The Glass Mountain Melody

                        The Glass Mountain Melody

I feel inspired to write a song,
inspired to write a melody,
inspired by a film I’ve just seen again
that I first saw long ago,
I saw it when I was only young.
I could not remember the story,
but I loved the tune,
and sometimes it would come to me,
and I would sing it as I walked,
and hum it in my head.
I never knew the words,
I knew the melody.
I knew it woke my heart,
I could say it disturbed my soul,
and made me want to wander,
and made me want to go,
to leave the room,
to leave the stage,
to see if I could find a place
where I could find her,
the woman with the face I saw,
as I watched the film alone
on television.
Her face was even foreign to the film.
The actress smiled, I did not know her name.
I’d not seen her before,
she was not a star from Hollywood.
But she was the woman I could find,
if I sought for her in Switzerland
or high in Austria or far in Italy.
Like Richard Wilder,
the young English composer
in the film, called The Glass Mountain,
writing his wild opera hymn
on his black piano,
I was on the search for her,
the woman who could be found,
but only in a strange place,
and by a rare chance,
and in a land beyond.
Richard Wilder, the composer,
had a wife called Anne.
She had dark hair
and she was beautiful.
She lay back upon her pillow,
stretched out in peace upon the bed,
but it was him who turned around,
paced the floor in his dressing gown,
lost inside his piano tune,
his Glass Mountain melody.
He wandered round the room,
he wondered who he loved.
He knew that he loved Anne,
but there was Alida.
She had saved his life in the war.
He had bailed out from his aeroplane,
as it was about to crash.
He fell with his parachute.
She came skiing down the slopes,
rescued him from a sleep in snow.
High in the Dolomites, the alps of Italy.
He woke in a wooden hut,
she led him to a holy shrine.
The Glass Mountain, she showed to him,
stood alone, far off, away from them.
Of its legend of two lovers,
Maria and Antonio,
she told him in a quiet tone.
Maria, the village girl,
Antonio, the mountaineer.
Later, it inspired him
to write his opera.
Peace at last, he wrote in a letter
to his wife, Anne, when the war came to an end.
To England, he had to return.
Almost, it made him want to cry.
It made him want to go.
He looked at Alida,
and wanted her to stay.
He wanted her to climb with him
to the peak of the Glass Mountain,
to see its glinting glacier.
It was a step they could have taken,
it was a climb they could have made,
it was a kiss they could have shared.
In dreams, I took a plane.
I flew to Austria, across to Germany.
I looked for you in France,
I looked for you in Spain,
stayed in hotels and lonely rooms,
was trying to compose a tune,
I was trying to write a song,
I was trying to put it all into one melody.
I was trying to live enough to cry,
to see if I was born,
to see if I could love,
to see if I could wait,
if I could wait until you came,
and I would know your face,
and I would know your name.
I looked around, I stepped outside.
There were no houses for a home.
It was all a wilderness,
it was all a battlefield.
It was wild, without a friend,
it was all a broken battlefield.
My soul was woken by a film,
told me what love could do,
how good life could be.
It made me want to go,
it made me want to pack some things,
and leave a note behind,
saying I had to go away,
and would not return.
I am sorry, but why
you would not understand.
There is only now goodbye.
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.
She said it in the film,
she had to say goodbye to him,
as he returned to his wife, Anne.
Goodbye. This is goodbye, I know,
Alida had to say to him. God go with you.
Goodbye, Richard, goodbye.
And Richard flew away from Venice,
after his opera was performed,
he, the conductor of the orchestra,
to find Anne, where she lay
on a sleigh for a stretcher in the snow,
near the Glass Mountain.
She had crashed in her light aeroplane
with her pilot, Charles,
on her way to Venice,
to see his opera.
“Richard. It is so good to see you,”
she said to him. “Tell me about the opera,
make me see it. I meant to be there.”
“Not now, not now,” he told her.
“You were there. You are always there.”
“Don’t go too far away from me again, will you?”
she said. And then the sleigh bells rang,
as it was driven on through the snow,
and then the film came to an end.
The story had to stop, the music had to cease.
It made me want to go,
to pack my bag with things,
telephone for tickets,
ask when the planes are due.
How early can I go?
First I would like to go to Switzerland,
over to Austria, and then to Italy.
Yes, I could go tonight,
be at the airport soon.
I will sit in my seat,
another stranger on the plane,
look out of my window,
down upon the ocean,
lamp lit cities, far below,
at last, to see the mountain peaks,
the alps of Switzerland, the alps of Italy,
but it would not be there that I would want to land,
though there would be my destination,
I know I would want to journey on,
to try to find my true land
where the Glass Mountain stands and shines.
So shall I pack my case,
and buy tickets for trains and planes,
and decide to go away?
But what would I find there?
I would not stay in one place for too long.
And if I were to look in a far and foreign room,
would she at last be there for me?
And would she turn to me?
Would she stop to stay to say hello?
Miss Katrina Marie Murry.
It was just a name I saw,
on a signpost above a door,
the doorway of the Old Horse Inn.
It made me turn around,
it made me stop to stand still.
I looked up at the sign.
It rhymed with the rhythm of my tune,
my Glass Mountain melody.
It was the name of someone who was saved,
the name of someone I had never known.
I walked on through the streets alone.
And when I come home to you,
I want to hear you say to me,
we will never have to go,
we will never have to go away.
Don’t go too far away from me again.

