Daaskmere Monk

William of Meadowsford

Book Cover

arrowShawn Postoff

Copyright © 1997 - 2009
arrowInfinitive Ink Limited


XXVII ill title Empty Accolade

We followed Andreas across the felled stone,
And came to a tub that was standing alone.
Its tight-fastened planks were of thick solid oak,
Its hollow, an oval where water did soak.

“Now slowly your layers of armour unswathe,”
Said Father Andreas, “‘Tis time that you bathe.”

So questioning never his reasoning fresh,
I flayed my dull iron and bared my pale flesh.

‘Pon seeing my chest, ‘twas a worrisome guise
That made its appearance in Robert’s old eyes.
“That mark,” he directed, “that’s born o’er your heart,
It should be inspected for sickness in part.
How came you to catch it, this rash on your breast?”

“I cannot explain it,” to him I confessed.
“But know that it never has caused me a pain,
So ne’er should we worry.” (But this did I feign.)
For lately that patch of my skin, darker red,
Had started a throbbing, internally bled,
That rhythmic’ly pulsed a dull knife in my lungs,
And sawed through my ribcage, destroying its rungs.
The pain was confusing, ‘twas scary and cold,
I suffered it singly, encased in its hold.
But still more afraid of its cure was I then:
An alchemist’s potion would burn still again.
So lied to my captains, tho’ shamed by the stealth,
Chose sickness secure o’er uncertainty health.

The threesome appeared to accept my excuse.
It seemed for the moment I’d crafted a truce.
So into the water my nakedness stepped,
And into my body the wet coldness crept.

“Confession filled midnight this morning has brought,
And now,” Father spoke, “all your secrets are naught.
Your life thus begins with the parchment anew,
I baptize this soul as Saint John unto you.”
He lifted some water and gave it cascade
Across my gaunt cheeks in whose hollows were made
The chattering rhythm of protesting teeth
That shuddered from icy immersion beneath.
Despite the importance of what had occurred,
The water discovered me still unassured.
I’d hoped with its showering, strength could be gleaned,
And doubted direction would from me be cleaned.
But still I felt pangs of uncertainty pull,
My hope in the process not totally full.
But how could I stop it? I’d asked for its rite.
Tho’ faith was unripened, I’d still ‘come a knight.

Just then I was motioned to climb from the pool,
And damp morning winds on my body were cruel.
But Father Andreas then helped me to dress,
With clothing whose colour he made me address:
“This saga is black on your body all o’er,
It serves to remind of the after-life’s door.
Remember that knighthood is merely a call,
Saint Peter will judge you, for Death conquers all.”

“I know, gracious Father,” I told him at once.
“The prospect of Death a knight always confronts.
I pledge to serve humbly the Lord’s loving face,
And end not in shame but in glorious grace.”
(The wind of those words on my tongue seemed untrue,
I sensed a betrayal within me rush through.
And nervousness simple I knew it was not,
That weakness I felt I have never forgot.)
“Then place you on top of your dark mortal vest,
This heavier linen that’s heard in your breast.
Its whiteness is snow that’s new-fallen from God,
To blanket in purity that which you’ve awed.
And now, Christian soldier, kneel down to one knee,
Your master commences his ceremony.”

I fell to the rubble with tensions immense,
As Robert approached me with solemn pretence.
His sword was unsheathed, it flashed full in my eyes,
So lowered my head, tho’t filled me with lies.

“The time has now ripened,” Sir Robert did speak,
“When armed with a sword and the Lord you will seek
Fulfillment and wisdom with valiant deeds,
And follow where ever your spirit quest leads.
Saint John is your guide to give strengthening charms,
And men Hospitallers your Brothers in Arms.
My blade on your shoulder confers you this rite:
I dub thee Sir William, so rise as a knight.”