Lady Godiva Strikes Again!

Godiva (2)

Myth is much more important and true than history. History is just journalism and you know how reliable that is.

Joseph Campbell.

I should make an attempt to start at the beginning but beginnings – true beginnings – well, they can be quite the elusive animal. They hide among the murk, cover their trail well, camouflage themselves amongst a vast forest of hearsay and half truth. Facts are their game, you see – pure, undiluted, unshakeable facts.

They are not willing to share these facts, if, in fact, these facts exist at all.

*

The infamous Lady Godiva was born Anno Domini 980, her name found in various charters (and the Domesday Book if you should ever care to look) so she existed. This much we know.

But what of her childhood?

The name of her first love?

What were her dreams and what were her nightmares? 

What was it which shaped her, made her the woman who we would learn of as children?

That is the knowledge that will always, inevitably, fall between the cracks of history

                down 

                                          it

        goes.

*

The woman walked alone upon the black sands, out there at the very edge of everything, where the ocean at her feet lay still and abstruse and ancient, devoid of all life yet lavish with its every possibility; both a cradle and a tomb.

The sun which hung above her head was both a bloody red and a perfect white, a young dwarf, an archaic giant and everything in between – its endless potential shimmered alone up there in the clearest of skies, looking down upon what had been, what will be and all that which could never be, where everything and nothing flickered like a flame; from the first brutal surge of The Roman Empire to the bitter aftermath of the French Revolution, from beautiful Atlantis blooming in the summertime to the Lovecraftian gods who slumbered in the void, from the primordial soup from where life first crawled to the last, desperate breaths of the dying Earth, from Joyce’s Dublin to Hemingway’s Paris; the ripples of time and space, the imagination and memory, blossomed, from its smallest possible point to the entirety of existence and back again in an endless loop.

One thousand generations sang out in unison, from those at the Cradle of Life to the unfortunate few who fell at the Field of Bones; all of the children who had never been born danced with the imaginary friends of great emperors and paupers alike as the gods of antiquity and the great legends of old hunted on the plain of plains; the Dodo and the Mammoth and the Diplodocus and the Neanderthal flocked amongst the orchards and the standing stones as they had done in a bygone age, in a land that was both completely and utterly desolate and teeming with the entirety of all possibility.

The woman on the black sands was both alone and amongst an entire legion, her myth rode along beside her as she had been as a child, who in turn stood hand in hand with the woman as she had been on her wedding day, whilst others glittered a strange silver and others soared high above in the cloudless sky.

Each and every possible outcome for that woman was there, together as one.

The feather had yet to fall.

*

They had called her Godgifu (or Godgyfu) in the Old(e) English; the infamous Countess Godgifu, a worshipper of God and devout lover of St Mary ever-virgin. Her name had meant Gift of God which must weigh heavy on the shoulders, perhaps why Godiva, Godgifu, Godgyfu, bestowed such bounty upon the Children of God, Ego Godiva Comitissa diu istud desideravi, donating acre upon acre of her land to the monasteries of holy men, and providing them with some of the finest metals Coventry had to offer.

We’ll never know.

*

Leofric, Godiva’s husband, had been quite the preeminent man in Anglo-Saxon England. Made his wealth in the mutton trade, back in Shrewsbury. He would have been what certain people might call New Money (usually in a derogatory tone) but he was appointed Earl of Mercia by Canute the Great himself – making him one of the three most powerful men in the entire country – so he had that going for him. And he was also -contrary to legend – a man capable of great generosity (in particular, much like his wife, to the religious houses of the day).

This, though, had perhaps been an act of penance. Leofric had been one of those ordered to plunder and burn the city of Worcester in Anno Domini 1041, after the killing of two tax-collectors by revolting peasants (this during the turbulent reign of King Harthacnut, Cnut the Great’s son). Leofric, along with his fellow Earls, would eventually have lain waste to the entire area. They called this a harrying.

This harrying must have sorely tested poor Leofric, for Worcester has been the cathedral city of the Hwicce, his people.

This is the price of power, I’m afraid.

*

Our Lady had already lost a husband before she was betrothed to Leofric, the Earl of Mercia. The name of the former husband, alas, has also been left to fall

                           between

                                              the

           cracks.

Such melancholy for one so young! Such heartbreak! Such sorrow! But if we can be sure of one thing it is that Lady Godgifu, our Godiva of legend, would never have allowed the bleakness of human existence to blind her from the suffering of her fellow-man. Of course she would have continued in her efforts to spread both love and compassion to all people of God! That had been her gift after all!

