The King in the Mountain

Carrying on with the subterranean theme of the last poem, here is my take on the potent nationalist myth of the hero who sleeps under the mountain with his army, waiting until things get really shitty up top to come out and reinstate the old order. This has been King Arthur, Charlemagne, Frederick Barbarossa or any number of militaristic bigwigs in different cultures and eras.

I think a lot of fascists see themselves as awakening a dormant national spirit which will wipe out the perceived decadence of the age, so I had some fun with the idea. It was moderately more enjoyable than indulging the terror I often feel about how things are developing in the geopolitical arena at present.

I started with a mental image of Nigel Farage riding into battle on the back of a clapped-out steed and took it from there…

The King in the Mountain

The king in the mountain
waits with his faithful retainers
until an arbitrary national unit
fatally shreds its moral fibre

his support team of analysts are
always busy
poring over febrile newsfeeds
scanning the diminished horizon for grim pointers
which signal the long-mooted emergence
of this ambered order
a narcoleptic bulwark of
heroes who trained long and hard for their calling
first during legendary lives in which they tilted
at whatever bogeymen history could throw at them
then during periodic tests of capability
where the codewords “up periscope!”
prompted them to sally forth from their subterranean repose
shivering and coffee-breathed
to half-heartedly chase cut outs of dragons around the snow capped peaks
before once more embarking upon their ageless sleep

these guests at a heavily armoured slumber party
consider themselves the six hundred and sixty sixth emergency service
but alas, the years have not been kind to the
crack troops of the cultural save point

their investments did not pay off
and the money which is left only gets you
Charlemagne’s beard
a deal with a mining company
downsized their cavernous domain to a meatlocker
their keen blades have perforce been pawned
replaced with litter-pickers
and a hoard of knackered nukes

but when the petri dish appears irreversibly fouled
and the sign on the wall reads
“days since last end of days incident – zero”
a chorus of vuvuzelas will summon this ancient cohort
and they will arise and set out on their emaciated nags
with flaking heraldry and rotting pennants
to recreate a miserable approximation of their glory days

lumbering liegelords Batman! they will be quite the spectacle
the living embodiment of mothballed values
seeking pledges of fealty from bewildered countrymen
whose forelocks will fall out before they can tug them

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