Daaskmere Monk

William of Meadowsford

Book Cover

arrowShawn Postoff

Copyright © 1997 - 2009
arrowInfinitive Ink Limited


XVI ill title Ominous Message

Officially over my joust was declared,
And I from the standings was painfully pared.
My pages came quickly to help to my feet,
A sorry ordeal for those in defeat,
Whose armour too heavy prevents them to rise
When down from a saddle it fitfully flies.
I grabbed at the reins of my riderless horse,
And sadness directed my pains from the course.
But making returns to the base of our camp,
I heard from behind me a galloping stamp,
So turned me around to inform the encount,
And place an identity name to that mount.

“Ho, Meadowsford!” called the opponent who came,
“A noble performance but all of the same.
I reckoned you had me, ‘twas almost for sure.
‘Gainst skills as your own ‘tis a fight to endure.”

“I thank you,” I told him. “Your praise is well shared.
To you I return them: You wonderly fared.
When I to my master report him my place,
I’ll tell him ‘twas Anchorwae’s laudable grace
Who threw me most rightfully off from my horse,
Then honour’bly praised me my skill on the course.”
These words I had spoken were flattery bare,
And hardly with any sincerity care,
For Anchorwae hadn’t the honour to give:
He hadn’t saluted ere challenge he’d live,
And now in the dull consolations he spoke,
He showed how his fires were only a smoke.
His complements echoed an emptiness void,
And all my remaining respect was destroyed.

“Dear Meadowsford,” then he resumed his device,
As top from his saddle he cleared his throat twice,
“I know that your master, Sir Robert, is wise,
His service to Andrew the best that it buys.
I beg you report him this message from me --
‘Tis one from my father, appropriately --
Who says that a service can easy erode,
And loyalties chosen with favour can bode.
A time is approaching when choices for all
Will face a new armour and heraldry call,
So Henry, my father, extends an invite
For Robert’s alliance with new-given right.
As much as your Meadowsford wins our esteem,
Security always is only a dream.
And if with my father you choose not to sing,
This won’t be the last time you fall for a king.”

With that he but nodded to quickly conclude,
And more now than ever I thought him a rude.
And little gave thought to the words he had said.
Commanded my pages to store them instead.

I packed my belongings and set to the task
Of making returns o’er the land’s greening mask.
The show I performed for my pages at hand
Made known that I had o’er my passions command.
And tho’ in defeat I now made my return,
I modeled a dignity stolid and stern.
They offered their sorrows to mark my demise,
So I with politeness accepted their sighs,
But then they proceeded to talk of the day,
And marvel between them the jousting display.
I listened in silence, my thoughts closely kept,
I’d not have them know that I secretly wept.
And painful each step was the journey and trail
That brought me then closer to telling my tale
To Robert and others, who’d eagerly know
The title I’d won and my place in the show.

Uncaring, the Umbrian playfully splashed,
With seasonal swelling it eddied and dashed.
Along with the current we followed its shore,
Retracing the footsteps we’d planted before.
As night was approaching we settled for rest,
And heavy I slept with defeat in my breast.