Wake Not the Warrior

Here’s a poem I wrote whilst writing my first solo fantasy novel, Usher’s Pass (The Arch of Sires, Book I).

 Wake Not the Warrior

Disturb not his slumber
He dwells half in troubled dreams
Shared with rolling thunder
That drowns the sound of screams

Wake not the warrior
His peace is razor sharp
He walks the path of the dead and gone
And stalks the living dark

Where the wraiths of vanquished enemies roam,
In the shadows and shivering wisps,
And only the warrior soul comes home
From beyond the velvet mist

Disturb not his slumber
Or face the warrior’s blade
Feel the kiss of sharpened steel
And join the drifting shades

Wake not the warrior
For if you do not fall
His blood flows in your veins and binds
You to answer the call

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Best Man Speech

This speech went down quite well at my brother’s wedding so I thought I would share it. It is, of course, all completely true.

Matthew John Petunia Bolton was born on 1st August 1979 aged four years and two days.

Born to a plucky dancing pygmy and an old badger, he was a strangely mottled luminous hysterical boy who insisted he was a creation of his own dreams.

A highly strung bioluminescent young squit, Matthew’s orange glow was invaluable to our poverty-stricken family during power cuts. Father would hang him from the light fitting in the middle of the room and read to us from a crossword the size of a football pitch.

Matthew would dangle there, bathing us in orange light and foot odour, attracting myriad insects and the inevitable spiders and horseshoe bats that followed them. He spent much of his childhood covered in guano, which father would use as fertiliser for his vast white bouffant, or as he called it, his cryptic brain forest.

Later my dear mother became convinced Matthew was a German spy sent here as a beacon to light the way for a wave of bombers. She would chase him around all night swinging a cricket bat and shouting, “put that light out!” until they both fell into a fitful slumber.

When Matthew and I were both six, mother gave birth to a giant disembodied head. Jub was hung in a crude harness in the loft for ten years. You wouldn’t know it to look at him that his entire body is made of chipboard apart from his hands and feet, which are quite real.

Sadly, our dad, Ted, passed away last year. He told me was immensely proud of Matthew.

For those of you who were not fortunate enough to meet Ted, I’d like to recount a description of him given by his unpredictable fisherman cousin, Junior.

“I saw him with my own eyes. He resembled nothing I ever saw, before or since. He were more eyebrow than man! He lifted his densely wooded head, so that its canopy rose clear of the mainmast, jangled a king’s ransom in loose change with lumpen paw, farted and blamed his dog. Some say the scars on his forearms were remnants of battles with that infamous canine. Windsor, scourge of Illogan Highway, the most ferocious border-collie on the high seas.”

Matthew’s mortal fear of spiders began in his infancy. Gangs of the merciless eight-legged killers would follow him around at night, ready to devour any hapless moth that was lured to its death by his glowing head.

Consequently, he was afraid of the dark, for when night fell, he became a tragic walking arthropod menagerie. When the EU declared him a sight of special scientific interest and forbade him to wash, his life took a downward spiral. This was the precursor to an abhorrent infestation that blights him to this day.

Bears.

The bears watch him night and day. Toying with him like some glow-in-the-dark radioactive lab rat. Masters of disguise, the bears are everywhere. Driving our buses, sweeping our streets, serving our drinks.

Matthew would phone me late at night, ranting. “They’re in the pantry, Martin! They’re tinkering with my precious miscellanea!” By this time, we were concerned for his sanity. No one believed him, putting his claims down to his known propensity for exaggeration and outright deceit. His wild assertions that he had invented the world’s first bionic eye lashes and had the ability to smell other people’s thoughts had irreparably damaged his credibility. But when I stumbled upon the tell-tale droppings in his cutlery drawer, I knew he was indeed plagued by the ursine illuminati.

His fragile psyche having finally cracked, Matthew sank into a hopeless abyss of despair and paranoia. Until one day, a shining light brought him hope.

Kisambard Kingdom Williams, referred to by her lazier friends as Kizzy, hauled Matthew’s reeking carcass from the void. Civil engineering, social work and zoology are just a few of Kizzy’s feverish pursuits, and she enthusiastically procrastinates at all three. Needless to say, Matthew is happier than I’ve ever seen him.

Matthew said that now our dad is gone, there is a special kind of gentleness that is missing from the World. He was wrong of course, because that gentleness is alive in him.