Once upon a lighthouse dreary,
As I wandered, old and beardy,
Round cold corridors and crannies
Of that tower's frozen core,
I thought I heard a rumble,
A storm's deep approaching grumble,
'Fore the rain begins to tumble
And the ocean starts to roar.
''Twas my belly: I forgot it,'
I said—'I last ate at 4.' 'My stomach groans, and nothing more.'
Ah, distinctly I remember,
'Twas a wild and wet November,
I'd been watching Sheffield Wednesday
Play a cup tie on Sky Sports.
Eagerly I'd viewed the soccer,
90 minutes I'd forgot her,
Memories I'd had a lot—ah!
Memories of Carol Shaw.
Of that rare and radiant maiden
By the name of Carol Shaw—
Nameless here for evermore.
I went down, then, to the galley,
I would make myself a sarnie
With some ham—well, more salami—
And some cheese and some coleslaw.
As I buttered on the butter,
Did some cutting with the cutlery
I thought I heard a flutter
From the window by the door.
'What lost pilgrim now approaches,' I mused,
'To my lighthouse door?
To this lonely lighthouse door?'
I approached the gloomy portal,
As I went considered, brought all
Likely visitors to mind who
might attend this island's shore.
Gas man come to read the meter?
My mum—gladly would I greet her!
Or some more devout entreater
Jove's gospel to outpour?
'Who comes to this lonesome lighthouse?' I called,
Flinging wide the door—
A seagull there, and nothing more.
'Thou scared me, silly seagull,
Why, I thought you something evil!'
Thus I chuckled as the seabird squawked
And strutted through the door.
'What flight brings you to this beacon?
Why trouble my sad dreaming?
What is it you are scheming
On this cold and lonely shore?
Why have ye come to meet me
On this night and on this shore?'
Quoth the seagull, 'Carol Shaw'.
'Why, you rank and wretched seagull!
Now I know you thing of evil—
Why do you cry that name,
the name of her that I adore?
Is this some cruel prankster joking?
For my anger you're provoking',
I cried, spluttering and choking,
Pacing round and round the floor—
'Is this on candid camera?
Who lurks outside the door?'
Quoth the seagull, 'Carol Shaw'.
'Get out, cruel and cursèd creature',
I cried, rage in my demeanour—
'Quit my home and quit my hearth
Get ye out into the storm!'
Not a moment did he heed me
But with eye suffused with greed he
Leapt, and with great turn of speed he
Sandwich from my clutches tore–
My cheese, coleslaw and salami
Sandwich from my grip he tore,
And flew and sat above the door.
'Off thy smug perch I shall knock thee
And no longer shall you mock me,
First my love and now my sarnie,
You thieving git,' I swore.
As outside the storm was growing
My internal rage was showing
And with that I started throwing
Knives and forks from out the drawer.
The unwelcome fowl just cried out
As it had done twice before,
That same refrain: 'Carol Shaw'.
Then I sprang forth to grab it,
But in vain I tried to nab it,
It just took flight, leaving sandwich
On the shelf above the door.
The kitchen once it rounded
While I, impotently grounded,
Leaped and snatched but never bounded
To the height that it could soar.
Then with great purpose it flew up,
Upstairs to the higher floor—
To the lamp-room's bright-lit floor.
I followed, and right hastily,
The bird that flew so gracefully,
To where the tower's bright lantern shone
Its beam out o'er the shore.
And there, before the lamp light,
With its plumage shining all white,
But with shadow black as midnight
Cast out long across the floor,
Once again it spoke the same words
Now more urgent than before—
As if in warning: 'Carol Shaw'.
Gotcha! You feathery bugger,
I thought, starting to feel smugger
As I took out key from pocket,
Turned and locked the lamp room door.
'No more will you, bird, elude me',
'I'll eat seagull barbecued, tea
Time will see YOU served as food, see?
On your juicy bones I'll gnaw',
So I yelled, darting to the cupboard
Where I knew my axe was stored—
My trusty hatchet in its drawer.
With axe in hand I tried again
To catch the bird, which cried again
The name that so enraged me
That dear name of Carol Shaw.
This was war—more dance than mad clash,
Man and bird in epic stramash
As with peck, jab, flap and wild slash
We did battle 'cross the floor.
'Til finally I swung at him
With great Godzillian roar
To end his life for evermore.
Alas! My aim was wayward
And the gull my swipe evaded–
The axe crashed down on the great torch
That cast its beam so sure.
Darkness fell; I blindly fumbled—
On some obstacle I stumbled,
Tripped and with loud crash I tumbled,
Tumbled to the lamp room floor—
Oh, I was cold and I was shamed
Lying broken on the floor,
And still the bird cried: 'Carol Shaw'.
Then a noise broke through its whining—
A loud horn—some vessel's siren.
I struggled to the window where
An awful sight I saw:
With rain pouring and winds blowing,
And lighthouse no longer glowing,
A ship—with no way of knowing
Just how near it was to shore–
And lightning for split second showed
Amid the ocean's roar
Sharp rocks upon that deadly shore.
As the ship grew ever nearer,
And my folly became clearer,
The gull settled down beside me
With a soft reproachful caw.
And its gaze, cold and unkindly,
Seemed intended to remind me
This catastrophe I blindly
Triggered with my tragic flaw:
My anger and my passion sparked
By that name I adore—
The fateful name of Carol Shaw.
Lost ship! Though I waved and hailed it
The oblivious captain sailed it
Toward the rugged rocks that ran
Right round the island's shore.
And despite the thunder clashing,
And the rain around us lashing,
Still I heard the sound of smashing
That chilled me to my very core.
And as it crashed upon the crags
The name I finally saw
Of that doomed ship—the Coral Shore.