Ballad of Beachy Head

In my life of love and loss,
the first young man to steal my heart
was manly Reg from Gerrards Cross,
whose fate to you I now impart.

Walking out one windy day
on cliffs at Beachy Head,
Reg chose to demonstrate
his total lack of dread.

Don’t go near the edge, I said,
O don’t go near the edge ’
If you go near the edge, Reg,
I swear I’ll break my pledge.

He strode up to the very edge ’
deaf to his fianc’e’s plea ’
and stood where suicidal lovers
jump to eternity.

The wind clawed at his coat and hair,
he seemed to lean out to the sky;
he stretched his arms akimbo
as though about to fly.

I screamed just as it seemed
that he would meet his doom,
but then he turned to face me,
grinning like a loon.

You’re much too near the edge, Reg,
O get back from the edge ’
If you stay on the edge, Reg
I swear I’ll break my pledge.

Alas, the treacherous edge destroyed
his grin, transformed it into horror ’
back fell Reg into the void,
for him no more tomorrow.

I never did forswear that pledge,
and still I wear his ring.
I keep away from edges
and wish that he’d grown wings.