Daaskmere Monk

William of Meadowsford

Book Cover

arrowShawn Postoff

Copyright © 1997 - 2009
arrowInfinitive Ink Limited


XXV ill title Dismal Return

With desperate denial I wept disbelief,
And cursed the destroyer as savage and thief,
Then stumbled me down to the village below
To find some companionship there with my woe.
Remains of old homes did betray none alive,
The market abandoned, no life in its hive.
I trudged through the silence of Canterbuild’s ghost,
And sensed I had come the last guest it would host.
And then I encountered the fallen, charred blocks,
The random deployment of ruinous rocks.
I sank to the soot and reached ‘round in the mess,
Discovering there with a dismal success
A fragment of glass coloured richly in blue
That fell from the lofty Rosetta I knew.

“And now, ‘tis all over,” I said to my own.
“The journey has ended in failure alone.
I’ve nothing to strive for in quest or in dreams.
I’ve no one to die for, no royal esteems.
My armour shall rust here amidst this decay,
And never shall knighthood come riding my way.”
Of thoughts to be cherished, there little survived,
I scarcely would notice when night had arrived.

The following morning saw cloud cover low,
So sight was a greyness above and below.
I stood to see more of the wasteland all ‘round,
Confirming the total destruction I found.
But there, at the edge of the fallen remains,
I captured a movement that only explains
The form of another of human design,
That slowly was struggling across the dead shrine.
I started an opposite passage in turn,
To quicker close distance and try to discern
If here was a person of friendly intent,
Perhaps who, like me, seemed entrapped in descent.
The details emerged as the other came near,
Revealing, when holiest robes did appear,
Good Father Andreas, who helped my new stage
Those ages ago when he placed me as Page.

“Dear Father!” I cried when he reached me at last,
“‘Tis I, the boy William, ten years ago past.
‘Twas mother who brought me, you told the Lord’s tale,
And then you dispatched me to Meadowsford Dale.”

A spark recognizable flashed in his eye,
“Dear Lord, I remember,” he said with a sigh.
“O William, do summon the seat of your strength,
And stay but a while to report me at length
The roots of your travels and how you arrived
Amidst all this dust where so little survived.”

I fell to the rubble, the last of its stones,
And tried to revive what remained in my bones.
“Dear Father, with heartache has come the belief,
That through these dark days I’ve companioned with Grief.
Her comp’ny was constant with all I did find,
And heavy with chains to my heart she did bind.
I met her, a wand’ring, as she through the fray
Did move to seek shelter secure in dismay.
And when the great battle did end in defeat,
‘Twas she who emerged to recount the retreat.
Her sorrowful words were sung low in the dirge,
And nothing could have their grey heaviness purged.
She sang of Sir Robert, who, missing and gone,
Was probably killed with his sword barely drawn.
Attempting to banish her pale, haunting moan,
I fled to my field to recapture some tone,
Yet found there instead but her dismal, sad song,
To which I’d grown weary of after so long.
Her verses this time sang destruction and fire,
The Dragon spoke riddles of taunting desire.
Then meeting the King without court or His fame
Made Grief so much bolder to sing without shame.
But then, Lord have mercy, respite from her bends,
A chance to have Grief find her music at ends:
Dear Agnes, with gallant renditions of joy,
Made promising progress to fully destroy
The songs of my sadness that sounded from Grief,
And for a short time there indeed was relief.
But now I’ve come home to discover this fire,
And Grief’s not alone, for she sings as a choir.”

“Brave lad,” said Andreas, “you’ve suffered so much,
And seen haunted visions no angel would touch.
I fear then to tell you the terrible truth
Of how this cathedral was toppled in youth.”

“No need,” I responded with harsh, bitter tone.
“The plan of destruction I’ve secretly known.
I’ll tell you myself that the Dragon revealed
His darkest intentions to me while concealed
Within his own soul, hosting me, my own heart.
I’ve known of this doom pending right from the start.
Allow me to picture for you in my head,
The image of townsfolk all fleeing in dread,
As falling upon them, descending from sky,
The great looming form of the Dragon did fly.
And then, landing coldly, how boldly he stared
At gargoyle defenders whose stonework had dared
To face the dark beast and his windows of red.
By now from the square many hundreds had fled,
But nothing could alter the forthcoming pain,
Or shelter the chapel from fiery rain.
The Dragon did tower above the twin spires
And then through his nostrils he breathed his twin fires.
Then lifted his claw without any appease,
And smashed the Cathedral with treacherous ease.”

Andreas was nodding and shivering cold.
“Events did occur as exact as you told.
Dear boy, is there nothing God’s Word can provide
To one who so deeply needs God at his side?”

“Kind Father,” I said in my suffering state,
“There is a fulfillment I’ve wanted of late.
I’m not fully sanctioned a Soldier of Christ,
‘Til now, I have lived but in training enticed.
And yet I remember your face in my past
While talking to mother before the repast.
In truth, I recall it was here at this place,
When God had new arches to point to His Grace.
Those eager, soft words that I heard you then say,
‘‘Tis here he’ll be knighted some glorious day.’
O Father, my dream for long ages in sight
Has been but to have it bestowed me a knight!”

Andreas then nodded without any pause,
“Good William, ‘tis truly a Heavenly cause.
I urge you prepare for your baptizing rite:
Dispose of your sins with a vigil this night.”