 

In The End

                                     In The End

Goodbye, my love.
I saved you from this world
by never meeting you.
You never could have existed,
I ever knew that was true.

Goodbye, my children.
I saved you from this world
by never having you,
but in dreams,
we can still walk together
down that tree lined avenue,
to see the fountains in the water gardens,
and whatever else we wish to be true.
In the end, to say goodbye is all I can do.

Goodbye, my love.
I still live for the moment of meeting you.

Broccus Gnashtooth and the Fall of the Meglonian Empire

          Broccus Gnashtooth and the Fall of the Meglonian Empire

( Author’s Note: Herewith be the sequel to The Horrendous Misfortunes of Tumdrukar, the Six Headed Opalescent Hydra, posted earlier on this site. As that verse tale was enjoyed by some readers here, I thought I would post this second part of the history of hydras and the land of Mung. It may be wise to read the first verse tale first, if you have not already done so, to understand the references to it in its sequel, but that is up to the reader, who may find it convenient to not read either of them. )

O, great Meglo Manekneehack,
ruler of worlds that never crack,
pondered his toe nail with Sultanic gaze,
asked his wise ones to unroll his empire map,
to point out lands he had not yet invaded,
plundered hard and treasure raided,
to feed the lion on his lap.
“All lands are yours, great Meglo,
ruler of the Meglonian Empire,
chieftain of marauding berserks,
who for you set thrones on fire,”
said Cirraburnze, his chief spokesman seer.
“All except one, this now hear,
let this truth your ears unbung,
I speak of the land of Mung.”
“Outrage. Outrage,” fumigated Meglo.
“Why is this land not mine?
Of all the stars that branch the sky,
am I not the brightest one to shine?”
“Certainly, certainly. Verily, verily, it is so,
O, great and mammoth tusk hard, Meglo,”
said Cirraburnze, the lamp of truth
he had to dim,
lest he was tortured grim,
for thinking that Meglo’s war bands
invaded other lands, not him.
“The land of Mung is well defended,
so our spies return to tell,
not so much by swordsmen or mounted archers,
who can shoot an arrow well,
but by a most outlandish monstrous beast,
Tumdrukar, the Six Headed Opalescent Hydra,
his full name. Crafty, to win any game,
from him brave men flee with none to blame.
A bargain with King Dimduck,
the ruler of the land of Mung, he has made,
that allows him yet to live
in his mountain cavern’s rocky shade.
He has vowed on King Mung’s sword,
to serve him well as his lord,
to defend his throne and crown,
as long as his knights do not ride out
to hunt him down,
for his deed of abducting Princess Arna,
some seasons gone,
a tale now stale as a forgotten scone,
as her enchanter, kept her captive in his cave,
until rescued by Sir Boarswine,
now honoured he as wise and brave,
while the princess can do naught but smile,
well wedded now to Prince Frostfile,
seldom now, it is said,
do they leave their married bed.
And sure enough,
since the king and the hydra made this pact,
no host has challenged Mung Castle’s walls,
for dread of the hydra’s threatening thunder calls.”
Meglo turned pale, even to think of such a beast,
deflated, like a cob, in need of yeast.
“Abduct a princess, did he? That shows guile,”
said Meglo, with a sly, cold serpent smile.
“But he will not stop invading plots, devised by me.
All land will be mine, dry above the sea.
My chief champion, Broccus Gnashtooth,
bring to my throne,
he who defeated Amag Dungheep,
war lord of chariot men,
with the battle skills of his bear like hands,
and bald ape head, alone.
He will drag this beast caged to me,
his six heads will serve my army,
become welded in my heraldry.
Then I will invade the land of Mung,
add to my ladder its final rung,
so I can invade the halls of gods,
play with them like peas, unshelled from pods.
At the mighty name of Meglo,
all will kneel low or feel the lash of woe.”
