The Water God

By David Lewis Paget

I heard the rumble of thunder rolling
Over the mountain top,
And then the cry of Desirée calling,
‘When is it going to stop? ‘
The dam had broken its earthen banks
The plain was starting to flood,
The river raged by the cottage door
And the floor was covered in mud.

I knew that something was very wrong
For Desirée cried and cried,
I’d asked before what was going on
But to tell the truth, she lied,
She said that she was responsible
But she wouldn’t tell me why,
And her tears mixed with the rain until
A week had passed us by.

I stared on up at the brooding sky
With its thunderheads in line,
And thought: ‘Another few days of this
Will herald the end of time! ‘
The cottages down on the valley floor
Had gone, right up to the roof,
Desirée wept by the cottage door,
‘I’d better tell you the truth! ‘

She wept and said, ‘On the mountain top
I discovered the altar stone,
I know I shouldn’t have touched it, but
I thought I was all alone,
I traced my fingers over the runes
To see what I could find,
And all the beauty I’d ever known
Came flooding into my mind.’

‘And then the gods of the firmament
Of earth and sea and air,
Came leaching out of the altar stone
And tangled up in my hair,
They said that I was so beautiful,
Too good for human kind,
I had a choice, I could marry one
Or the gods would strike me blind! ‘

The lightning struck as we stood out there
And felled a mighty oak,
‘They said they’d give me a week…’
But then it thundered, as she spoke.
‘They’re telling me that my time is up,
We’ll meet by Llandrindod,
And there I’ll marry Barinthus,
He’s the Celtic Water God.’

The rain came down in a torrent as
She turned and went from me,
And walked right down to the river bank
Where she said she’d set me free.
Desirée walked in the water and
Was swept away by the tide,
Down to the Bay of Aberfaye
As I shook my head, and cried.

The skies are blue in Aberfaye
And the thunderheads have gone,
Up on the mountain top I took
An axe to the altar stone.
They point me out in the village street
And the tourists think it odd,
They whisper: ‘There goes the man who lost
His wife to the Water God! ‘

This Poem Features In:

Browse Collections By Category

Select from our entire catalogue of poetry collections: