Yesterday was the last day I will ever compose an Axis & Allies tryptych. In fact, I did 5. The first three were in the morning, walking in glorious sunshine before settling down at the lake. Rhododendron bushes were in full bloom, bluebells were still regnal in visual lucidity, great hosts of insects were covering the lake like clouds of sealike-spray. As I finished my last line I entwined its meaning with Arthur casting Excalibur into a lake after his death at Camlann. It was a bit like Prospero snapping his wand in the Tempest as, after pacing by the lake a few moments & milking the moments, I tossed my pen into the lake & watched the bubbles from its falling slowly pop into nothingness. Getting back to the ranch, I then realised that there were, in fact, two stanzas still to write – both on the 9-11 ‘attacks’ – that I wanted to include to reflect my own studies into the actual events of 9-11, not those force fed us by the media only moments after the towers were hit. Thus, they were duly composed with a new pen, then returning to the lake I repeated my earlier penthrowing ritual.
So, it is done, or at least the research & writing is done. 900 tryptychs, 100 cantos & one long & lovely luxurious epic poem. My work is done. I’ve summarised all history up to my time, & reflected the zeitgeist as best as I can, even projecting into the future in the best epic tradition. All that remains is a singular read through – I’m at Charlemagne at the moment – neatening, improving, etc. I admit this is a process that may take a lifetime – & that is my perogative – but I have to draw the line at some point. With the poem fresh in my mind & having reached its final form, that time is just about now. Plus, I turn 40 in 9 days. As for its validity, who knows, but I have immersed myself in the epic tradition, which leads to a certain passage in Machiavelli.
Men nearly always follow the tracks made by others & proceed in their affairs by imitation, even though they cannot entirely keep to the tracks of others or emulate the prowess of their models. So, a prudent man should always follow in the footsteps of great men & imitate those who have been outstanding. If his own prowess fails to compare with theirs, at least it has an air of greatness about it.
June 2, 2016
Baro Farm Cottages