Daaskmere Monk

William of Meadowsford

Book Cover

arrowShawn Postoff

Copyright © 1997 - 2009
arrowInfinitive Ink Limited


XXVI ill title Lengthy Prayers

I sought out the space where the apse had once glowed,
Before the destruction had crumbled its load,
And clambering over the new-fallen shrine,
I stumbled across a stone visage divine.
The beautiful features stared angled and out,
Unfocused and covered with dust and with doubt.
I kneeled to lift gently the stonework of grace,
And cradled the likeness of Mary’s cracked face.
‘Twas only her head, for the body was lost.
Yet still on the eve of this sad Pentecost,
I felt her pure spirit and holiness near,
And knew that my prayers on this night she would hear.
With gentle devotion I set her face down,
So I in her luminous texture could drown
My words of repentance confessed to the Lord,
And have through the night all my secrets explored.

‘Pon choosing my space, of Andreas I asked,
“Dear Father, some myst’ries I’m needing unmasked.
The first is how you did survive the attack:
The rain of the chapel and flame on your back?”

“There’s no doubt the timing of God interfered.
For just at the moment the Dragon appeared,
I’d fully descended to deep underground.
Below in the crypt was where I could be found.
I’d gone down to add to the treasure and store,
And while in its caverns, I fell to the floor
When rumblings and thunder above me were heard.
I knew at that instant what grief had occurred.
And then from the stairway crashed blocks of debris,
They threatened to seal my own mortuary.
But from the crypt leads a small tunnel to light,
Its length from the shrine was the towering height.
And so at its exit emerged I to find
The Dragon escaping the death he designed.”

“Dost know of my mother?” I asked of him then.

“The few who survived,” he responded again,
“Decided ‘twas best to abandon the town
Upon which it seemed that the angels did frown.
I helped in their exodus, led them away,
And none of your family joined us that day.
Dear William, ‘tis healthy to grieve for their lives,
Include them tonight when your vigil arrives.”

I nodded a solemn agreement for prayer,
Then asked the last question I hoped he would share.
“If you with the townsfolk did leave from this scorn,
How is it you found me this earlier morn?
What prompted your coming, despite all the death?
This township, O Father, has lived its last breath.”

Andreas was thoughtful to form a reply,
Desiring for sensible words to apply.
“With helpers I make my return every day,
To see about saving whatever I may.
For still in this rubble do treasures exist:
The faces and statues the murderer missed,
The ornaments, carvings, and maybe the bells -
We’ll take them, and save them to build somewhere else.”
With that he did smile, and warmth did it give,
“Our grief does provide us the challenge to live.”
Andreas then left to prepare for the morn,
When clothings of squire would from me be torn.

The sun was slow sinking behind in the west,
As I, eastward facing, prepared for my test.
Its warm, orange light painted Mary a smile
That lifted her loveliness for a short while.
But then the horizon did swallow the sun,
To signal with dusk that the night had begun.

“Dear God,” I said softly, “omnipotent sight,
I ask that you hear me aspiring to knight.
I’ll strive to be honest and truthful and clear,
For tho’ I do love Thee, I also do fear.
Absolve me, dear Lord, of my trespass and sin.
Permit me my service as knight to begin.”
And following close on this humbly said prayer,
I listed in detail the length of despair.
The first dark confession my spirit did bleed
Was truly my oldest and heaviest deed.
The death of Blind Tom far commanded my time
As I begged forgiveness from Christ for my crime.
For I had found peace in myself and for Tom,
An annual candle for him would burn calm.
But somehow, I needed assurance, not fraud,
That truly my soul had been pardoned by God.
I felt, for an answer, that faith was the key,
‘Twas all I could hope for in trying to see
How I could live soundly, in freedom from doubt
That Death would not see me from Heaven cast out.

But also was I then compelled to explore,
The other dark secret neglected before:
For still with regret I remembered some days
When all of my reverence and faith in His ways
Was weakened by doubt and such soulless fatigue,
And I almost found me with Satan in league.
‘Twas envious eyes that would look to the weave,
And in its tight image most always perceive
Appearances proud of good Duncan, my friend.
Expensive that arras its colours did blend,
Its value was more then I’d ever conceive,
The time to create it, I could not believe.
And I could not answer the question I held,
If hating the tapestry fuelled and compelled
My doubt in my person, or rather if still,
‘Twas that which I envied that frightened my will.
This source of confusion bred fear in my mind,
So prayed I to Mary to help me in kind,
And give me her guidance, an action suggest,
So I could emerge with a purpose from test.
But nothing she ventured, and less did I hear,
Which heightened within me that terrible fear.

And then as the hours did slowly drift by,
I thought on my mother, and wanted to cry.
‘Twas years since I’d seen her, but still I’d believed,
That time traveled with me, enough had I grieved.
But now my assumptions betrayed me their lie,
And mother was dead, I’d not said my goodbye.
‘Twixt father and I there was little to say.
‘Twas not from a hatred, but lack of a way.
I never had truly discovered our kin:
His mem’ry was that of a stranger within.

The stars floated softly from th’east to the west,
Their distant migration a journey in jest.
For each at its zenith of infinite sky
Peered down to observe me with curious eye.
They tossed speculation and guessed at my lines.
The firmament sparkled with laughing designs.
I guessed me at first they were teasing my toil,
And clouding my prayers with their chattering roil.
But glancing ahead to the distance and dark,
I dimly discerned the horizon’s rough mark,
As easternmost oceans of lightless expanse
‘Came brighter and bold with Apollo’s advance.
And realized I then that the laughter above
Was joyful in mirth and now singing with love:
The high celebration that cheerfully shone,
Did herald the death of the night with the dawn.

The stars then with earnest I’d not disbelieve,
Bade wishes of kindness and took them their leave.
The faintest ones first and then followed them nigh
By brighter ones still against wakening sky.
From blackness came blue as stars faded away,
And colourful bands in the east made display,
As if, ever-changing, they struggled to find
The perfect such blend to give backdrop behind
The sun, who was summoned to journey again,
And shine his warm life on the world and its men.
Then not disappointing my hopes and my heart,
He cracked the horizon, and gave the day start.

With stiff-aching joints I uplifted my weight,
Relieved of the numbness the night did create.
Then turned to see Father Andreas in grace,
Who, standing in rubble, seemed still in his place.
And waving me closer, he beckoned me near,
To guide with instruction and lessen my fear.
“While you through the night sent confessions above,
I sent me a servant as Noah’s white dove,
And ‘cross the great oceans of floodwater tears,
I sought to remind you that love perseveres.
He flew through the night at a marvelous pace,
Instructed that ‘twas against time he did race.
And then with my message in hand at his reins,
Delivered its content that told of your pains.
Then came with an olive branch here to this rite,
The purge is now over, observe you this sight:”
And gesturing off to the edge of the blocks,
He pointed to me taller mountains o’er rocks.
For standing and smiling with pride full and warm,
Was none but Sir Robert’s most fortified form,
And also beside him, with similar shade,
Was Wimstayme whose stature was happily made.

No passage of time to that mem’ry is threat,
The joy in my heart I will never forget.
I hurriedly fought o’er the rugged terrain
To reach me their harbouring safety again.
One time I was fallen, my foot wrongly placed,
But rose and pushed harder to find me embraced.
At last was delivered their consummate clutch,
The best of our bond made and modeled by touch.

I started to question them, eager with joy,
But Robert did silence me, “Later, my boy.
The years of your dreaming have seen their last day,
And knighthood is waiting but moments away.”