norman castle, castle keep, motte and bailey, curtain wall, treason of our leaders

The Castle

The curtain wall is breached,
Rejoice, it is not south-facing
And we can sup and gorge
In the false sense of asylum
In the ancient whitewashed halls,
The faceless grasp the levers
On the death-infested wasteland
Our warriors all lie gasping
From distant strangleholds
Of those that would destroy us:
The artful foul deceivers.

Scored out the motte a labyrinth
Of dead-end shafts and dungeons
An escape route for the traitors,
A slow death for the exposers
Of the trickery of our leaders,
Who conspire in the subjugation
Of confederates and kinfolk,
Our children born to serfdom
That stalks the near future;
Unless their guild is broken,
There will be no sovereign nation.

The bailey is now a crucible
Of mistrusting vying tribes
What took centuries to build
Is deconstructed by the hour
There is fear from without,
There is fear from within
The menacing siege towers wait,
Giant mutants in the storm,
For the infighting to break,
Once the young men have been starved
The killing will begin.

From a mighty wooden watchtower
A sentinel screams and cries
He sees the stark futility
And so plots his own demise
In the tarnished halls of justice
Laws are brought in from outside
By hooded grotesque riders
In collusion with our leaders
That claim to be the protectors
But only ever enrich themselves
And their conspirators far and wide.

The illusion is one of fairness
Bread and circuses, justice for all
The knights are paraded as heroes,
Battle-worn, beaten and lame
Applaud from the puppet masters
Whom never a battle have seen
As the shadow of propaganda
Falls on demoralised youth
Dredged up from the murky moat 
"A suicide victim again",
Quips the spymaster's killing machine.

Far away in the silver birch forest,
The sun melts the crystals of ice
That cling to the branches all winter
Then drip to the frosty wood floor
A stag lifts his giant antlered head,
Each frozen breath stirs the air
He grunts and detects the sly hunter
As an arrow speeds forth from the bow
His hooves tread the crisp brown leaves
One last time as he slumps to the ground
And the life drains away in the stare.

The constable briefs the elite guard
In the armoury wing of the keep
Rebellion and protest will be crushed
As he kisses a gleaming sword
Knights sworn to sacred allegiance
Will cut down their own if required
For power and land is dominion
In the kingdom soon to come
When gods are returned to the earth
And the guild is secret no more
And the serf knows not he is one.

How could it have come to this:
The enemy move among us?
The gatehouse quickly crumbles,
No sign of its former splendor
The flags are weathered and torn
For us old enough to remember
The pride and warmth in belonging
To a throng of master masons
That would shape and build a future
That was stolen by the usurpers,
Without war and without surrender.  

In the chapel a young man whispers
To one from a silver birch forest
The Castle cannot be taken,
For blood was spilt by the ancestors,
And flows in the secret places
Where life drains away in the stare
In the forest an army is mustering,
On the hills the dead kings are rising,
The day of the traitor is ending,
The enemy will be ruined,
But for now they remain unaware.

© Severn Dwyer. 2012

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