It was an unmistakable forcefulness to the lights blinking out which signified the occurrence of a powerful and violent event. The bulbs didn’t flicker for a time and then fade, or even blink out instantly. They flared harshly brilliant for a fleeting moment, and then they unceremoniously died. With this, the room was yielded to a smothering dimness. Still, alarming as this otherwise might have been, it wasn’t that which frightened the little girl into growing insensible. It was fast approaching dusk but the final deluge of murky daylight streaming through the windows nonetheless lit the room well enough to see.
No, it was the sharply thunderous boom preceding the lighting’s failure which stunned Beryl into fearful paralysis. For some reason, it instantly flipped a switch inside her. A switch responsible for executing her psyche’s preferred defense mechanism in times of extreme stress: the deactivation of everything inessential and the preemptive withdrawal into the inner sanctum of her mind. The actual strength of the sound had diminished somewhat by the time it reached them, but it was still loud enough to convey an impression of its daunting closeness. Even being near enough to hear the distinctive report of an explosion is a chilling experience though, and rapidly induces the body’s natural responses to peril. There is perhaps nothing that can affect such quivering awe and aversion in a person as the awfully noisy byproduct of otherwise enduring things being forcibly undone. People intrinsically value structure and permanency; explosive force is their adversary. To blow up is to rob something of meaningful form, to inflict nullity, which is an especially abhorrent doom to human beings, the animal kingdom’s preeminent existential narcissists.
Oddly enough, to Beryl the philosophy behind her horrified reaction was unimportant; all she knew was that she was wracked with visceral, if inarticulable, dread. The detonation’s penetrating rumble had just finished reverberating when a palpable wave of faint vibration rippled across the room, causing her hairs to stand on end even more rigidly. Beryl, still immobilized, experienced this encroaching shock wave as a tingling sensation passing through her; it was like the shuddersome exhalation of an approaching spectre of doom.
Chapter 3 - Things begin as you’d expect…
I shall now tell you, as succinctly as is possible, the story of my early life and the events leading up to my current dire predicament in order to effectively preface exactly how I came to be in this miserable and hopeless situation.
Any historian reading this need not trouble themselves too overly with the archival of its every detail for posterity, as most are without merit in that circumstance, for the only important purpose they have is to aid in the comprehension of the matter at hand, namely my untimely death via divine assassination.
My birthplace was also where I would spend my formative years: the thoroughly mundane Egyptian port city of Damietta.
The only family I would ever know was my beloved mother. She was tirelessly compassionate towards me, but also always sternly protective of her only son. Raising me alone, she had to grow tougher, to harden, to be able to properly protect me. There was an astounding duality to her motherly character: she was so gentle and caring when it came to our bond, but she became a ferocious lioness whenever her cub was somehow endangered. I foolishly didn’t realise it as a child, but my mother toiled and sacrificed endlessly to provide a decent life for me. The deep furrows etched into her visage illustrated the struggle she endured daily to ensure our continued livelihood. She would have done anything for me, and she always put me before herself: her maternal protection provides an immeasurable debt of gratitude which I can’t ever hope to repay in full.
When I was very young she was employed as a seamstress performing trivially menial and uninspired work for little pay. Eventually though, she utilised what little money she had managed to accrue as savings and went about embracing larger ambitions in the hopes of benefiting us both. She opened her own small stall at the local market and began selling rather avant-garde clothing of her own fabrication. Initially this tailor-cum-merchant venture met with little success - her creations initially being simply too unconventional for the small-minded folk of the area - but she kept at it, spreading the word however possible that her creations were radically different from the plain, derivative and homogenous offerings which abounded the competing outlets. Soon enough, her efforts paid off and she managed to ignite a new fashion and to establish a largely uncontested niche by meticulously ensuring that her products were consistently either attractively vogue or so ahead of the trend as to have a wildly pioneering appeal. The quality of her work far exceeded comparative pieces from the market’s merchantry, and this earned their vocal ire and disdain.
