Tag Archives: story

The Rock of Brentor…

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‘…A church, full bleak, and weather beaten, all alone, as it were forsaken…’

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“St Michael de Rupe?”

“St Michael the Rock.”

“I thought St Peter was supposed to be the ‘Rock’?”

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“The rock referred to here, is volcanic.”

“Nice.”

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“Though you would never know it now…”

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“…The church-tower can still serve as a beacon.”

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“Curioser and curioser…”

“Wait till we get inside, Alice.”

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Rule of Gelid Eels…

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‘You need hands

to hold a little baby…’

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‘A face to express

how much you care…’

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‘Space to cross

and reach out to others…’

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Deep in the bowels of the Dream Factory,

there was a sound of grinding

like unfound gears,

then a metallic clunk, and eventually,

after a long, slow, wheezing descent… silence.

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Big Bee crawled from his bunker,

rested a shock of blonde hair on the kerb-stone,

and opened his mouth to gulp in fresh air…

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A slither of green mucus fell into the gutter.

 

Stocking for a face!…

 

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“Hold-ups… are on the up,” pronounced Teigue-the-Fool, and flung aside the Daily Comet, “which is, ahem, dare I say it, hardly surprising, Sire.”

“Hardly surprising! Hardly surprising,” blustered Big Bee, “hold-ups are a worrying and totally unforseen consequence of our valiant offensive against a genocidal virus!” he finished, with some aplomb.

“Genocidal, I can grant you, but virus?”

“Don’t you have a shed to tidy, that’s what normal people do?”

“And what of the customer?”Chided Teigue.

“Oh, what of the customer?”

“Are they no longer always right?”

“Not when they may be riddled with disease they’re not!”

“Covid. Outcast. Unclean! You mean?”

“Well, yes, something like that.”

“Straight from the Walrus’s mouth, as it were,” sang Teigue.

Something there is in equality…

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She emerged from the shop just in time to see her young son playing on the pavement directly in the path of a grey, gaunt man who strode along like an automated derelict.

Her heart quailed.

Then she  leapt forward, grabbed her son by the arm and pulled him from harm’s way…

The man strode by without turning his head. As his back moved away from her, she hissed at it, ‘Be gone! You ought to be ashamed!’

The grey man’s stride continued, unfaltering as clockwork, but to himself he muttered, ‘Ashamed? Ashamed?’

His face contorted into a grimace, ‘Covid! Outcast! Unclean!’

– Count Jack Black  (apologies, Stephen Donaldson)

 

Free Society!…

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Big Bee hunkered over his desk with his head in his hands.

Teigue-the-Fool was running amok…

“In what sense can we be regarded as a free society when we have a litany of regulations governing our every move?”

Much more of this and Big Bee would scream, “We are a free society because I say we are a free society,” he said.

“Ah, I see,” said Teigue-the-Fool, “you are using the word ‘free’ in the same way that the American Administration uses the word ‘peace’.”

“Huh?” Said Big Bee.

“To mean the exact opposite of its dictionary definition.”

“I’m not listening,” said Big Bee and clamped his hands over his ears.

“But the people have questions, Sire,” said Teigue-the-Fool and removed Big Bee’s hands from his ears.

“What kind of questions?” asked Big Bee, dejectedly.

“What kind of ‘virus’ discriminates between small and corporate businesses?”

Big Bee said nothing.

“What kind of ‘virus’ discriminates between the man in the street and the world’s elite athletes?”

Big Bee said nothing.

“What kind of ‘virus’ discriminates between ‘peaceful protestors’ and ‘riotous children’?”

Big Bee’s silence had become deafening.

“The word on the street, Sire, is that the virus is man-made.”

Big Bee exploded.

“THE VIRUS IS NOT MAN MADE!”

“No Sire,” said Teigue-the-Fool, “just manipulated.”

 

 

 

Deja vu?…

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“I want to talk about our responsibilities in the face of danger.

