THE SILVER TRAY
Bill emerged into the afternoon light.
The gun fell from his hand with a devilish weight.
Silent, some people who had seen the sight
of their righteous Pastor delivering fate.
They stood around blinking and shuffling feet,
a-spyin’ on Bill with an indiscreet
need to be part of the followin’s on.
Especially since it wouldn’t be long
before the sun said an ironic ‘Fare thee well’
before it descended to burn in Hell.
Although the shock of what he had done
was enough to stop Bill from followin’ on,
the terrible story of which he’d been told
drove him on further with questions of old.
‘Did ya think her a witch…the Lady Denise?’
he asked of the crowd when their shuffling ceased.
‘D’ya think she was e’er at the heart of the sin,
or do ya think those old man had the harvest brought in?
‘Did they control what always went on?
And you people would clap and sing along.
So long as it wasn’t your kids they took.
Was that the way it went on in your book?’
‘No!’ someone shouted. ‘It was her a’right.
She delivered upon us an awful fright.
She rose from the dead. That’s what that girl saw.
She was the one who was breaking God’s law.’
‘Well, I got a feelin’ that y’all bin wrong,
and y’all were happy to sing along.’
He turned his back to them all and walked alone;
walked all the way up to the Lady’s home.
In less than one day her house had been looted.
Through every cupboard and wardrobe they’d rooted.
But it wasn’t long ‘fore Bill found his proof,
lying under a bed, cold and aloof.
When he came back out, the people had gathered,
like living was on hold and nothing else mattered.
So Bill just held up the silver tray,
without needing to find any words to say.
It was battered and dented from the impact of lead.
And they knew then that Denise just hadn’t been dead.
‘She knew what you people were like all along.
She played you like music and re-wrote your song.
So Molly looked down from the tower that night
and saw Denise there…and got a fright.
‘But Denise sought only to save her son
from the despair of being another one
who would suffer from all that was goin’ on.
But Denise didn’t realise the damage she’d done.
‘And then when Molly ran, the beasts of this town
saw fit to grab her and take her down.
And it all fell into place like a well-laid plan
when Norman’s own shame…the shame of a man
who’d bin caught up in somethin’ he didn’t understand…
led him to become your Swingin’ Man.’