Daaskmere Monk

William of Meadowsford

Book Cover

arrowShawn Postoff

Copyright © 1997 - 2009
arrowInfinitive Ink Limited


IV ill title Tom's Craft

This new day has dawned overcast with grey cloud,
A fittingly heartless attempt to enshroud
The sunlight of innocent childhood and dreams:
A blanket of sorrow that covers bright beams.
For next in my chronicle comes a grim tale,
That threatens to ruthlessly plague and assail
My spirit exposed here upon this bleak page.
‘Gainst my better judgment a war now I’ll wage,
For all of my instinct begs not to record
These mem’ries I’ve always most feared and abhorred.
But this is my testament, full and complete.
I cannot abridge, or my soul I’ll then cheat
Of truthfulness, honesty, faith followed bold,
That all of my life I have tried to uphold.
I’ll not give in now and I’ll not turn away
From painful, sad things that I know I must say.

The knightly society fully comprised,
Consists for the most part of goodness disguised
In brave deeds and acts that intend to amaze
The ignorant masses who cheer and give praise.
With obvious showings of generous wealth,
The game is to prove one’s largesse in good health,
And privately ransom one’s finance to debt,
So public approval will famously set.
But God is no merchant and jewels cannot buy
One’s passage to Heaven when one comes to die.
And thus, when in Judgment, a soul meekly stands,
It matters quite little that once it owned lands.
For Death comes for beggars and too commands kings,
No mortal escapes when the Requiem sings.
All this becomes clear when religion is taught,
But most find the message is quickly forgot
When richness and vanity grow in their head
To kill the proud Order of Chivalry dead.

I’ll cite, as example, a House widely known,
Whose actions, through hist’ry, are easily shown
What happens when gold is what colours the eyes,
And heartbeats find nourishment only in lies.
(Fear not, gentle reader, that here I reveal
The knowledge within me I once would conceal.
If ever these words came to him who I write,
I reckon he’d surely accuse a false right,
And sentence a quick execution on me,
For treasonous slander - my justly paid fee.
But now is he dead, tho’ his name still lives on,
His threat is still potent in prodigy’s dawn.
And yet I care little, for soon shall I die,
He never shall catch me - to Heaven I fly.)
The man I do speak of is Henry the First,
Who captured his throne with ambition more cursed.
For years he had built a strong legion of friends,
By frequently giving what money extends.
He hosted more banquets than many could count,
(At times at a cost that not any should mount)
And sought to establish himself as a saint,
So he with his crime could the Royal blood taint.
‘Twas Henry of Anchorwae, greedy for gold,
Who toppled King Andrew’s good Turin House hold,
To set an agenda of plunder and fear,
And tax at a whim many times in the year.

But here I digress, so forgive me, my friend.
I’m jumping ahead where the years do extend.
‘Tis later in writing this tale will my pen
Provide us with Anchorwae’s details again.
But now I’ll return to our Meadowsford pride,
Where vision saw proper the values inside.

Our House emerged different from other estates.
Sir Robert did teach us respect of our fates.
We learned of a place up in Heaven for all,
Regardless of birthright or herald’s good call.
And so to the craftsman and beggar and bawd,
We still did consider them children of God,
And never did gibe or reduce them to shame,
We scolded the minstrels who rid’culed their name.
Our Household was known across Leighton afar
As noblest and purest and brightest, great star
Of Order Saint John’s Hospitallers knighthood.
Our richness and wealth made a great Brotherhood
Of warriors who fought for the orphans and poor,
To people in need never closed was our door.

Hence many ungentle-like men did I see
As squire in service and training to be
Another great knight to hold high the bright flame
Of kindness and charity under John’s name.
A motley collection of people most vile,
I knew them by name after but a short while.
For many did come to find care in our hands,
In payment we asked them to help with the lands.

Now one in particular always stands out.
Indeed, he’s the subject I’m writing about.
He was a weak man who but rarely did speak,
A frangible craftsman named Thomas the Meek.
His trade was but simple and few even cared
Of service he rendered or products he shared.
For all he did craft with his few, broken tools,
Were rickety benches bought only by fools.
That meek man had been there since I had first found
My home in that manor nine years full around.
I came to accept his but soft, simple ways,
His passive, bleak outlook and desperate, sad gaze.
For mostly he sat and stared blankly to space,
So long as some others were there in that place.
But he could not stand to be left all alone,
He hated when we on our hunting had gone.
So hearing announcements the troupe would depart,
He’d rise from his station, and searches did start,
To find him another old chair to repose
In presence of others whose comp’ny he chose.
Then when we’d return with our quarry in hand,
He’d be there to greet us, our happier band,
And make lonely comments: “What took you so long?”
Or, “I was but wond’ring if Fate did you wrong.”

The image he gave us was innocence masked,
As if all his questions were simple when asked.
But always we knew what his meanings did hold:
With almost a child-like motive he’d scold,
And try to infuse in our hearts heavy guilt,
For leaving him there on the benches he’d built.
Yet there was a craftiness in his pale mind:
He’d scarcely complain for he knew he’d not find
Another place as open-hearted as we:
He’d found him a shelter that charged not a fee.

But soon it came clear that he took him too much.
He ate from our foods but his work he’d not touch.
And then said Sir Robert one day unto him,
“Good Thomas, my faith has in you fallen dim.
You know how we ask you to pay your meal’s worth,
But still you are slothful and ‘round you grows girth.
I know you assist us at times by request,
But here it’s expected, that being our guest,
Your will to employ the good labour you can,
Is yours and not that of another moved man.
Explain why you lack bold initiative warm,
And hardly give exercise work to your form?”

“Sir Robert,” he timidly made his reply,
“I beg you believe when I tell you I try.
The work I accomplish exhausts me complete,
And aches through my head, down my spine to my feet.
And yet, kindly master, I offer you more -
Provide to the Household a valuable store.
‘Tis I, is it not, who does furnish our chairs?
I think such a service more fully compares,
And balances that which I lack in the fields,
As differently my productivity yields.”

“Now Tom,” argued Robert, “I cannot agree.
Your benches are simple, and hardly the key
That fits to unlock your unlabouring door.
And so I repeat - I expect of you more.
You need to remember how once you behaved.
Good Thomas, find action and you shall be saved.”

Small Tom promised much, and assured he’d regain
The work he did owe. But alas, ‘twas in vain.
He changed for the worse, and so slothful became
That fin’ly the Household rejected his name.
“Now Thomas,” said Robert unto his meek mind,
“You’ve heartlessly failed our attempts to be kind.
For still you refuse recompense to submit,
Instead you are lazy and quietly sit.
Good Tom, you’re not crippled or stupid or lame,
And yet you do act the part all of the same.
So now, tho’ it pains me to cry this decree,
I banish you from this estate and from me.
No longer shall you take advance of this home:
The knights Hospitallers do sloth not condone.
Begone and farewell then, thou lazy, weak man,
Seek out others’ trust somewhere else if you can.”