Daaskmere Monk

William of Meadowsford

Book Cover

arrowShawn Postoff

Copyright © 1997 - 2009
arrowInfinitive Ink Limited


XXIII ill title Strange Encounter

How bleak and so lifeless the world seemed to me,
Once flames, having tasted each leaf and each tree,
Grew weary and faded away from their feast,
And sank back below, down to Hell and its Beast.
They left in their wake but the carcass of love:
The bones of charred trunks that stretched empty above,
And crumbs of grey paper-flake ash sweeping by,
The remnants of life that hot flame had made dry.
My field had become but a desert so still,
Where sorrowful dust settled over my will
To blanket my hopes and shut out from my dreams
The light of such heartfelt and innocent scenes.

My path cut across the great death-ridden plain,
Exploring for signs of survival in vain.
Each blossom, each petal, each colourful face
Was seared by the Dragon and none could I trace.
I walked to the opposite side of the field,
And begged of the trees there to tenderly yield.
For I’d not possess then the strength to make push
My way through their tangled and densely laid bush.

Once found in the trees I trudged on without aim,
My purpose was plundered, my spirit the same.
I fell to the earth, to the cool-captured ground,
Where deep in the woods there was scarcely a sound.
No energy filled me, that terrible day,
I hadn’t the strength then to even make pray.
My head touched the pillow where wilderness crept,
And drained were the thoughts from my head as I slept.

I woke while the darkness still shrouded the land,
And reasoned ‘twas best that I tried not to stand,
For sensing the trees all surrounding my camp,
Futility only did offer its lamp.
So fully awake did I lie there that night,
Attempting to somehow convince me I might
Discover a purpose, a goal or a quest,
So seemingly hopeless designs could be blessed.
But blessings were burdens, I’d come to believe,
For all which had passed did invite me to grieve.
The joust, and the battle, my lovelier field,
I’d once thought them golden, but rust they did yield.
If Robert was lost and good Meadowsford cold,
The only place left that I thought to behold
Was ancient, old Canterbuild, sleepy but true,
Adorned with its holy cathedral anew.
I thought of my boyhood, where actions were free,
And knighthood was nothing but mere fantasy.
I dreamt of Andreas, and mother, so pure,
Beyond the cathedral whose walls could assure.
I longed for the beauty of bright, passing days,
Unburdened by armour and chivalrous ways.

I patiently waited for sunrise to bloom,
And have in the woodland each dewlet illume.
The birds came to singing from just before dawn,
And silent-made deer tracks - a doe and her fawn -
Were captured in earth, the soft hoof-printed pair,
Who quietly followed some forest-food care.
I found me some berries, and drank from a brook,
And later for lunching some acorns I took.
Then thinking no more of that fresh, peaceful place,
I marched from the sunbreak with steadiest pace.

Some hours had passed with the changeless terrain,
I weav’d through the forest and slowly made gain.
But then, as I trudged through the quieter wood,
My path intersected a traveling hood.
And coming together, alone in our thoughts,
Surprised one another with personal plots.
“Beg pardon,” I said to the horse-mounted mind,
Whose courser I’d startled ‘pon making my find.
“I meant not alarm you or cause you distress,
I’ll move me away and I’ll say me some less.”

And as I did detour in front of his path,
He called out to me, “Noble youth, I’ve no wrath
‘Gainst one of mine own who so bravely made show,
At mouth of the cave of good Leighton’s great foe.”

I stopped with my walk and turned quickly to peer
Deep into the hood in whose voice I did hear
The sounds most familiar of one I had known.
“Kind sir,” I entreated, “do make yourself shown.”

With hand sure in purpose he reached to his cloak,
And shed him his shadowy garb with a stroke.
His hair was some ruffled, his face was unclean,
But from it there shone the most magical green!

My heart leapt within me and I in the trees:
I never have quicker dropped down to my knees
As I fell that moment when vision did bring
In front of mine eyes the fine sight of the King.
“My liege!” I exclaimed at His Majesty’s frame.
“I beg your forgiveness for one so untame!
So vulgar must I now appear to your sights,
Unfitting for He who craves comp’ny of knights.
O Sovereign, O State, with your countenance marred,
How came you unshielded without Royal Guard?”

‘Twas like for a moment the light of his green,
Gave way to a dullness in him rarely seen.
“The news of defeat at the Dragon’s dark lair,
Gave rise to a quick and rebellious affair
Where courtly ambition cut highways of stone,
And sovereign’s designs were forgot and o’er-thrown.
The treacherous Anchorwae, sensing his cue,
Was quick to blame failure on I, as Untrue.
Accused me a wicked conspiracy deal
In Lucifer’s language that I would conceal.
Of course, at the time, did confusion abound,
For many, in shock, could he quickly confound.
His squire, the young Henry, assisted the tide,
For he was the one who was there by my side,
When after he’d won my respect at the game:
I’d thought him a subject more loyal and tame.
But no, he had proven his treachery too,
The shadow of battle presented its cue.
He tried to dispatch me while others saw fear,
I only escaped when my luck did appear.
But Houses that held the survivors who fled,
Were stirred to see Andrew more vengefully bled.
So those in my counsel, with trust in my reign,
They quickly were taken and secretly slain.
Thank God for informant - I closely escaped,
Before their unreasoning rage saw me raped.
And fleeing to woodlands with only a horse,
My army is now but a single man’s force.
My kingdom has fallen to other men’s hands,
And so I no longer hold rule o’er these lands.
My court has forsaken and cheated my reign,
For other some selfish and personal gain.
I’m no more your king, for I’ve lost me my throne.
I’ve no more my people, and travel alone.”

I felt for a time that the world was at end,
And hoped that the angels for me would God send.
To live in a land’s illegitimate rule,
Resigned to hear laws so unjustified cruel,
These prospects repulsed and so angered my soul,
I bowed to His first and original role:
“My Lord, tho’ the palace won’t hear you still sing,
To me, in my heart, you shall always be King.”

King Andrew expressed me a look of regret
When I then did ask him if he would be met
With comp’ny and aid I was willing to give.
His Highness declined and assured me he’d live
A life deeply felt and emblazoned with joys:
“King’s castles,” he said, “are of nothing but toys.
True life and real living is sure in each soul,
If one has the courage to follow that goal.
A crown ensures no one of glorious days:
The Heaven-bound route speaks more spirited ways.
Take leave of me now to pursue your own end,
And call me not King, rather love me as friend.”

Such words, nobly spoken, rang deep in my heart.
They painted within me a vibrant new art,
Enkindling a passionate need to press on
And visit that place where my world saw the dawn.
We company parted and went our own way.
I wondered if e’er we’d revisit some day.
Then I, with new vigour and purposeful pace,
Embarked toward Canterbuild, where I’d embrace
The dreams of my childhood, ancient and dim:
I turned to my past for the present was grim.