The Eternal Footman

The carriage raced by with a rattle and clank,

The wheels, wooden slats on the ground,

The footman pressed on with a vicious whip crack,

Which filled the chilled air with its sound.


‘Go careful, my darling, don’t stray after dark,

Just keep to your house and your home,

If he sees you, he’ll snatch you and carry you off,

He’ll take you to bed for his own.’


‘Grandfather, I’ll keep to the path in the wood,

And from there, I never will stray,

If I promise you that I will always be good,

Then the footman won’t take me away.’


The old man smiled down at the girl on his knee,

‘No, my dear one, your life is your own,

But for my sake, stay close now to home and to hearth,

And promise that you will not roam.’


This is a poem that I wrote last year in response to a literary prompt – T.E. Eliot’s ‘Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock’ – which I love. I took the idea of an ‘eternal footman’ and blended it together with cautionary fairy tales, like ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. I don’t normally write in fixed structures like this, but it was an interesting experiment.



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