*

This, of course, is all conjecture. All of it. We might well be gorging on hearsay right now.

*

It was the year 1043 when Leofric – along with our beloved Godgifu – founded Coventry’s Benedictine monastery, St. Mary’s Priory. John of Worcester would later write,

He [Leofric] and his wife, the noble Countess Godgifu, a worshipper of God and devout lover of St Mary ever-virgin, built the monastery there from the foundations out of their own patrimony, and endowed it adequately with lands and made it so rich in various ornaments that in no monastery in England might be found the abundance of gold, silver, gems and precious stones that was at that time in its possession.

And Edward the Confessor – who had been crowned king by this time – was a man whom deeply favoured such pious acts, granting a charter confirming Leofric and Godiva’s gift.

This charter, though, may well have been a fake. But who would fake such a charter? And for what nefarious purpose? Contributing to the legend, perhaps? We’ll never know. It might be necessary to ignore all this uncertainty. I mean, not just anybody gets appointed an Earl by the Cnut the Great for Christ’s sake.

*

So, how exactly do we explain what happened next (if what happened next actually happened at all)?

Let me summarise:

The townspeople were suffering grievously under Leofric’s oppressive taxation! Leofric, it would turn out, did not share the same compassion and generosity he had for the holy men with the poor people of Coventry (meaning that the harsh lesson of the harrying of Worcester had obviously not been learnt! That bastard!)!

And Lady Godgifu – the hero of our tale – would not have been able to sit by idly while her people, the innocent Children of God, endured such hardship, so the couple reached an impasse!

And so it began, the famous day when the townsfolk were ordered to shutt their dore, & clap their windowes downe.

*

Some nine hundred years later Alfred (Lord Tennyson) would recount the tale in the form of a poem, Godiva, written when returning from Coventry to London after a visit to Warwickshire,

The woman of a thousand summers back,

Godiva, wife to that grim Earl, who ruled

In Coventry: for when he laid a tax

Upon his town, and all the mothers brought

Their children, clamoring, “If we pay, we starve!”

She sought her lord, and found him, where he strode

About the hall, among his dogs, alone,

His beard a foot before him and his hair

A yard behind. She told him of their tears,

And pray’d him, “If they pay this tax, they starve.”

Whereat he stared, replying, half-amazed,

“You would not let your little finger ache

For such as these?” “But I would die,” said she.

He laugh’d, and swore by Peter and by Paul;

Then fillip’d at the diamond in her ear;

“Oh ay, ay, ay, you talk!” “Alas!” she said,

“But prove me what I would not do.”

And from a heart as rough as Esau’s hand,

He answer’d, “Ride you naked thro’ the town,

And I repeal it;” and nodding, as in scorn,

He parted, with great strides among his dogs.

So left alone, the passions of her mind,

As winds from all the compass shift and blow,

Made war upon each other for an hour,

Till pity won. She sent a herald forth,

And bade him cry, with sound of trumpet, all

The hard condition; but that she would loose

The people: therefore, as they loved her well,

From then till noon no foot should pace the street,

No eye look down, she passing; but that all

Should keep within, door shut, and window barr’d.

Then fled she to her inmost bower, and there

Unclasp’d the wedded eagles of her belt,

The grim Earl’s gift; but ever at a breath

She linger’d, looking like a summer moon

Half-dipt in cloud: anon she shook her head,

And shower’d the rippled ringlets to her knee;

Unclad herself in haste; adown the stair

Stole on; and, like a creeping sunbeam, slid

From pillar unto pillar, until she reach’d

The Gateway, there she found her palfrey trapt

In purple blazon’d with armorial gold.

Then she rode forth, clothed on with chastity:

The deep air listen’d round her as she rode,

And all the low wind hardly breathed for fear.

The little wide-mouth’d heads upon the spout

Had cunning eyes to see: the barking cur

Made her cheek flame; her palfrey’s foot-fall shot

Light horrors thro’ her pulses; the blind walls

Were full of chinks and holes; and overhead

Fantastic gables, crowding, stared: but she

Not less thro’ all bore up, till, last, she saw

The white-flower’d elder-thicket from the field,

Gleam thro’ the Gothic archway in the wall.

Then she rode back, clothed on with chastity;

And one low churl, compact of thankless earth,

The fatal byword of all years to come,

Boring a little auger-hole in fear,

Peep’d but his eyes, before they had their will,

Were shrivel’d into darkness in his head,

And dropt before him. So the Powers, who wait

On noble deeds, cancell’d a sense misused;

And she, that knew not, pass’d: and all at once,

With twelve great shocks of sound, the shameless noon

Was clash’d and hammer’d from a hundred towers,

One after one: but even then she gain’d

Her bower; whence reissuing, robed and crown’d,

To meet her lord, she took the tax away

And built herself an everlasting name.

