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The Ghost of Old Oxford Road

Old Oxford Rd, Durham, NC
Old Oxford Rd, Durham, NC

The old ghost of Old Oxford Rd,
he “fell off his horse,” so I’m told…
But his wounds look quite vicious,
which makes me suspicious
that they just might have been caused by gold.

Jack Hewett, in life, was his name,
and women his typical game.
He’d bet on a horse
And on dice thrown, of course,
But he usually bet on a dame.

Jack came to Durham one year
hunting for rabbits and deer.
On George Clement’s farm,
he stayed safe from harm,
and usually stayed for a beer.

He’d come over from Hillsborough way
looking for game, for to pay
for his room and his board.
But, in hunting he scored
more with his staff than his sword.

He rode over to Chapel Hill
(which, you know, is remaining there still),
where he charmed a young thing
into having a fling –
even though she had ne’er inked a quill.

A young nun known as Sister Rowanne,
she saw only a big handsome man!
She’d been wedded to God
before puberty’s nod
had changed her, as puberty can.

In the Chapel for which town was named,
that poor nun wound up quite ashamed –
for to do what she done,
while being a nun,
was a sin that was not even named!

Her order did not take it kind,
but old Jack, he paid never mind.
He’d won and he’d wooed her
and rightly he’d screwed her
and he put her straight out of his mind.

She tried to forget the damn stud,
but the moon waxed and waned without blood.
She swore and she spat
when she knew she’d begat
and she cursed that his name should be mud!

Her order said they would disown
when they saw how her belly had grown
With no star in the East,
They declared her a beast
and she reaped what the man Jack had sown.

Her cousin up at Knap of Reeds
could do what a young mother needs
He delivered the lad
but the story turned sad
for Rowanne’s buried out in the weeds.

No grave consecrated for her,
for the church said her soul they’d abjure.
Her last words to her kin
were, “commit one more sin,
and somebody kill me that cur.”

Her cousin had made goodly pound
and, as doctor, was easily found.
He made known that Jack Hewett
should be hard pressed to it
should anyone see him around.

A bastard named Will Arendell
Was the fellow who first “saw Jack fell!”
But an erstwhile nun
with oven… and bun…
seems to have paid him quite well.

Rowanne’s cousin had furnished the purse
but, dying, she uttered the curse:
“Let his personal Hell
be the spot where he fell,
regardless of body or hearse.”

Arendell, he knew Hewett from dice,
and had heard that his head had a price.
Out near Clement’s farm
with intention to harm,
he startled Jack’s horse with some mice!

The horse reared and the rider, he fell,
and the cobblestones did their work well.
On the road to Oxford
William drew knife and sword
and made sure that Jack went straight to hell.

So Jack Hewett haunts Oxford Road
and he will, while his debt is yet owed.
While the sunlight can shine
on his only son’s line,
those cobbles remain his abode!

Jack’s spirit is seen when the sun
lights this path through this deep forest run.
But when the ghost sees a habit,
he will run like a rabbit,
rather than gaze on a nun!

Published inNaturePeople

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