For a short while, she even attained some measure of local prestige for the unrivaled selection of textiles she had secured via exclusive import contracts with some of the trade ships which frequently docked at the city’s port, and for her truly remarkable talent at the tailor’s craft. Her name was first at hand whenever visiting seamen sought such services and so a fresh stream of customers were regularly directed her way. Over the years many wives were overjoyed at being gifted clothing of her making from their returning husbands, and thus her name spread beyond our city’s dreadfully insular gossip. At the zenith of her popularity and acclaim, various influential socialites throughout the region were well known to wear her attire, honouring my mother’s craftsmanship in a way that I know brought her a great deal of joyful pride. She had began simply humbly seeking some sort of recognition for her talent, and having achieved that so thoroughly, it was obvious that she was immensely proud of her accomplishment, and I was certainly proud that my mother could be counted amongst the few successful female entrepreneurs that our city had fostered. Though it must be said that this distinction earned her equal parts begrudging admiration and venomous envy.
I learned a great deal from my mother. I learned how to stubbornly pursue an ambition, no matter how formidable the opposition you face is. I learned that one person could defeat even massive odds stacked against them with enough planning, determination and fortitude. The most important thing I learned from her though, was that if you want something, you have to seize any and all opportunities to make it your own. Something she told me once that stuck with me was that anyone can have anything they want in this world, they just have to be willing to sacrifice everything else in order to do so.
Chapter Two - An apologia. The reasons are totally irrelevant; let me tell you the reasons.
Having quelled the enormous tide of sorrow building in his chest, and empathetically dabbing at the wet splotches on the parchment with a rag torn from his shirt, hoping to erase the evidence of his momentary weakness from this last record, he sat up straighter, and clenched his teeth in grim determination. Thoughts of the boat being upturned in the next moment and this last ditch attempt at committing his life to paper being made moot caused a fiery, defiant anger to spread throughout his mind. He realised, to his vigorous revivification, that he had to increase his pace, lest all this be for naught; his words would be dissolved and expunged, and their noble purpose be annulled, by the great obliterating force that is the engulfing sea.
The very first thing you must understand is that the woman I appear to glorify in the puerile fashion of an adolescent doting on a classroom crush is entirely worthy of every manner of idolisation I can muster, and more. I have never encountered anyone even remotely like her before. She is spectacularly extraordinary in every sense of the word.
The very instance she entered my life, I experienced something truly wonderful. As if my mind had been clouded with a thick swirling mist of obfuscation and at first sight of her, her image blew through this wretched fog like a powerful gust and displaced it in its entirety. To relate this life-changing phenomenon to someone who has never been in love is practically impossible I’m afraid, but if you’ve felt what I felt, you will know precisely what I refer to.
She was a beacon of blindingly brilliant light. In her awesome glow, I saw clearly for the first time. I saw my life with eyes anew, and I now had my first truly honourable ambition in trying to make her mine forever more. Juxtaposed with this upright gallantry, I realised just how meaninglessly frivolous my life had been before. The brief meeting with her imbued me with such startling clarity, I almost didn’t know what to do with myself; I was paralysed by the salient transparency everything had now adopted. I saw the truth of the matter with unignorable acuity: mine was previously a severely depressing way of life indeed. In fact, I realised, to my aghast horror, that my life was really only rendered as a continuous stream by nature of its successional chain of interconnected disappointments and failures. In hindsight, the many missed opportunities which can be attributed to its short span weren’t so much missed as they were evaded or rejected. This epiphany gave me another gift too: I knew, with ashamed conviction, that my shortcomings were so often of my own manufacture, and to artificially limit oneself like this, for the purpose of a more comfortable existence, is a reprehensible deed to behold.
I assure you that I myself find excessive self-pity repugnantly undignified, though I regularly made its fetid bog my wallowing grounds once upon a time, and so you need not fear its embarrassing occurrence in this chronicle. You also need not worry that I might exaggerate or conceal what really happened. Let me tell you, when your fledgling grasp on mortal existence becomes so apparent that you can practically see the sands of times whiling away before your terrified gaze, the impression you present of yourself is no longer of any especial importance to you, only that you accurately portray your life and times, in vivid moral ugliness and all. What good is an epitaphic testimony composed of lies? No, if it deems me at all noteworthy and thus opts to gift me the honour of its remembrance, I would have history’s immortal record depict me as the man I genuinely was. I was flawed. I was foolish. I was brashly flesh and blood. So often, I was intent on living hedonistically, surviving at any cost, and accruing scars and regrets as if commemorations of emboldenment, and wearing cavalier irreverence as if a flagrant emblem signifying my character.