And so it was that Broccus Gnashtooth,
more like black mountain bear than man, in truth,
rode out of Emperor Meglo’s palace court,
armed with scimitar, shield and mace,
mounted on Stungbottom, his herculean steed,
black as thunder struck stone,
at an aggressive, plundering pace,
rode he to the land of Mung,
to capture and tame the hydra,
as he had been taught,
valiant was he, and solitary, alone.
To the cave of Tumdrukar,
the Six Headed Opalescent Hydra, he came,
blew his boar horn, bawled his name,
challenged him, most mightily,
to meet him in combat,
to see who the winner would be.
Tumdrukar, having six heads,
each one with a brain, was no fool.
With his twelve dark orange,
rust red flamed eyes, he peered,
out from his cave mouth shelter,
at his would be slayer,
who looked to him heathen,
bear like, cold and cruel.
“Go away, human hog,” he hissed at him,
like a black bog where serpents swim.
“You disturb my nap.
I am too wise to fall into any formulaic trap.”
“I call you coward then,
for not meeting me in fair combat,”
bawled Broccus Gnashtooth.
“Are you less than a newt, some kind of bat?”
Tumdrukar, his anger roused,
to hear such unheroic, insulting words,
where he housed with wild beasts and birds,
prodded one head outside his cave mouth,
to scare Broccus, who stepped back, pale,
for such a monstrous being he had never seen,
and he had travelled far, east, west, north and south.
“O, most hideous thing, ” Broccus cried,
whose favourite meal was sardines with eggs,
poached, boiled or fried.
“You must yield, return with me to my emperor king,
the great Meglo. To his tune your six heads will sing.
Then he will invade the land of Mung.
Bow your heads to me, while the day’s yet young.”
Tumdrukar craftily decided, after all,
to emerge fully from his cave,
his would be capturer to appal.
Broccus stepped further back, in fright indeed,
to be shadowed by such a monstrous beast,
and wondered where now his path would lead.
“First, let me tell you my life’s tale,
to sorrow your mind, break your heart,
I promise, it will not fail,”
Tumdrukar slyly said,
lashed by one tongue in one lone head.
Then he began the telling of his life’s tale,
one of such long, lamentable woe
that Broccus wept to hear it,
never before had words moved him so.
“Cease, I cannot take more.
I feel now like a lobster,
washed wet upon the shore,”
he groaned, tears on cheek and beard,
a crumbling sight, pitiful, weird.
“I wish now to comfort you,
O, strange friendless freak.
I choke inside, can hardly speak.
Now I stand, your stout friend, not foe,
for never have I heard such words of woe.”
“But in my tale, I have not gone beyond my infancy.
Let me complete my saga,
the most pitiful in all of hydra history,”
said Tumdrukar, impressed by his own tale telling gift
that could mountains move, behemoths shift.
“No, no more. See how you have made me whine.
With you as forever friend, I wish to dine,”
said Broccus, the lines in his battle knotted brow,
he felt untwine.
“I wish now to be your friend and servant man.
Let us discuss our future plan.
And I vow to help you defend your cave,
and the land of Mung, where you dwell,
as now seems right, bongs in my mind, like a bell,
and by my oath, I will serve you well,
the best I can.”
Tumdrukar pleasantly agreed.
And the first task he set for Broccus,
his new friend indeed,
was to help him among the yellow reed,
gather buttercups and blue berries
on which he liked to feed.
As for Meglo Manekneehack,
furious was he when Broccus did not come back
with the monstrous hydra on a lead,
to help his war plan, as agreed.
And when history turned a dusty page,
he died of failing heart and ailing age,
and his empire was divided back into many lands,
ruled by kings and queens,
so the Earth map looked more like,
in browns and greens,
what the present cartographer now understands.
The moral of this tale is offered free,
an emperor is one that should not be,
and only one brain you need that truth to see.