The events of recent months may have helped to illuminate that danger,

but the dimensions of its threat have loomed large on the horizon for many years.

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There is no escaping either the gravity or the totality of this danger to our survival.

Its challenge confronts us in unaccustomed ways in every sphere of human activity.

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This challenge imposes upon our society a requirement of direct concern:

the need for reliable public information.

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There is little value in ensuring the survival of our nation

if our traditions do not survive with it.

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I ask every news publisher, every news editor

and every news man and news woman in the nation

to re-examine their own standards

and to recognise the nature of our country’s peril.

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Our way of life is under attack.

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The danger has never been more clear

and its presence has never been more imminent.

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We are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless organisation

that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence…

On infiltration… On subversion… On intimidation…

Its preparations are concealed,

its mistakes are buried,

its dissenters are silenced.

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I commend this problem to your attention

and urge its thoughtful consideration.

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I cannot believe that those citizens who serve

in the news media business consider

themselves exempt from this appeal.

It is your obligation to inform and alert the people,

to make certain that they possess the facts that they need

and understand them as well…

the perils… the prospects… the purpose of any proposed program,

and the choices they face.

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I have complete confidence in the response

and dedication of our citizens whenever they are fully informed,

complete confidence, when fully informed, that they will

strive to remain what they were born to be,

independent, and free…”

– Count Jack Black (apologies to JFK)

The Marsh King’s Daughter III…

 

barbrook III (14)

Hi-ho the Carrion Crow, bow and bend to me…

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…There usually is.

Perhaps one reason for the tale’s obscurity these days is its perceived, overtly, Christian message.

This takes the form of a priest who is captured and tortured by Helga’s Viking fosterers, provokes in her the first stirrings of love and compassion and affords the young girl opportunity to embrace the process which results in the fusing of her day/night time personalities and her achievement of wholeness in mind and form.

However, the culmination of this process is complicated somewhat by the priest’s death at the hands of robbers and his subsequent appearance in a dream vision and by the denouement of the tale which sees the Changeling Child whisked away to heaven by the priest only to return a short time later and find her original home now long lost to the ravishes of time.

The Rip Van Winkle like nature of the priest’s ‘heaven’ may give inkling  to the original story source for this episode, as might his appearance on horse-back wielding his cross much like a knight would wield his sword.

As an other-world component of the story the Christian priest is perhaps less dramatically successful than he might be as a ‘Fairy King’ or ‘Lord of Light’ but still gives us pause for thought and contemplation as to the precise mode of consciousness his figure represents.

That’s almost all, folks…

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 ‘What would the world be, once bereft

Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,

O let them be left, wildness and wet;

long live the weeds and the wildness yet.’

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All photos – Sue Vincent.

All epithets – The Grateful Dead, ‘Mountains of the Moon’.

Epitaph -‘Inversnaid’, Gerard Manly Hopkins.

The Marsh King’s Daughter II…

 

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‘…The Earth will see you on through this time…’

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…There always is.

The Marsh King sinks back beneath the waters with the unnamed Egyptian Princess in his thrall.

Some time later a green shoot with a water-lily bud appears above the slime.

The bud unfurls to reveal a small girl-child.

The child is spotted by a watching Stork and is taken to a barren Viking couple who, quite naturally, are enthralled with the gift and immediately besotted with the child.

Children normally display both the physical and temperamental characteristics of their ancestors, predominantly their parents, and usually in more or less equal measure.

Here, these tendencies are pronounced.

Helga, for this is the name the Viking couple choose for her, is a beautiful girl-child during the day, albeit displaying a strong blood-thirsty streak, whilst as the sun sets she turns into a compassionate, toad-like monster!

Is the name significant?

How important is it that Helga is the only named character in the story?

Could any device be better chosen to make us consider the diurnal polarity of Day and Night and their profound affects upon our consciousness and its natural tendencies?