I owe any forthcoming annals, should I be deemed worthy of entry into them, a brazenly authentic account of my dealings, and though I intend to be as boldly candid as possible I do not relish retelling and detailing the many ugly things I have done. Respectively, in the eyes of the law, in the gaze of the heavens, and the collective opinion of society, I have repeatedly and unapologetically done things that are unlawful, sinful and immoral. Some of these misdeeds were at the imperative of survivalism, and I generally feel no remorse for those instances; though, in hindsight, and in the interest of full disclosure, many of the dangerous scenarios I found myself needing to escape from were, for all intents and purposes, voluntarily entered into, because the miscreancy and wrongdoing involved in such choices were performed of my own volition.
Although, and perhaps foolishly, my soul rests somewhat easier on consideration of the fact that I have never actually purposely or directly killed a man in the course of my nefarious affairs. However, I must admit that there were definitely points when I would have done so, had it been a requisite of my continued survival, or, during particularly dark periods in my travels, had great potential profit been even its sole incentive. That being said, I have injured, even maimed, a handful of other men, always in self-defense, though sometimes preemptively so. Yet, once again, the theatrics behind each such episode of necessary violence were generally produced or induced by either my haughtily swashbuckling ways or my arrogant disregard for caution when I found myself in dangerous places among equally dangerous people.
Also, I have stolen from a truly countless multitude of my fellow countrymen and peers, and practically every single time having done so without reluctance beforehand or guilt afterwards. You might think that this apathy was simply due to me systematically suppressing the inherent feelings of contrition and remorse, but the truth is that there was actually no such emotional response for me to have to do so. I considered such offenses to be trivial infringements upon the liberty of others and so spared the consequences or moral repercussions no thought. This selective sociopathy proved mightily convenient in my criminal endeavours.
Beyond these transgressions, I have also committed a great many other offenses against my fellow man: I’ve deceived them, cheated them, betrayed them, et cetera. Out of some misplaced sense of honour, where possible, I consciously attempted to limit the targets of my roguery to those engaging in it themselves. Whilst this uniformly elicited a satisfying feeling of twisted righteousness, this unorthodox form of ethical recompense or atonement was a rarely enjoyed gratification as the majority of those I disadvantaged with my misdeeds were common folk. I would add though, maybe due to unwarranted pride, that I have always strived to adhere to an unwritten, indeed nebulously defined, personal code of conduct, the boundaries of which are not so easy to definitively identify but they have at least prevented me from ever inflicting serious misfortune or hardship upon the old, the infirm, and of course, children. Yet, I think that if I am to eventually be judged by a higher power, these weak conscientious scruples shall not be weighed too heavily as a token of redemption.
Whatever rationalizations I offer will invariably, and probably rightfully, seem as though childish excuses meant to exculpate myself of blame but I assure you that they are nothing of the sort, for they are merely intended as an elucidation of my motivations. Let it be said that I fully embrace my rightful accountability for an immoral existence forged by malevolence and mischief.
Nevertheless, my justifications and admissions of blameworthiness are largely unimportant to the story itself, and shall be saved, I think, for a far more severe and prejudiced adjudicator than you my friend.
Chapter One - The clarity and humility of predeath epistolary storytelling.
The flurry of rapid, staccato movements threw the illuminated dust motes orbiting the candle’s flickering, blinking flame into whirling eddies. So intent was his frenzied concentration however, that this peculiar phenomenon entirely escaped even the most minute diversion of attention. In the softly vivid and fluttering glow, the quill’s ragged feather deftly danced between the light and the shadows at the fevered behest of his mad scribbling. Having endured an unfortunately prolonged period of disuse and storage, its paltry plume had become sullied with soot and it speckled the unravelled scroll of coarse parchment with little dark blemishes when it shook and quivered during its rhythmic swaying.
