Daaskmere Monk

William of Meadowsford

Book Cover

arrowShawn Postoff

Copyright © 1997 - 2009
arrowInfinitive Ink Limited


V ill title Confusing Departure

Remorseful departure sad Thomas did make,
And only his useless, old tools did he take.
And in preparations to see him take leave,
I sat with him, trying at least to achieve
A sense of finality, sev’rance and end.
A sadness swept over my will to defend.
For tho’ I had never thought long on this man,
His face was a fixture whose presence did span
The length of my days at the Meadowsford Dale.
And so in the threat that his comp’ny would fail,
His looming removal did pity inspire,
Tho’ little there was of small Tom to admire.
“What plans?” I directed my questioned concern.

“I’ve none,” he responded, “and none can I learn.
For always I’ve wrapped my security here,
I’ve given and taken my warmth every year.
But now I am thrust to the oncoming cold:
Sir Robert accuses me worthless but sold.
And tho’ he’s a powerful knight in Saint John,
I feel him the monster the Devil would spawn.”

At this I felt taken aback for a time,
But soon I dismissed it as angrier brine.
“For shame, Tom,” I scolded. “You mean nothing said.
Sir Robert is good and for many has bled.
If hatred exists in your heart and wants out,
Express its resolve ‘gainst your sloth with a shout,
And think on your leaving not failure but hope,
With this can begin a new challenge to cope.”

“How easy you preach from your safety secured,”
Said Tom, who had listened but barely endured.
“Are you the one banished? Are you the one robbed?
For years in this wine have you happily bobbed.
And as you grow older so drunk you’ll become
Of drinking the privilege of knighthood the dumb!
How noble, how spoiled, how sickly your birth,
You never have worked but a sweat in your mirth!
And yet, in unfairness, I ask who is cursed?
‘Tis me, the poor beggar, that suffers the worst.”

“But Tom,” I objected, “how came you so blind?”
You’ve witnessed the hours of practice I grind.
You’ve seen how I labour and lesson and toil,
If nothing, ‘tis folly I’ve trained to see spoil.
And yet you accuse me of laziness long,
Existence defined by a dance and a song.
I’m grieved at your words, yet I hold you no ill,
Tho’ I with Sir Robert am sided me still.
Good Tom, I shall walk you away from the Dale,
I’ll company offer you over the trail,
And then at the edge of the valley we’ll part,
With me to my duties, and you a new start.”

“Such chivalry won’t work its soothing on me,”
The angrier man let his anger run free.
“So stay you at home and leave me to my own.
From such a conceit will I gladly be thrown.”
And now in his rage and again in his fear,
With fury competing for show with a tear,
He walked from the manor, then quickly he ran,
Still fighting within him a childish man.
And when he was gone all the chairs he had left,
Were thrown to the fire and we were bereft
Of nothing important and little of worth,
The House had not suffered of lightness or mirth.

But still deep inside of my chivalrous heart,
A charity burned that I could not impart.
At night, when I’d lay me down softly to sleep,
An image of Tom in my dreamings did creep.
And I for his safety and comfort did feel
My heart fully pained at his bottom-found weal.
So helpless I was to prevent wand’ring dreams,
As like an old villager desperate that screams
When over his fences and ‘cross his new field,
The weapons of murder that armies all wield
Do make them their charging appearances wild,
To plunder the hearts of his wife and her child.
‘Twas this the assault on my mem’ry that made,
The scenes I had passed were refusing to fade,
And everyday moments of Thomas and I
Would feature between us politely a lie.
(“Good morrow,” I’d say to him cheerly some days.
“To you, master William,” returned him the praise.)
And sometimes when after from hunting we’d come,
He’d sit ‘midst our laughter and listen him some.
But always his interest seemed feigned and untrue,
The words he’d contribute were shallow and few.
Yet no one would fault him or have him removed,
His presence was sanctioned and simply approved.

I hope, loyal reader, you catch what I mean:
Tho’ hardly worth seeing, he often was seen.
And only because he had lived there before,
Accustomed we were to expect him there more.
A tooth from an elder was Tom from the Dale:
He fell from the head in whose gums had gone frail.
And I was the tongue in that Meadowsford throat,
Patrolling its mouth like a guard round a moat,
Discovering there a discomforting space --
A pocket of flesh and its tooth out of place.
So just as the cavity makes us to squirm
In finding a softness where once it was firm,
I felt unaccustomed to Thomas not there,
And knew in my thoughts I’d unfavour’bly fare.
So on to Sir Robert I went to confess
The seat of my worries and all their distress.
To me he did answer his well-meant concern,
“‘Tis not up to Fortune to make his wheel turn.
Nor is it your duty to give him your thoughts,
Lest all your momentum ‘comes placid and rots.”
I heard his deep wisdom, so tried to forget
The pictures of Tom in my head that were set.
It took a few weeks of attempts that would fail,
‘Til fin’ly success would arrive at the Dale,
And give reassurance I’d broken his spell:
I figured of Thomas I’d nothing more tell.
But more of that man was I fated to see,
Tho’ little conception would he have of me.