A Night/Knight in England

Oh, I't s grey and it's cold (Fool's Odyssey)

When I was a young man, I began searching for the meaning of life. Along the way, I wrote a travel journal, a mix of prose and poetry, and labelled it Fool’s Odyssey.

It seemed like the Gatwick Express to London would never arrive. Waves of fever passed over me. My eyes were running. My nose was running. But the train wasn’t. God, make the train run.

The train ran. We passed suburbs–tidy houses and colorless apartment buildings encircling magnificent cathedrals–then open fields, then more suburbs. Flash. Darkness. How did it get to be night? Is it always night in England? Hah, I’m a knight in England. 

I was delirious.

Flash–darkness–flash–darkness–

All things are wearisome;

man is not able to tell.

Flash–darkness–flash–darkness–

The eye is not satisfied with seeing,

nor the ear filled with hearing.*

Flash–darkness–flash–darkness–

All things are wearisome.

Flash–darkness–flash—darkness…

Victoria Station.

I walked out into the slick, cobbly, wayward night, hugging my only companion, my shoulder bag. I had no place to stay, so I walked, pad, pad, pad, pad, past stone lions and bookshelf chimneys, pad, pad, pad, pad, and as I walked, I thought,

Oh, it’s grey and it’s cold and the living world

has gone beneath the ground,

or found a little ball of sleep

to chase down the quiet corridor of night.

There, that hostel. Was it friendly? Or was it a hostile hostel? Didn’t matter. I’d call it “Home for the Night” and send all my postcards from there, saying, “Greetings from…”

Chippy-toothed, mustachioed little Mrs. Hussey looked out the window for ten minutes while I tried not to look like I was looking at her looking at me. She finally gave me the key, and I was home, or at least hemi-semi-demi-home. I was sick-weary, the worst sort, and there were nine flights of stairs. So I stopped and slept at every landing: Climb. Sleep. Awaken. Climb. Sleep. Awaken. Finally my floor: Walk. Sleep. Awaken.

There, my door! With its own little, dear little room inside, and its own little, dear little bed. I finally slept legally, prone, but kept awakening…

What?

All things are wearisome…

The eye is not filled with…

What?

All things are wearisome…

The eye is not filled with…

What?

Forever passed, and then suddenly there was a whisper: “Come unto me.”

I finally reached bottom

the place where sleep lived

and was feathered like a sloop upon the ocean’s back

draped upon the limbs of laughing earthy willowed hills

a child of fortune, a fortunate knight

in his emerald sleeves and shining armour

on his velveteen ducky-down steed

Asleep forever

For an hour or two.

*Ecclesiastes 1:8

To read the next episode, click here.

fools-odyssey-title-art-2

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir, Poetry and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to A Night/Knight in England

  1. Love it! It is amazing all the things you have done.!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mitchteemley says:

    Well, a restless spirit does lead one to wander. Thank you, Suzanne.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Big Dumb Guy | Mitch Teemley

  4. Lovely. England was not so kind to me, when I was twenty-three. But the problem wasn’t England, the problem was me.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. jboelhower says:

    This is so cool! Like the train rhythm section!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. nickreeves says:

    Good work, Mitch. Made even better for me as The Gatwick-Victoria would mean that you passed through Croydon – which is always a good thing, mainly the passing through! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. lilyofthevalley777 says:

    I love poetry Mitch, but whenever I would write, I felt that it needed to rhyme. Perhaps because my mom read Robert Lewis Stevenson’s book A Childs Garden of Verses every night before bedtime…. ‘My Shadow’ was one of my favorites, “I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
    And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.” and on it goes.

    But your poetry is boundless and unique. I can appreciate that. I was never good at Haiku in school either. Never caught the jist of it, basically because it didn’t make sense and it didn’t rhyme. Well, I’m beginning to ramble, sorry ’bout that.

    So at the end you cap it off with Ecclesiastes 1:8, which caused me to read the verse, and realize this is what your poem was about all along…King Solomon was a wise man and Preacher. Ecclesiastes 1:12

    Thanks for your thoughts of a Fools Odyssey. ♡
    Susan

    Liked by 1 person

  8. lilyofthevalley777 says:

    Sound advice. I’ll have to unbed (is that real word) the embedded. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jon says:

    Great wise fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. endean0 says:

    Some great images conjured up “Cobbly wayward night” also liked the hostile hostel, I’ve also seen a few 🙂 Was the stair climbing a metaphor? The last mile being the hardest mile? Enjoyed it immensely, thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Vinny says:

    Brilliant. London can be a lonely city even though it’s big and bustling.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Vinny says:

    It just gets busier and busier. More people jam-packed into the tube. It never ceases to amaze me how many people fight to get on.

    Liked by 1 person

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