Tuesday 13 September 2022

London Stones

Yesterday I walked an oblique hill.  I felt called and it seemed the thing to do.  I sat for a while in a churchyard, at the site of Powles Crosse.  Thinking about folkmoots and dragon's blades hidden in ancient stone.  Tales of heralds and spiritual light.  Locusts and wild honey.  Stories far older than themselves. Myths of demigods, warlords and medieval princes.  Our notions of imagined kingship.  Eventually I entered the cathedral; a white lantern at Ludgate's summit above the twinning river.  I sat amidst the splendour and the strange.  The statues, paintings and gilded edges.  I stood on the surface of the sun, at the centre of a star, and clasped my palms with a willingness that was not at all feigned.  Souls around me were grieving, others ambivalent or quietly hopeful.  Praying that God and the good might grant them some measure of grace.  I wanted to tell them that such grace is given perpetually.  Sometimes explicit, but often hidden in symbol and sign.  And not without pain.  But I know how brutal it can be.  The trauma and the loss.  The occluded path.  No longer understanding the right thing or the needed remedy.  Standing waist-deep in the river and still feeling like you’re drowning.  Oh, I know.  Talk of grace during a soul's darkest moments can seem like a boast.  Or worse, a hideous lie.  So I'm silent among my peers.  I pray with them in this basilica of the Apostle.  This mercurial ghost with whom I share my name.  An enigmatic and some say frightening being who lived millennia ago.  A fiction, a fact.  An angel of epistles.  Sometimes I pretend to be a scholar of such things.  The Abramic faiths, the Enochian mysteries, but in truth I know very little about these legends.  I'm simply a diarist at best.  A wounded fantasist at worst.  Like many failed poets, I suppose.  Yet I am not without humour, or élan.  So I sit there in that grand temple of stone and I quiet my rage.  I think about destiny and distortion, reflection and responsibility.  Paths not taken, or taken too often.  I think of all the hidden slaves, and slavers.  The unacknowledged prisons and unmarked graves.  These sickening by-products of industry and Empire.  I tell you now, my friends.  It's a difficult thing to quiet your rage when one is sighted as I am.  When you can dreamwalk and peer into the shadows as others can't.  You hear the keening of lost children, broken mothers and the innumerable casualties of this hidden war.  That's why the hill is oblique.  Seen and yet unseen.  There and not there.  Amidst all this horror and tragedy people begin to doubt the notion of a higher order of things.  A loving Creator.  I can understand why, but I’m far too occulted to share these doubts.  I’ve seen too much.  Do you have any idea the things that move across the rooftops of Navah'tri?  There is an ancient ecology hidden upon the hill.  Just as Blake sensed.  Brythonic wraiths, Gaulish magic – long before the light of the realm was darkened and the histories rewritten.  I should know.  As a diarist I had a hand in the time-keeping of the old chronology.  As a fantasist I helped transcribe and preserve the mythologies of the shining realm.  The true throne is of the heart, you know.  Closest to our Maker.  So, I might be a lost soul in a temple forge, chained against my will to a black star.  But my Father is with me in these shadows.  Because of his perpetual grace I am given a certain immortality.  I'm older than stars, or chains.  I'm older than the blackest ash.  I’m not afraid of wild honey, or locusts.  I might be angry.  A furious, raging phantom, but I’m not alone.  The living flame of every kind and courageous soul is with me whether they know it or not.  Our Father connects us all.  None of this magic is mine.  I'm just an earnest seeker.  Hear me, Fallen.  A true king doesn't require riches.  He doesn't need the gaudy or the gold-leaf.  After all, he is only the spiritual servant of his subjects.  His people.  He is not their better nor their oppressor.  You pretty your beds whilst these good people sleep upon stone.  Such is the height of hypocrisy.  I will never champion such cruelty.  Mine is a world of visions, ladders and folding cities.  Do you understand?  None are abandoned, said my brother.  Do you know who my brother is?  Resurgam, the legends tell.  I Shall Rise Again.  All are welcome in the Kingdom of Heaven, but you have to be willing to serve.  So, tell me, what fool would dare to claim the throne for himself? 

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