Asullus Anguli XII ... Asullus’ Corner
So, Asullus here once again, along wi’ trusty an’ sweet Morphia, the Spritae, still actin’ as our scribe, fer all ye oldsters an’ wee ones alike as ha’ been writin’ wi’ yer requests an’ demands — some more polite than others — to be informed o’ the most serious an’ needful questions o’ our time an’ tryin’ to bring answers to the queries such as those as reach the Tower o’ the North.
Now, today, I’m notin’ ‘tis the time o’ the year when all kinds o’ couples ‘n’ such be smilin’ an’ bein’ extra polite to one another, seekin’ time to be a bit apart from the others so as to be cuddlin’ wi’ each other ‘n’ such.
Now this be no new thing to Muledom entire as we four-footers ha’ been carryin’ on in this way since before there was Humans around to pester us wi’ their ‘tote-this-here-an’-tote-that-there’ demands an’ such. Now, Master Anders ha’ said at one time that he speculated that humans were monkeys before they were humans—assumin’ here some o’ ye might be inclined to feel there be a big difference in these years or no’—so we mules been at it fer a bit longer an’, therefore, know what we be talkin’ aboot, ye see.
In any ways, I always sees all the eye-rollin’ an’ secret smiles an’ shy nods markin’ out the beginin’ o’ the Courtship Season, signaled by Heart Day. Now this special day be one fer special doin’s an’ fer favors an’ the like such as the presentin’ o’ treats an’ the givin’ o’ flowers o’ the sweet-smellin’ type an’, o’ course, Poems. So, the topic today be Poems an’ Poetry as are found in our scrolls.
Now, Morphia was all fer this topic, bein’ a wee little romantic herself, but I must say it, she came to be disappointed by first, the lack o’ hardly any rhymin’ words to be found in our scrolls, an’, second, those verses we did discover donno’ seem to ha’ any romancin’ flavor to ‘em at all.
So I was tryin’ to console her little self, notin’ that ‘tis typical o’ humans to ne’r’ be heartin’ when they should an’ to always be at it at the times they should no’. Now, as ye might imagine, this be no news to the little Spritae, herself an’ she sooner or later got o’er her let-down on this score.
Anyway, on to our topic – Poems ‘n’ Poetry…
Now, I may ha’ missed some here an’ there, but I believes the first o’ the Poetry do appear early on in our story when the six young-un’s was together fer Mid-Summer’s Night’s Eve wi’ Master Silvestrus an’ Head-Mistress Geanninia. It was at that time that the Master (at his Mistress’ proddin’ o’ course) delivered some petty doggerel. I’m certain to this day that he had an idea o’ what the Apprentices might be facin’ that night. I suspects he was thinkin’ it would be nigh on to close to what others in their previous years ha’ experienced as well–so he made a little Poem fer all they was likely to see, as follows…
‘Some may be real, some may be Fey,
Some tell tomorrow, some view today,
Some show the past, some are those last,
Some you may hear, but only if near,
Some need your act, but only post fact,
Some are to see, so attention’s the key,
Some may alarm, but none will cause harm,
Any fogging your senses, will just confuse tenses,
These visions a-borning, hold power till morning.’
I’m thinkin’ it t’were more o’ a warnin’ an’ tryin’ to be reassurin’ all at the same time. Well, whate’er it was, chances are the hearers was all so anxious aboot the night anyway that it went in one ear an’ out the other, I vow.
Now, our next example is more o’ the serious sort. ‘Tis a bit o’ Poetry that Master Rolland once told me that Master Specus, the College’s old chief chef, recited that night he found the young lads ha’ stole one o’ his pots—not to mention put holes in it. Howe’er, as he came to understand they all were usin’ the pot to make music, he relaxed a bit an’ began to play, himself, the following comin’ to him. I’m thinkin’ ‘tis some ole Tribal Song from ‘way back detailin’ how the Master’s People was dealt wi’ by the newcomer Humans. Not so well, I’m thinkin’.
So, the meat o’ the piece is talkin’ aboot the retreat o’ those as is bein’ chased, an’ the misery o’ it all. As to form, Master Anders says it’s a piece o’ Free Verse, though he did mention Blank Verse as well an’ I canno’ remember the difference
‘tween the two, though I be sure there is one…
“Crack. Step. Crack. Step.
The ice gives nothing.
One foot. One foot.
The snow stings, eyes shut.
We go. We go.
Behind us comes the New.
Kill us. Kill us.
Understand not their force.
Why come? Why come?
What did we do?
We die. We die.
They war too good.
Ma-am dead. Pa-ap dead.
Brothers, sisters no more.
My mate. My mate.
My sweet tikis, all gone.
Run far. Run far.
Closer they come for us.
Soon gone. Soon gone.
Only we left, cold and dark.
Crack. Step. Crack. Step.
The ice gives nothing.
One foot. One foot.
The snow stings, eyes shut.”