A grubby ink bottle sat besides him, its label yellowed and curled, surrounded by a small pool of overflow from where his hurried dipping of the nib had unintentionally decanted some of the viscous liquid. Furthermore, the deck’s constant tilting and shifting every which way had induced the ink to duly flow away from its source in outwardly probing streams, and this produced the impression of a myriad of little miry tendrils venturing towards most every direction. As the bizarre formation slowly coagulated it began to resemble the black silhouette of a star peering past and around the pot with its inky sunbeams - until this composition was violently dissolved by a falling teardrop. Still, though this otherwise bothersome waste of ink initially evoked an instinctual pang of disconcertedness, it thereafter went flagrantly unheeded nonetheless. Usually, he would have expended great care so to preserve this precious amenity as his personal stockpile was painfully meagre and alternatives were particularly difficult to come by at sea. Yet, on this day, in this final desperate hour, his vehement focus was directed solely at what he was writing.
Still, what he was actually committing to that tautly stretched parchment bore only decidedly scant attempts at the expectantly utilitarian succinctness, for he could not rebuff the intrinsic urge of the dramatist’s embellishment, not even now - especially not now. He was certainly well aware of the overbearing urgency of his task, but also that it would likely be his last living act and his final opportunity to leave some sort of enduring mark on the world. If this writing was to be his concluding contribution to the humanity, he had quite a marked intention to ensure that it was very much deserving of more than mere relegation to the dustily unperturbed footnotes of history’s grand annals.
And so, what he was animatedly, carelessly scribing, with the intensity of a man knowingly hounded by death’s miserable and relentless trailing, was not simply an explanation or a goodbye, it was a means by which he would transmute his life, which would soon be banished to oblivion in its current form, into something that wouldn’t die: the grandiose immortality of the written word. The profound seriousness of this undertaking was definitely not lost on him, and it weighed very heavily on his already overtaxed mind as he set about attempting to derive his mortal essence into the words he hurriedly and erratically scrawled.
What he wrote was as follows:
There has been steely resolve and herculean exertion, and, despite this, there was subsequently still unmistakable glimmers of grand disappointment. There are deliciously cyberpunk esque experimental adventures. There will be redoubled efforts and an unwaveringly fixed gaze towards the delightfully impossible end goal.
In the meanwhile though, I’m absorbingly eager to get back to writing. Really get back to it. To be subsumed and consumed by it in equal measure. Fully. Wholly. Insanely. However, there are still some troublesome anchors which weigh on my mind a great deal whenever I try to start something new. Perhaps the most pertinent such burden is the various works I haven’t published anywhere, that have languished unattended and unexhibited. So I have been, and will continue (as best as is possible), to finally post such things - so to free up my increasingly beleaguered mind for future projects. And believe me: I have ideas.
The piece I intend to post next is my current magnum opus, and it has been gestating for a decidedly long time. Do things like this improve with age? Perhaps. Regardless, this
work in progress ‘unfinished’ (surprising nobody) piece of writing has been party to staccato visitations from my concerted attention for quite some time, and so it has, in some ways, captured a snapshot of my creative mind at various times. The ghosts of my past selfs rattle their awful chains as they drift to-and-fro within these words.
Hounds bay impatiently and ravenously somewhere close, somewhere unseen. A gargantuan leviathan winks awake beneath the waves and indignantly observes that its mighty kingdom is no more. The storied stone colossus senses a great horn bleating its mournful song, calling for his return, and begins treading with grandiose authority towards the horizon.
Something wicked this way comes…
[This is a redux version of a short story I wrote some time ago. The additions and improvements aren’t overtly colossal, but they are really quite significant in how they change the reader’s understanding of the protagonist, and so I feel that they tangibly improve it a great deal overall.]
Bang, the rifle fires, and with a resentful forcefulness its butt violently shudders backwards into his tensed shoulder.
