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Saturday, September 30, 2006

~ The Secret People ~

Smile at us, pay us, pass us; but do not quite forget;
For we are the people of England, that never have spoken yet.
There is many a fat farmer that drinks less cheerfully,
There is many a free French peasant who is richer and sadder than we.
There are no folk in the whole world so helpless or so wise.
There is hunger in our bellies, there is laughter in our eyes;
You laugh at us and love us, both mugs and eyes are wet:
Only you do not know us. For we have not spoken yet.

The fine French kings came over in a flutter of flags and dames.
We liked their smiles and battles, but we never could say their names.
The blood ran red to Bosworth and the high French lords went down;
There was naught but a naked people under a naked crown.
And the eyes of the King's Servants turned terribly every way,
And the gold of the King's Servants rose higher every day.
They burnt the homes of the shaven men, that had been quaint and kind,
Till there was no bed in a monk's house, nor food that man could find.
The inns of God where no man paid, that were the wall of the weak.
The King's Servants ate them all. And still we did not speak.

And the face of the King's Servants grew greater than the King:
He tricked them, and they trapped him, and stood round him in a ring.
The new grave lords closed round him, that had eaten the abbey's fruits,
And the men of the new religion, with their bibles in their boots,
We saw their shoulders moving, to menace or discuss,
And some were pure and some were vile; but none took heed of us.
We saw the King as they killed him, and his face was proud and pale;
And a few men talked of freedom, while England talked of ale.

A war that we understood not came over the world and woke
Americans, Frenchmen, Irish; but we knew not the things they spoke.
They talked about rights and nature and peace and the people's reign:
And the squires, our masters, bade us fight; and scorned us never again.
Weak if we be for ever, could none condemn us then;
Men called us serfs and drudges; men knew that we were men.
In foam and flame at Trafalgar, on Albuera plains,
We did and died like lions, to keep ourselves in chains,
We lay in living ruins; firing and fearing not
The strange fierce face of the Frenchmen who knew for what they fought,
And the man who seemed to be more than a man we strained against and broke;
And we broke our own rights with him. And still we never spoke.

Our patch of glory ended; we never heard guns again.
But the squire seemed struck in the saddle; he was foolish, as if in pain,
He leaned on a staggering lawyer, he clutched a cringing Jew,
He was stricken; it may be, after all, he was stricken at Waterloo.
Or perhaps the shades of the shaven men, whose spoil is in his house,
Come back in shining shapes at last to spoil his last carouse:
We only know the last sad squires rode slowly towards the sea,
And a new people takes the land: and still it is not we.

They have given us into the hand of new unhappy lords,
Lords without anger or honour, who dare not carry their swords.
They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes;
They look at our labour and laughter as a tired man looks at flies.
And the load of their loveless pity is worse than the ancient wrongs,
Their doors are shut in the evening; and they know no songs.

We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet,
Yet is there no man speaketh as we speak in the street.
It may be we shall rise the last as Frenchmen rose the first,
Our wrath come after Russia's wrath and our wrath be the worst.
It may be we are meant to mark with our riot and our rest
God's scorn for all men governing. It may be beer is best.
But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet.
Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget.

by G.K.Chesterton

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Troll Guard

The Troll Guard is well known to me. I first summoned them when I was a Witchling concerning a matter in the mundane that I don’t even remember now. I know I felt I needed protection. Tossing and turning at night I couldn’t sleep so rose to look out of the window, I lived on the sixteenth floor so imagine my surprise when I saw the back of a huge helmeted head. The head must have been five foot from the forehead to his chin. I knew there would be three other trolls guarding each corner of the building. That was what I had asked for. He was holding his sword upright in front of his face. I felt so protected and peaceful that I was able to go back to sleep.

The Troll Guard have been with me on and off ever since. Contrary to popular opinion Trolls are very large indeed; they can be a little clumsy because of this. They enjoy logic and like to keep things straightforward. Because of this they respond well to military discipline and often form guards, for protection and for other various causes. They are fearless in a just cause.