Ah, ‘tis a sad lament if ye asks me, though I ha’ to say Master Specus ne’er did mention any such event to me. I do recall, howe’er, the story as to how he an’ his missus did flee that time through the portals o’ the old Orbis Magnus when it was young—as was they. As it happens, the story is that Iam, the ancient keeper o’ the place, was on duty that particular day an’ witnessed the couple come tearin’ out o’ the woods to bolt through the very Trilathon next to which he’d been standin’, only to disappear completely. An’ then, some great time later, when he met wi’ young Thaddeus, he referenced the event sayin’ that he’d himself had a “passin’ acquaintance” wi’ the couple once up a time. This ole mule thinks that ‘tis one o’ the driest an’ funniest comments he’s e’er heard. Still do.
So, Specus an’ his Coqua passed through the stones—fortunately ha’in’ the right markin’s--comin’ out pretty near to this time. At least in time enou’ to be raisin’ up their adopted boy, Faran. Now there was a controversial lad as e’er was one. Up to no good mostly always, though fair in his way, an’ his loyalty, once it was gi’en, was as long as the day was long.
Now, this last bit is one o’ Master Anders early works that I ha’ from Sorceress Nannsi one time when I was pesterin’ her fer some Poem samples fer this here work. After a bit, she dug it out all quiet an’ put it in me saddle bag one day.
“Don’t you tell Anders, now, Asullus,” she said, “He’s very sensitive about his work, especially his early works.” So, I promised I wouldn’t an’ that was that.
So, this particular piece, methinks, must come from his early school days, maybe eleven or twelve. An’ here ye are—judge fer yerself to see if the young lad was touched by fair Erato…
More patient than Prometheus bound, she but awaits a call;
More enduring than the tomb of Ozymendias, she stands quietly;
More understanding that Zeus on high, she knows all life;
She draws from herself more than just measure;
She lives immortal beyond the mind of man;
For years are but minutes to her,
And centuries, hours passing one by one,
And eons, days come and gone.
She is the Colossus of Infinity;
She is the humility of beggars;
More radiant than Sol ascending, she blinds the mind’s eye;
More fragile than the Crystal of Castor, she shatters from careless thought;
More priceless than Venus’ sweet touch, she is purchased with life, and sold for naught;
She exists in plain sight, but man seeks her in remote places;
She offers hope for the future, but man rejects her for illusions of the past;
For blessings are her favors,
And salvation her gift,
And eternal love her magic.
She is the poverty of wasted moments;
She is the wealth of eternity;
She is my soul.
My goodness! It’s a bit fer a 12 year old isn’t it, but there you ha’ it.
Now, I ha’ been accused o’ many things o’er the years, one popular one ha’in’ to do wi’ bein’ seen as ‘critical’. Well, I will no’ deny it. So, be that as it may, lookin’ o’er this here pre-adolescent exercise, a couple o’ things occur to me – one bein’ the reference to the Eastern ruler from long ago. I do wonder why he’s stuck it in wi’ all the other folks, all o’ whom, I think, are more to the West. An’ then there’s that ‘Crystal of Castor’.
Now, Sweet Morphia an’ I spent one entire afternoon at the Fornian Library lookin’ up the ‘Crystal of Castor’ an’ found nary a whisper. So, meanin’ no disrespect to one o’ the highest an’ brightest o’ that Sorcerer group I been knowin’, but I thinks the boy made it up. Now do no’ be readin’ this an’ run an’ tell all yer friends that Asullus, here, spilled these beans. I may be bringin’ it up to the lad one day meself, just to see him wriggle a bit at the revelation. But here this old mule’ll need to be careful like. ‘Tis no’ a good thing, in my experience, to be causin’ one Anders, formerly o’ Bright Field Manor, to be ha’in’ any distresses in his life as his mate do tend to take this personal-like an’ is no’ shy aboot expressin’ her displeasure at such a turn, an’ e’en doin’ something aboot it real quick.
Fer the sake o’ completeness, I must add a fragment sent to the North Tower by Master Rolland who seemed eager to be included in any such publicity as might arise from me modest efforts here. An’ I did review his work which began as follows…
“The day was drear, O Sister dear, when first we came to Know…”
Well, it ‘twere fairly clear to both meself an’ me little Morphia that Master Rolland, though a good-hearted lad an’ clever in many ways o’ the World, likely is in need o’ some further work in the Literary World, so I let his offerin’ quietly slide down into some darker crack, perhaps no’ to be looked at again. Now there be no hard feelings here, but me own name is attached to his here publication an’ I do ha’ the remains o’ me dignity left, to which I needs to be payin’ attention.
So, there ye be.
Now one last possible poem, if ye like, would be ye olde Prophesies, that some say, are Poetical—the Lay o’ Man bein’ a possible example. But I ha’ no particular pull to that idea. An’ besides, there be so many o’ those items that me an’ the Spritae would be sittin’ in these stacks fer months tryin’ to pull them all out an’ such. No, thank you.
So, there ye ha’ it. Donno’ be forgettin’ Poems on Heart Day to those as ha’ captured yer hearts indeed, but, as I always says, flowers will no’ hurt anything either, nor will a fancy treat or two.
The Great North Tower, Northfast