Clink, the bolt is stiffly yanked back, which ejects the spent casing from the breach, and it wildly spins into a descent toward the floor.
Somewhere inside the weapon, the firing pin is cocked.
Dink, the casing ricochets off the floor and rolls around.
Click, the bolt is pushed forward firmly and it locks in place with a satisfying snap.
A new round is automatically stripped from the magazine and then chambered in the breach
He performs this routine without thinking. Jerking about with such deliberate, efficient motions, he mechanically carries out the sequence in barely a second’s span, demonstrating supremely well practiced precision.
Patiently watching the telling aftermath of his kill, he silently mused ‘Hmm, a couple deliberately wide potshots to spur his confidence and daring, to entice him into poking his head out of cover and he doesn’t disappoint. He stuck his head out so tauntingly, so foolishly. The more experienced of these German bastards are so brash and arrogant. The gung-ho Americans are just as bad of course: they also have a marked tendency to needlessly dice with death at the whim of their egos.’
The shot had wrought open an unsightly hole in the soldier’s helmet and, entering through the forehead, his head. Immediately afterward, the unexpected impact had awkwardly spun him around, spraying blood and gore in a spiral as he fell. The body had crumpled to the ground, tangled and pathetic. A long moment then passed as his comrades exchanged shocked glances and drank in the full horror of the situation. Finally they unceremoniously reached out and dragged the corpse back behind their cover. Dejectedly slumping down beside it, the panicked yelling of expletives began in earnest.
Neglecting to even pull his eye away from the rifle’s scope, he groped at his belt and unsheathed his blade, then he disinterestedly scrawled another line on the tally: a diligently maintained running count scratched into the wooden windowsill ledge that the rifle’s stock was resting on.
[This poem is a redux version of the original, combined with the fragments I had already written for its sequel, a fair bit I wrote for it now, and radically revised versions of my Under Exalted Heels poems. I amalgamated it out of, let’s say, necessity, and though the two universes seem incongruent, I’m proud of how the poems all ended up melding beautifully. So let’s just pretend I meant to do this all along. The virtue of this poem will dictate whether I get to do what I really want to do; it’s that important, and I’m (theoretically) that confident in it.]
Prologue: Grandiose promises of yarn-spinning
"Come traveler, and let me tell you of a forgotten realm trapped in yore
Fill that chair, and into your mug this flagon’s fine mead will duly pour
As this is a tale best enjoyed in good company, food and drink galore
This hearth’s fire will warm us and ours minds shall drift, and explore
a land that many bards the world over once came to longingly adore
For, not least, inns all across this land would fill with countless score
of eager simple folk, a stoic sort so rarely inspired to cheer and roar
in appreciation of a poet’s well-spun tale, one deserving of ‘encore!’
This is such a story, though sadly one no longer held in such ardour
No, it’s been relegated to dusty tomes, whose perusal is quite a chore;
most libraries ‘cross the continent rarely hold a volume in their store
So it has now become a victim of obscurity like so many have before
How is it that rich worldly legendry could be considered but a bore?
Historians dig for paltry earthly trinkets but tend to so woefully ignore
that real treasures are found in that, since oft pored over, elder lore
Wait where was I? Oh yes! This fable which has not its existence nor
its story widely known, thanks to our mythos forsaken age of sorry war
Were its preservation to be deserted it may thusly be lost forever more!