The Return of Arthur

                         The Return of Arthur

Sir Bedivere, never so quiet has earth seemed,
as it does now, as I lie by the banks of this mere.
My mind forks with the fight at Badon Hill.
The rebel Mordred cut me down with sword and lance,
but my spirit, he did not kill.
Our banners fell. All my knights lie still.
Say farewell for me to Gwenivere.
The mist lifts from the water, The air is clear.
The barge comes silently, to take me to Avalon,
the Isle of Apples. Soon I will be gone.
Those who study my tale in future times may learn,
though there was a passing, there will be a return.

The Illusionist of Ilium

                                       The Illusionist of Ilium

Time wound down to tedium,
a burst balloon of helium,
so Bruno Quillium,
the Illusionist of Ilium,
lay splayed upon a podium,
a dried crocus in his cranium,
played on his melodium,
hummed on his harmonium,
quotes from Platonic symposium,
tunes that transported him,
from paradise to pandemonium.
Pellucid with plutonium,
announced his mind millennium,
to those to whom he was the medium,
he, the Illusionist of Ilium,
they, his consortium,
who levelled him like lithium,
kept him lithe like a gymnasium,
endorsed his equilibrium.

So Bruno, like a mynah bird,
seldom seen, never heard,
englobed in his glassy dome,
his prism home of frozen foam,
suspended his head, alone, above the stage,
composed of images, hard to gauge.
A bull elephant in full stampede,
now a flying craft spreading seed,
sirens calling sailors from rainbow rocks,
mermaids breaking free from chains and locks,
with glistening skin, more yellow than barleycorn,
necklaces of coral shells and shards of brontosaurus horn,
an octopus ray gunning a bank,
a herd of ostriches chased by a rose bedecked tank,
multi-mirror signs that sanity is unsealed,
what the surreal alone can show is now revealed.

Time wound up from tedium,
ascended to high helium,
a bright circus in his cranium,
flashed into his atrium,
like ruby resin radium,
so Bruno Quillium,
the Illusionist of Ilium,
felt he had imbibed beyond his modicum
navy rum, more extreme than medium.

The Case of the Rival Detectives

The Case of the Rival Detectives

“My God, Gorms, you have not had a case for a while, ” said Doctor Whatsit, one evening in the study of 214A, Bacon Street, amid the hurly burl of sometimes foggy London.
“No, Whatsit. It is because someone else has been solving all the cases, ” said Sherman Gorms,
leaning back in his armchair, like a long necked lobster.
“My God, Gorms. What’s his name?” asked Doctor Whatsit, alarmed.
“Holmes,” said Gorms.
“Holmes, my God,” said Doctor Whatsit.
“Yes, Holmes. Sherlock Holmes, his full name. Solves all his cases with the help of Doctor Watson,” said Gorms. “They live not far from here, in Baker Street.”
“Baker Street. My word. Not far from here, as you say,” said Doctor Whatsit, now pale as a phantom owl in a sack of flour.
“Quite,” said Gorms. “The man wears a deerstalker, smokes a pipe, plays the violin. Sounds like
someone created by a literary nut job.”
“Well, if you’re not going to be a private detective anymore, now that this Mr Sherlock Holmes is
solving all the cases, what are you going to be, Gorms?” asked Doctor Whatsit.
“The opposite, Whatsit,” said Gorms.
“The opposite of what?” asked Doctor Whatsit.
“The opposite of being a private detective, ” said Gorms. “I am going to be a criminal. I am going to commit the perfect crime, and you are going to help me. I am going to steal the Jewel of Burma
from the British Museum. Then see if Sherlock Holmes can solve the case. It would take a private
detective to outwit a private detective. Holmes will be publicly shamed for not solving the case, while you and I will get our old jobs back as the best private eyes of London.”
“Good show, Gorms,” said Doctor Whatsit, impressed.
“Thanks, Whatsit,” said Gorms.
Needless to say, Sherlock Holmes with the aid of Doctor Watson did solve the case of the theft of the Jewel of Burma, and Sherman Gorms and Doctor Jock Whatsit had to spend twenty years in her Majesty’s prison, a sentence that neither of them survived, due to poor health and the natural deterioration of the human body.

