I was inspired to write this poem after reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story The Hound of Baskervilles. I have used certain phrases directly from the book, since I felt that those add colour to the poem, but which may have disturbed the rhyming of the poem, yet cannot be better expressed than in Conan Doyle’s own words. Such phrases are marked within double quotes. I may have had to omit mentioning certain incidents in my poem due to length constraints.
An old legend of a massive hound,
breathing fire and
surrounded in flames,
Dormant for years,
Came back to life,
As suddenly as a misty veil
upon the hills.
A descendant of Baskervilles –
Loved, respected and patron to many poor souls,
Sturdy, hale and hearty,
Wise in age, yet – afraid
Of the family curse, the legend
of the hell-hound –
Mysteriously dies while waiting for a rendez-vous.
Footsteps showed he ran for his life,
and near his lifeless body,
a paw-mark, gigantic, impressive –
scary proof of the old legend.
“Some three months” later,
A keen-eyed falcon with a passion
for mystery and adventure,
intellect and justice
and his faithful bosom friend,
A healing master,
Lover of adventure and justice,
an eager helper —
Was called to investigate
And unravel the mystery.
The new master of Baskerville hall
Nephew to the poor dead gentleman –
True, loyal, sturdy, and healthy
Forthright, intelligent, young and wise –
Familiar with, yet uncertain
as to the truth of the family curse,
Settles in his new British home
Squire to Devonshire,
Under the healing master’s watchful eye.
Dark gloomy surrounding,
Dull, listless ambiance,
Fear, mystery and possible death
hung in the air –
Detailed reports from Watson in Grimpen
to the falcon, Holmes in London –
New friends, few in number –
New mystery of the caretakers –
With an escaped convict
in the immediate neighbourhood –
Too stressful and scary,
The life of the young squire in possible danger
Certain, instant death if one walks to the Grimpen Mire,
Night walks hold no allure, no pleasure
with the threat of the hell-hound,
And no privacy, no secrecy for a pair of lovers in Grimpen.
Yet, one night,
In “that hour of darkness in which the power of evil is exalted”,
Watson and the new squire
Walk out after dark,
In pursuit of the convict —
The baying cry of a hound –
Fresh proof of the family hound –
Chills the men to the bone,
and they stand, side by side,
armed, yet afraid of the hell-hound —
A minute or two later,
Continuing their pursuit,
Comes upon the convict,
and chases – but misses…
A strange apparition seen only by Dr. Watson:
A tall thin man,
Upon the Cleft Tor
Solid and straight, erect,
The moon rising behind him —
And then, vanishing in a moment –
Assumed to be a warder after the convict,
The night’s adventures concluded, they return home.
the clue of L.L. –
a woman, who wanted
A rendez-vous with the late Squire,
on the fatal night of his death.
Watson, the eager helper
Investigates, meets, and converses,
but, no hint or clue to continue.
One blessed evening,
Investigating the mystery
of the tall man,
stumbles upon his alter ego,
Oh joy! Oh delight! Oh, blessed sight!
The burdens he carried,
The worries he had,
The fears that shook him,
Can now be told
To his dearest bosom friend,
Who will settle matters
At his earliest.
Then, alas -!
In that same night,
Another death due to the hound
Oh Heavens! It is Sir Henry –!! His clothes –!!
Both friends, shocked and grieved,
Feeling very much guilty,
Bent down to “perform
the last offices” for the young Squire —
Holmes felt a thick beard,
Which the young master of Baskerville Hall
The poor dead man in Sir Henry’s clothes
Turned out to be the escaped convict,
What relief! –
What a heavenly happy find!!
Into the scene,
Walked a man, one neighbour in Grimpen,
Whom Holmes said,
Earlier in the evening,
To be the cold-blooded murderer –
A light-hearted chat,
giving nothing away
But the presence of Holmes
Later, that night
A picture that resembled
Convinces that he is a Baskerville
by blood lineage.
And Holmes to catch him
Lays a plan which leaves Sir Henry
Alone in Baskerville Hall,
Engaged to dine at Stapletons’
And walk back home, in the dark,
Across the solitary moor,
Whence the hell-hound might appear –
The moment came –
The climax –
When at long last –
The hound might be seen
By Holmes, Watson and Lestrade,
Who joined to help.
Watson sees Stapleton at an out-house,
From which curious noises came –
After reporting what he saw,
It was a long wait…
Nature turned traitor
And built a wall of fog
Close to the watchers,
Which gave little chance of success
For the impending mission.
The baronet came our,
And started to walk home –
Dejected, scared, ill-at-ease,
Afraid for his life –
Not knowing his friends are near —
A sudden far-away
patter of paws,
Quick to approach,
Tenses and alerts the watchers. . . .
It burst out of the wall of fog –
Hideous, “hellish”, covered in flames,
Spouting fire from the mouth,
“Savage”, “appalling”, and frightful –
Hunted and chased Sir Henry
Though wounded by a bullet wound,
Sprang at him and worried at his throat
Making the young Squire
Faint with fright –
Shaken to the soul –
Weak and pallid,
Severely ill, in the care of Dr. Mortimer,
Scheduled to tour the world together.
Beryl Stapleton née Garçia,
Bruised, ill-used, deceived and duped
By her villainous husband
Gave Holmes, Watson and Lestrade
A clue to the cold murderer’s hiding place,
Once her fears for Sir Henry
Were set at rest;
Her heart reassured with relief
As to the safety of her lover.
The unknown son of one of late Sir Charles’ brothers
Was sucked into the Grimpen Mire,
Punished by Nature,
For his evil, foul deeds.
Holmes and Watson,
Who “laid the family ghost once and for ever”,
Returned to London
Satisfied with their victory,
In scoring high
“A foeman who is worthy of our steel”.