Wednesday 25 November 2015

Without Malice

John Masefield was not a great poet.

He kind of was great, just interspersed with 'good' and 'maybe slightly flat sometimes'. If you took all his great lines and put them in one book he would rival the great romantics, but they don't all appear in one book.

In this case my affection for his character and inner nature means that his flaws make him even more likeable to me, an achievable man you can imagine meeting rather than an ariel talent.

A Kirby-esque force of positivity. A self-taught poet who rhymes like a child and doesn't care at all. Boxing fan, ex sailor, probably the most hard working and most quickly forgotten poet lauriat we have ever had and, if you combine his love of adventure, the imagination, sometimes violence and THE SEA, you get a very D&D poet.

From 'Wonderings'

I do not know the day, the month, the year:
it was a green time, when the sky was clear;
I was then five or six, in open air,
When suddenly a doorway opened there.
An ecstasy discovered that my mind
Had every wonder that I wished to find,
Limitless strength, to see and create,
A wealth of phantasy, past telling great,
Power to call at will, to see and sway
Peoples and creatures infinitely gay,
Things in perfection, landscapes, forests, seas,
And I, who summoned, king of all of these,
King of a world to enter when I chose,
(O desert spring, O rock-delighting rose).

Instantly then, I summoned, to my joy
The tiny people suited to a boy,
A fairy people, who, in daily dreams
Provisioned ships, and sailed, exploring streams,
Familiar streams, but past the points I knew,
Where undreamed fruits and unseen flowers grew,
Where, in some bay, they purchased priceless things,
LIttle Green Hairstreaks', Purple Emperors' wings,
Crest feathers plucked at night by indian men
Scarlet from woodpecker, or gold from wren,
Or blue-green flash, or golden-tawney gleam
Dropped by the 'fisher skimming down the stream.

Yesterday Malice died. Malice Aforthough the white elf assassin who has been playing in the same game with my characters for.. not sure. Maybe two, three years? I know he's seen three of them come and go so far and I remember carrying around his petrified body for a loong fucking time till we could get him un frozen.

I've spent more time with this imaginary person that I have with many real people. It's weird that he's dead.

(Of course being dead isn't that big a problem at level 11+ but, thanks partially to my errors he's converted to green slime and then de-evolved to two mutually incompatible evolutionary ancestors, so he's more dead than dead really.)

Anyway, the following from Masefield seems appropriate, in all his somewhat-creaky, sometimes inspired enormously (to me) likeable self;

From 'The Ending'

And as she advanced, towing southward, those watchers of ships,
Sang from their places a song of the outgoing spirit
A cry to all farers on ways upon water or earth.

"Adventure on companion, for this
Is God's most greatest gift, the thing that is.
Take it, although it lead to the abyss.

Ceaselessly, like the sunlight, life is spilled
Into these channels till the purpose willed
Meet with the End that is to be fulfilled.

A little hour is given to apprehend
Divine companions from the mortal friend
From mortal hearts, a life that cannot end.

Go forth to seek: the quarry never found
Is still a fever to the questing hound,
The skyline is a promise, not a bound.

Therefore, go forth, companion: when you find
No highway more, no track, all being blind
The way to go shall glimmer in the mind.

Though you have conquered Earth and charted Sea
And planned the courses of all Stars that be,
Adventure on, more wonders are in Thee.

Adventure on, for from the littlest clue
Has come whatever worth man ever knew ;
The next to lighten all men may be you.

Adventure on, and if you suffer, swear
That the next venturer shall have less to bear;
Your way will be retrodden, make it fair.

Think, though you thunder on in might and pride,
Others may follow fainting, without guide,
Burn out a trackway for them; blaze it wide.

Only one banner, Hope: only one star
To steer by, Hope, a dim one seen afar
yet naught will vanquish Hope and nothing bar.

Your Hope is what you venture for, your Hope
is but the shadowed semblance of your scope,
The chink of gleaming towards which you grope.

What though the gleam be but a feeble one,
Go on, the man behind you might have none;
Even the dimmest gleam is from the sun.

All beauty is. No paradise of flowers;
No quiet triumph of perfected powers;
It lives in the attempt to make it ours.

All power is; but with retarding thrift
The watching Strengths administer this gift;
Man's paces as a spirit are not swift.

All that has been imagined from of old
Is, but more glorious a thousandfold;
The pebble lightens, and the clay is gold.

And you, the gray thing dragging on the sea,
Go as a man goes in Eternity
Under a crown of stars to Destiny.

Therefore adventure forth with valiant heart
Knowing that in the utmost stretch of art
Life communes with its heavenly counterpart."

So singing, the Watchers beheld her go on in the dusk;
The evening star brightened the dimness; Pentire dimmed down,
The lights of Land's End were beacons to show her the way.

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