At least if not for the few tales still told of it, ones fiercely embossed for
drama’s great effect: ‘Adventurers lo! Heed this tale you must not ignore’
Chapter I: The dystopia fosters a champion
In a distant kingdom, whose birthright was forged in the paupers’ fear,
a tyrant ruled over his people with an iron fist and a righteous sneer
His state taxes were exorbitant and his laws were so unfairly severe:
the punishments found therein were such that one wouldn’t volunteer
them upon even a most hated enemy, so brutalizing were they here
Whilst the King lived in glowing luxury, his subjects were kept austere
Peasantry in nature were they mostly; rarely could one name a peer
whose new status as a yeoman was long lived inside of this frontier
The sovereign’s inner-circle was composed of supposed cavaliers,
who, in reality, merely acted as the despot’s worldly eyes and ears
Ironic, in its way, as, amongst the people, their hollow kind veneer
fooled absolutely no-one, for all knew that their gifts were insincere
Each was retasked from spy to under-thumb, uncontested profiteer:
greedy land barons who met any tenant’s pleas of lacking with a jeer
The King also had a standing army, whom none would greet with cheer:
for even though their coat of arms bore a nobly valiant soldier’s bandolier,
these mercenaries did nothing but obey his tyrannical whims each year
See, outside of the realm’s borders there stood no equal who’d persevere
against this oppression and seek to invade, and free, this forlorn sphere
Thus, the situation was grimly hopeless or so it would outwardly appear
Yet, there was a heroic champion whose coming the peasants did revere
A child whose birth was prophesied to happen with but a single loving tear
For his mother would soon thereafter be put to death at the point of spear
and in her lifeless arms this babe would not cry, to her bosom he’d adhere
till the soldiers tore him off her to, in awe, dutifully spank his newborn rear
His destiny was claimed to be, in the verdict of every single salt-worthy seer,
that when he came of age, this oligarchy, which clearly sought to domineer
every commoner, would finally be challenged, its blight would come to clear,
and its end, long since disregarded, would, on the faint horizon, surely near
Chapter II: The child born of death
And this boy! Oh this boy! How unseeming could such a special child be?
For were you to look upon him, a savior you would hard pressed be to see
Initially a weak, sickly lad who was adopted by a humble pig-farming retiree
and raised as was the custom: god-fearing, obedient, so inclined to agree
with any man of the cloth who should offer any divine directive or decree
It was also noted in his village that no others were as mild in manner as he
Not that he was meek, or even wimpy, just so unassuming was he in deed
Though twas not his nature in everything, in one field he was genuinely gutsy:
with other boys he would roughhouse if provoked (but to no severe degree)
Thanks to the adept tutelage of his ‘father’, long since a legionnaire draftee,
the boy had learned basic sword fighting with sticks from a gnarled oak tree
His grizzled sire taught him much of battle, imparting a considerable pedigree
In fencing no other local boy could match his skill or daring, his warrior esprit!
Chapter III: That which always changes, rarely for the better
Soon though, the boy became a man, in the cruel fashion of the land,
when his lowly father was abducted after tangling with the lawmen
over the tyrant’s always increasing taxes and their pitiless demand
As the boy was out at field, swiping and thrusting at the straw-men,
practicing his new found art, his papa was taken, shackled in remand,
and quickly sentenced to hard labour his old bones just couldn’t stand
The boy returned from his joyful frolics to find the village much abuzz
with harsh gossip of his papa’s unbroken spiritedness and imprisonment
The throngs treated the oddball boy with upright suspiciousness because
it had also spread that the farmer was some sort of political dissident,
whose child, it was said, was not merely unusual but in truth illegitimate
He rushed crying from the hissing accusations of the simple, fearful folk,
and then made haste back unto the family’s cottage frightfully confused
He saw, in the distance, the quaint little homestead billowing inky smoke
and ran as fast as possible till he came across a man leaning on the oak
With tearful steadfast gaze the man fast embraced the boy and then used
a shaking hand to draw from out his pocket a small book, when he spoke
he explained to the boy exactly of what his father had really been accused
and as the fire quelled, and died in bitter embers, without the wind to stoke,
he heard of his papa’s secret nature, and of boyish naivety was disabused
Upstarting, the man took in the awful scene, and tugged tightly at his cloak
which bore the same peculiar emblem as the book’s cover, which did evoke
within the boy images of his father’s ring, and thus served to have infused
the boy with trusting hope, so that the man’s offer of a new life did provoke
awkwardly falling tears as he voiced his acquiescence with a throaty croak
Chapter IV: An Ouroboros gestation - a tale within a tale within a tale
In the man’s stately carriage they did journey into the bustling city’s heart
The boy flipped through the pages of his papa’s pocketbook and so beheld
that it housed an arcane poem of his papa’s, one written hoping it impelled
the reader towards its decryption and thus the secret knowledge it’d impart:
A king bloated with undue power did tread roughshod over all the human race
‘My liege, but what of freedom?’ asks a courtesan still of unquestioned chaste
He thought hard, then did naught but slap her face, without a moment’s haste,
and reasoned “In my kingdom, treason is that word, for it will have no place!”