 

 

 

The Horrendous Misfortunes of Tumdrukar, the Six Headed Opalescent Hydra

 The Horrendous Misfortunes of Tumdrukar, the Six Headed Opalescent Hydra

Long gone the days of which this tale speaks,
in kingdom lost, no map remains.
Hear him howl, the old ruler groans,
dampens his throne alone.
Outside his castle windows,
he cares not, if it rains and rains.
King Dimduck, his name be.
The land of Mung ruled he wisely,
his wife alongside, Queen Wegelwe.
Alas, Princess Arna, his daughter,
long missing was, snatched away,
like a lily by a claw,
from stony ground, wet water.
“What beast is this?” he yelped,
like an unleashed hound,
a most unnerving, heart quailing sound.
“What beast has captured my daughter?”
he questioned thus Virabus Spellweave,
his high magician, chief court mage sage,
to him revealed how a monarch may grieve.
“Worse than dragon, woodwose,
belch brogan or ogre,”
Virabus answered his lamenting king,
who wished no more to hear his merry minstrels sing.
“Alas, our fair princess is held captive in a cave,
under cloud and hemmed in by ocean wave,
by most monstrous Tumdrukar,
the Six Headed Opalescent Hydra,”
Virabus explained,
however much the knowledge pained.
“Once thought but a fable, your majesty,
now the facts of the hydra are on the table,
have been well scribed,
his portrait drawn in illustration bright,
on a page of that learned treatise, the Bestiary,
so now his existence is beyond dispute,
once a being is named, it has a root.”
Hearing this, the old king, alarmed,
trembled, tearful, could not be calmed.
“Then the best of knights
on this quest I send.
Whomsoever shall save my daughter
from this beast
shall be my eternal royal friend,”
so uttered the king in desperate reply.
And so it was that many fair knights
into the wilds of Mung did ride,
under the eye of winged bolgnarks
that yet flocked about the sky.
On the quest to rescue Princess Arna
from the cave of her abnormal abductor,
Tumdrukar, the Six Headed Opalescent Hydra,
they gallantly, chivalrously rode,
far from any pilgrim path or rock troll road.
One elder knight rode alone,
laboured under creaky bone.
Sir Boarswine was his name,
knew all about the questing game,
armed with sword and lance,
came to a cave above a mere,
there on a hump to rest his rump,
he sat, and watched the midges dance.
A sight he saw, most unlikely.
Twas Princess Arna, in conversation deep,
with a most monstrous six headed beast,
under a tree, a little further east.
So strange, he thought he was asleep.
Forth he strode, his sword held high.
“Fear not, fair princess, it is I,
Sir Boarswine,” he announced,
loud enough to flick away a fly.
“Now from this misshapened beast,
I beg you flee,
and I will slay him by stone and tree.”
“Halt, sir knight, ” Princess Arna said.
“I would not my new friend be slain dead.
If you knew the tale of the horrendous misfortunes
of Tumdrukar, the Six Headed Opalescent Hydra,
as do I, then pity tears you would cry,
and your cold heart would be warm
with kindly sympathy.”
“Let him tell his tale to me,
to decide what his fate should be,”
said Sir Boarswine, most reasonably,
even a cleric would agree.
Thus Tumdrukar, the crafty hydra,
began a tale, full sorrow sore,
which Sir Boarswine wept to hear,
and from his eye a tear tore.
“Wait. That is not the tale you told me,”
interrupted Princess Arna,
the hydra’s tale less than half way through.
“Of course not, human wench,”
said Tumdrukar, with a low hiss,
and fuming stench.
“That tale alone was heard by you.
One false tale does not make another true.
We hydras have six heads,
and each one has a brain,
so if one repeats a tale another said,
the others would complain.
With six heads we can share our knowledge,
and keep eachother sane.”
Princess Arna, shocked, betrayed,
saw at last the trick the hydra played,
stepped back, turned pale,
to think what she had heard,
however lamentable,
had been just a tale.
“Now you know, fair princess,”
said Sir Boarswine.
“Never trust a hydra.
He wove a web for you,
more crafty than a spider.”
The hydra huffed, swagged off to his cave,
slunk away from combat,
more cunning was he than brave.
Sir Boarswine with Princess Arna
returned safe to Mung Castle court,
having found what he had sought.
From then on the king’s hall
was filled with merriment and laughter,
and all who dwelt within
lived happy ever after.
The moral of this tale may be,
never trust a hydra
or any other creature
with more than one brain,
for that matter.