I don’t have a 4k HD t.v., but I found a lovely pic of Rusty looking ultra regal in 4k HD from Ridley Scott’s 2010 Robin Hood, starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett.
This poem, based on the 47th Psalm, is about the beginning of the film, in a pivotal scene when Eleanor of Aquitaine and her son, Prince John, come to greet Rusty and his trusty Crusader, King Richard, on their long-awaited return to England.
No spoilers this time, folks. (But there is some slant rhyme. Like I said, I’ve been experimenting.)
All peoples of England raise the hue and cry, shout out to King Richard with bluster and pride. For the Lionheart of the Crusades turns home, our great King, rich in conquests, takes back his throne. He crushed the infidels in the Holy Land and overthrew the rich fortresses of France. He marked out for England a great destiny, the pride of our troops in our hour of need. King Richard arrives – strike up a great fanfare, the sound of our trumpets should ring him ashore. Assemble in state to receive your true King, let the Lionheart gaze on a joyous throng. For England has long been in feckless John’s hands, and the land lying fallow without our men. Richard combined every fief in a nation, united behind his Crusade and his crown. The nobles of London all gather and bow; by bonds that run deeper than blood, they are bound. For God’s are the kingdom’s Crusader’s and knights. Much exalted the man who long shared their tents.
This poem, based on the 46th Psalm, is an epilogue to Universal’s 2017 monster extravaganza, The Mummy, in Henry’s voice.
This poem marks the beginning of a transition out of that abominable 11-syllable line I’ve been trying to use for the last few months, to no avail. It was originally written in hendecasyllabics, like all the others, but I’ve revised it in free verse. Expect to see more variation in line lengths to come…
The occult is a shelter and strength for me, a tool and a trade I resort to in need. I fear not when the cities tremble, when pyramids gape their tombs, and dead men rise. The Thames roars beneath these graves, carrying sediment off to the sea. This stream erased thousands of mysteries, and gladdened our people while going its way. With my lab in her midst, London will not fall. Our work in the dark bears fruit before dawn. Old Kingdom monsters stir, armies take flight. Death sends forth creeping harbingers – even time shakes. But evil is known to science – there’s some cure, a weapon waiting for us to forge and wield. Go, study the ways of wrath and destruction, the forces of desolation and despair, impervious to wars and deaf to our prayers. My weapons have failed against this new foe, my lab has been tested by fire this time. “Let go,” the darkness whispers in your friend’s mind. “My power will cast your shadow over all.” Perhaps he is with us nonetheless – we’ll see. He seeks a way to break his curse on his own.
Christian Bale turns in a performance that is exceptional even for his own outstanding track record in Zhang Yimou’s epic WWII story The Flowers of War, alternately titled Heroes of Nanking.
This movie should come with a lot of trigger warnings, for war violence and rape. It is about the rape of Nanking during the Japanese invasion of China, and tells the true story of the heroism of a small handful of individuals who acted selflessly to spare the lives of a small group of schoolgirls besieged in the middle of occupied Nanking.
Among the girls’ rescuers were a small group of courtesans hiding in the church basement. This poem, based on the 45th Psalm, is addressed to them, in the voice of Christian Bale’s character, an alcoholic undertaker who took refuge in the church for entirely selfish reasons, but was moved to try to help the girls in the end. Bale’s character uses his skills as an undertaker to help the courtesans change their appearance to look more like young schoolgirls.
The Japanese have ordered the girls to attend a party at their encampment “to sing” and in so doing, to abandon the safety of the church. Unbeknownst to the Japanese soldiers, the girls are smuggled out and the courtesans, dressed as schoolgirls, take their place – with shards of mirrors hidden in their long sleeves for self-defense, anticipating gang rape and murder at the party (having seen what happened when two of their friends were grabbed by soldiers on the road).
My heart has been stirred from a long silence, friends. I speak to you out of a profound regret. My art is at your service in this gamble. You are the bravest of heroes of Nanking, and in all your actions, grace and deftness show. For who you are, our Father blesses your names. Gird your makeshift weapons well, like a soldier, for in these shards of glass resides your grandeur. And with these shining blades concealed, pass onward, stand tall in the name of honor and justice, and ready your right arm to strike at their hearts, slash with the edges sharpened by hot feelings – wound the men who mistake you for easy prey – unleash havoc into the heart of their camp. Your place in history will shine forever. Your names will never perish here in Nanking. You loved kindness and rejected cruelty. For this you walk in beauty, all anointed with scents of joy in fellowship and pleasure. Orchids, myrrh and jasmine, all twined together, embellish your silk trains like songbirds’ laughter. From cherrywood filigree palaces spring the sensitive notes of lutes to answer you. Princesses all of you, Nanking’s cherished ones, and a rare prince walks among you in disguise. Look on, children, and give them their due regard, forget your prejudice and honor their souls. Your countrymen yearned for their beauty and grace, for these were the mistresses of their proud hearts, and men of distinction bowed low at their feet. Daughters of the graces, with ornate tokens the city’s magnates sought to win their favors. Yet a princess’s treasure is not in pearls, nor the gold filigree in her fine raiment. In coarse, modest garments they are led away – maidens in name, they consent to take your place. They who have made of life beauty and gladness step out to the front with a spring in their step, knowing their choices have meaning, even now. In this city’s stead, and in their memory, you, too, will live like princesses, proud and free. Through you, their names will live for generations. For the path they choose this day, acclaim them all.