
But still Death didn’t come,
Death wouldn’t bring her back.

So next I went on a cold morning
To the abattoir on Fly Street
And took a captive bolt pistol
To the head of the local butcher
Punched through his skull
His arms flapping like wings.
But still Death didn’t come,
Death wouldn’t bring her back.

So next I waited for Sunday eve
Where to the old church I made my way
And the parson I did string up
With a nail in each wrist
Before I hammered a crown of nails
Onto that sanctimonious brow.
But still Death didn’t come,
Death wouldn’t bring her back.

So next I thought to hem my best suit
And as Tailor Jim Bauer opened his blue door
I took a pipe to his head and gagged his fat mouth
I dragged him out back behind his shed,
And there stitched myself a new suit
A suit from tailored leather and old supple skin.
But still Death didn’t come,
Death wouldn’t bring her back.

But I am a patient man now,
Patient and sober and forgiving and meek, and with
So many heartbeats and so many lights,
So many lives to pay back to Death
Someday one will surely be that which I seek,
That light that at last will be that one key
To turn back that lock and give me back my light,
And bring back my daughter to me.

1 thought on “The Ballad of Phineas Granger

  1. Pingback: Coming Home | Heretical Reflections

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