Cold mountain…

Warm earth…

If we are in any doubt as to what we are to make of these devices we are introduced to the somnambulistic nature of both Denmark and the nether regions of Marsh-Land later in the tale.

To make matters worse, Helga’s apparent beauty beguiles all those who gaze upon her and blinds them to the reality of her brutish day-time nature.

It is only her adoptive Viking mother who witnesses and begins to see and realise the true nature of the problem presented to both her, and by extension us, in the form and expressions displayed via the mysterious Marsh King’s Daughter.

There is more…

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Father Bear…

HM15 970Pentre Ifan

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Which translates, ‘Ivan’s Village’ but was also formerly known as, ‘Arthur’s Quoit’.

Another ‘quoit’, and only a few miles away from the last one.

This seems, if anything, a little unimaginative.

Or, alternatively, it could signal a connection between the two sites.

The more obvious visual parallels though are with our first site, Carreg Samson.

Seen from one angle Pentre Ifan now frames the distant peak of Carningli (Hill of Angels) and like St Samson’s stone the upper ridge of its Cap follows closely the contours of the terrain which has always dominated its horizon.

We have been moving deeper into the country on our three-fold quest and the sites have become increasingly populace.

We met no one at the first site but at the second, we were hurried on our way by a couple of visitors as though we were holding up play on a golf course.

Here, we pass an entourage on the way in and on our way out we are replaced by another one.

The conveyor belt effect…

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True to the form in which we have cast these sketches we are over heating by this point in the proceedings.

Still, we have just come from a long climb up a big hill on a very hot day and the surrounding recumbents prove more than a tad adequate as baking stones.

It is perhaps just as well.

By paying too much attention to the stones one can start to become  a trifle uncomfortable in quite a different sense.

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For one thing, it becomes abundantly apparent that the central stone is not a support stone at all.

Not a support stone?

Quite definitely not.

But if it is not a support stone then what is it doing there, what is it, and why does it have claws?

Stone claws, or perhaps talons, which are firmly rooted in, not to say sprouting from, the earth?

Well, that is true, but even so…

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Maybe, whatever it is, is pointing the way.

Pointing the way to what and where?

To Ivan’s Village.

Whatever that means?

Ivan is Ian… is Jan, and Janus, the god-form of portals, is two-faced and looks both ways. In and out, up and down, before and after, here and there.

Ivan’s Village is Janus’ place!

Well, it is one aspect of Janus’ face, or Jane’s, certainly.

All of which means, we are still no nearer to an answer…

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…Not necessarily…

The symbolic preoccupation of all these structures seems to be with Headlands, (end of the land and start of the sea) or Mountain peaks (end of the land and start of the sky). And by extension with islands which is land situated in the sea, and also with birds which are beings that fly in the sky.

In other words the builders of these structures are concerned with thresholds and what lies beyond those thresholds in the domains which they bound. The analogy always involves the natural environment which is then related to their, and hence to our, own experience.

So, it is not so much from here to eternity but rather from here to our apparently limited horizons and then on beyond them…

Which may very well be an eternity or if not, then at least, an endless round.

Simple.

Eloquent.

Profound.

And that is just the formal symbolism of the structures, without consideration of the precise geometries of their situation…

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Despite the conveyor belt effect we still get time enough to do what is needed.

And we conclude our ‘…Prayer’ with a little chanting.

Impromptu.

Because that’s the way…

we like it.

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You think that will have gone unnoticed?

Quite possibly not.

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Pieman…

Foxave.jpg530

When Pieman was very young,

and living at the beginnings of time,

he often slept with the Cave Bear Clan during stormy weather.

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Over the course of many such nights,

Big Brown Bear who was also very old,

taught Pieman the nature of his belly-roar.

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To this day,

Pieman makes use of his roar in dreams,

but only to pacify strangers and to quiet the rowdy,

and those of us who have difficulty understanding the Ancient Tales.