Many years later, in cyber space, I came across a group who were inflicted by a psychic vampire. I was part of their cause too. The vampire attacked me and the resulting sulphurous exchange could be detected through the ether. However the group continued to give credence to the vampire so its powers grew. I was summoned through several covens; an explanation was required of me. I explained there were too many women and children involved for me to simply walk away. I had no credence in the group troubled with the vampire so was unable to influence them. The group were charmed by the mundane. Elders muttered and chuntled. I held my ground I believed the group needed help.

A lady came forward with flowers in her hair, she offered me her cup, I admired her dress. She presented to me a book*; she took a flower from her hair and arranged it in my curls, a Bluebell. Another lady came forward she wore a necklace of sapphires that glittered blue in the flames. I smiled and bowed. She presented me with three sprigs of Rosemary. I relaxed just enough to look around. I saw many old friends amongst them were The Troll Guard. I bowed to them relieved to see old friends amongst such an august assembly. I was called forward again,

“You have your own path, all our paths begin at sunrise and end at sunset. Any other business before we adjourn for dinner?”

During the feast I caught up with friends and acquaintances, the food was good and so was the wine! There was music and singing, and much conjuring. I began to be restless I know in the morning I would have much work to do. A book to read and an instrument to write. I made my excuses bade sad farewells and left.

The next morning I rose early and settled down by the fireside to read my book. There were clues and riddles. As I read I untangled the Bluebell from my hair. Everything fitted so nicely into place. Everything I needed was at hand as I began to build the instrument. Protection was needed, then cleaners too, strong-arm tactics were called for, much salt. Was it funny? Did it Rhyme? Words just flowed for the longest of times. At last it was ready, I hoped so at least. I think I had covered every contingency.

Vampires are such tricky things to deal with, the first rule being do not engage. I sent a copy of the instrument to the coven elders. At Length I received the reply “We are ready. At your word” I needed somehow to warn innocents not to engage. The battle would be hard; no prisoners were to be taken. No hostages allowed.

I engaged with the group, the vampire was gross and hideous, under their charm the group could only see it’s mundane face. I conversed calmly gaining their trust. Finally I judged the best time to send the instrument of destruction, I rose at four and sent the mail back channel. Deleted the e-mail account and went back to bed. I didn’t turn my computer on until after noon the next day.

There were explosions and fall out amongst the group. The vampire had posted the instrument into the group. I held hard. A drink of Black Currant fell all over the vampire’s keyboard. Some innocents engaged, others did not. Every post was given the name of the instrument; did they know what they were doing? Incantation after incantation poured in. Instigated by the vampire that had sown the seeds of it’s own destruction.

The Captain of the Troll guard had signalled “Ready” As did My Lady Black Currant. Still the energy poured in. The greedy vampire sucked it in, so far gone was it with its delusion it could not sense our presence clearly. Energy continued to flow into it, the creature began to panic, it’s mouth opened, it could not contain the stream of energy it had wished upon itself. As it exploded I saw a movement to my right, a sparkle of twinkling dust. The energy changed, whizzed skywards and became the most wondrous display, everyone’s favourite firework was there, huge and colourful and loud!

The fireworks went on and on, the explosions became a drumbeat. We were surrounded by the smell of gunpowder. I remembered to breath. When eventually the fireworks were over and my head had cleared I glanced to my right. I beheld the most beautiful apparition. Her dress was as white as her beautiful wings. She held a wand in each hand. One was tied with roses and the other with lilies. As she turned to me the air around her sparkled. Her hair was decked with a circlet of flowers and the sweet perfume of many flowers filled the air.

“Mother” a Troll’s voice spoke “May I present to you The Lady Alacrite” I bowed to the lady who had stood at my shoulder. “My Lady Damnable” she nodded to greet me. We were both offered a glass of Elderflower Cordial. We both drank deeply then the Lady spoke “Perhaps next time you could use less salt.”

We began to clean, there was indeed much salt! The Troll Guard stood down. Wearily we all found our way home. At length there came another summons, this time for a celebration in the Court of the Crimson Queen. Which is another story entirely.

· The Cad Goddeu or Battle of the Trees ~ Taliesin 2 http://www.maryjones.us/ctexts/t08.html http://oldpoetry.com/poetry/29712

· My Lady Alacrite's Archives http://community-2.webtv.net/darlingdtr/AlacritesArchives/