He claimed to be domineering for a purpose: to free a world of slaves
who’d otherwise usurp us rational minority with a tribute paid to knaves
who claim a measly worldly pittance must be the only just remittance
to meddling Gods who sit setting morbid wagers just beyond our graves
Our measure of plodding earth seems grand but Royal pastures so expand
far beyond what the eye can easily see, and if annexed for our due territory
We would earn that bold undying fame: a noblest legacy of a hero’s acclaim
In Valhalla our vanguard’s place; they’d erect our cenotaph in godly domain
Like you, I will not be circumscribed, the wretched King himself I’d surprise
I implore you brothers, join me in shaking off this humbly subservient guise
and ascend to meet that rotten bastard in his ill-begotten castle eye-to-eye
We must become the glorious champions of all our pure and honest kind
We must show all that the imperial beast can fall and this world we’ll redefine
Our people’s militia shall assemble, and then initiate our righteous campaign
against that evilest despot whom fate’s justice has not yet seem fit to arraign
We’ll seek to claim all his purloined spoils for the kind, docile men of this land:
to finally place our grass-stained hands beyond the modest arm’s just span
Our crusade started, adopt skyward glare, seek details of their towering lair
Probe our enemy sat in airy overlook; revolve round them with roving rook
Spread word of their coming ruin in every common ear as herald of our advent
The proletariat will disperse this omen; notched and fired, our first arrow sent!
Then, in the awful twilight quiet, we shall rend the Heavens from the Earth
and in this glorious hierarchical limbo we shall long be given a private berth
The chaos of newly free men’s joyous riot will constitute a debasing hearth
to cook and crack the damned chains of aristocracy in brashly mortal fire
We shall unleash the indignantly vengeful beasts who know the king as sire
Their adamantine hides will flow with molten rage and, honour-bound, anneal
'til they harden nigh-impenetrable, bearing a blazing crest of unbrittled zeal
In the grand aftermath of our emancipation the children of revolt shall rile
the dictator’s fragile union of underlings and minions, who we shall beguile
with promises of reinstation into power once the autocracy meets repeal
We’ll task them with sabotage: lend their filthy ears to fill with a subtle bile
Then we’ll douse our reverently enraged titans in the most potent hellfire wrath
'tis true the immensely rugged and stalwart resolve the amassed belittled hath
To convey this intrepidly lion-hearted army’s mission and direct our holy spear:
I’ll mount the regent’s statue to bellow ‘What is owed the oppressed mutineer?’
Our defiant force of valour all assembled, given sharp and flame of a finest steel
We the hallowed flag bearers as the common man charges ornate palace gates,
are blessed architects of a grandiose plan perfected whilst beneath a royal heel
Revolution cometh; the swine sat haughtily upon a wicked throne we will displace
The meekly downtrodden have arisen, and the King before us shall finally kneel!
He read in awe, struggling to comprehend as his schooling was but brief
It was clear though, from the poem’s frequent annotations found therein,
that in many of the words some sort of special second meaning lay within
The implication were startling, inspiring in the boy an astounded disbelief
for it seemed that his father, instead of farmer, was to a spy far more akin
For the poem his father had once penned was apparently being covertly printed
as pamphlets to be distributed to rally known political dissidents in that manner
of clandestine conscription by which dormant armies, via a single central planner,
are assembled and given their instruction by a cryptic code that the poem hinted
So that a secret plot may be dispersed and all gathered under revolution’s banner
The carriage bumped over cobblestone, and yanked the boy from his imagination
As the massive city came in view, an excitement flourished within his boyish mind
For he was his father’s son and now bequeathed leadership of rebellious design
The days ahead would see the boy learn even more about the vast orchestration
So that the very first step of the plan was absolutely clear: his father’s liberation!”