*

Daniel Donoghue, a Professor of English and American literature and language at Harvard, wrote (far far later),

Two centuries after her [Godiva’s] death, chroniclers in the Benedictine abbey of St. Albans inserted a fully developed narrative into their Latin histories. Nobody knows quite why the legend was invented and attached to her name but it does seem to function as a kind of myth of origin for the town of Coventry.

So, perhaps our tale of Godiva is much like that of the myth surrounding the founding of Rome, the fantastic tale of the twins suckling at the teat of the she-wolf, the fateful quarrel between Romulus and Remus. Perhaps the truth is immaterial after a time. Why let something as frightfully dull as the truth get in the way of a good story?

*

Myth made its first intrusion upon our reality when a God, soon to be King, first walked upon our cities streets.

The story had been changed and the reality with it.

He had found poor Tom hiding among the shadows of a crooked back street, hunched and sobbing amongst the filth. How he had cowered and whined and begged for forgiveness as He approached. Unfortunately, He had had no time for forgiveness back then.

“πῆμα κακὸς γείτων, ὅσσον τ’ ἀγαθὸς μέγ’ ὄνειαρ,” He had said as He plucked out poor Toms eyes.

*

Leofric died in Anno Domini 1057 at his estate at Kings Bromley in Staffordshire. It may have been on the 30th of September, or perhaps it had been on the 31st of August. It all falls between the cracks eventually.

He was buried in Saint Mary’s Priory; the Benedictine Monastery he and his wife had founded fourteen years previously. Godiva went on to live for a time but its from here on in where her story would become even hazier, now she had nothing further to offer to the myths of this land.

She would be mentioned in the Domesday Book as one of the few Anglo-Saxons, and the only woman, to remain a major landholder after the Norman conquests of Anno Domini 1066 – but by the time that great survey had taken place twenty years later Godiva had been dead. The life she had lived following the death of her husband, how she had died and where she had been buried, are now lost to the ether.

*

It was to be a simple symbol, carved beneath the left hoof on the front of an iron horse. A feather falling from a clear sky, Mr W. H. Bassett-Green had asked for.

Nothing more.

As sculptor of the statue, Sir William Reid Dick had just had to ask, he needed some reasoning behind this seeming act of folly. “But Mr. Bassett-Green, that hoof will be set upon the foundation. Nobody will even see it!”

Mr. Bassett-Green had simply smiled. That was exactly the point. With a simple symbol carved upon the hoof of an iron horse, Mr. Bassett-Green had set a certain wheel into motion.

“A symbol has power!” his grandfather had said many years before, resting beside the fire, clutching at his pipe. Little Bassett-Green would sit cross-legged before him, devouring every word.

“Symbols are a focused intent, with the capacity to bend the very nature of reality itself. The swastika, for example, a sacred and auspicious symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism and Jainism… it can be seen throughout human history, from Ancient Greece to Bronze-Age Europe. The swastika is thousands of years old, loved throughout the world, Coca-Cola use it! Carlsberg use it on their beer bottles! It’s a mark upon our collective unconscious! The power a symbol like that has, can you imagine?

“Now, look at our history… you must see that our land is an ancient one, boy! The very soil beneath your feet has lived through untold infamy. This is the land of magic and the imagination. You know all the tales, of Arthur and Lob Lie-By-The-Fire, Drake’s legendary drum. That power, the power of myth, it’s in each and every one of us. You just need to focus that power, understand? Dee and Blake, even that fiend Crowley, they all understood it. Symbols, dear child. You just focus all that power on a very particular point in time.

“Art is magic, my dear boy.” The grandfather tapped his finger gently on the boy’s forehead. “And that magic,” he smiled, begins with you!”

That night young Bassett-Green had dreamt of Green Men and Wyvern and Boggart and Red Cap, and of the fair lady who had saved his city in its direst hour of need.

*

Sir William Reid Dick’ statue of Lady Godiva was finally unveiled to a large crowd at Broadgate, at around midday on 22 October 1949. The statue had been a £20,000 gift to the city from Mr W. H. Bassett-Green, a loyal Coventrian, as a beacon of hope after dark days.

Mr. Bassett-Green, and his silent partners, now had their symbol. They would see to it that the fine line between reality and myth would soon stumble into the arms of the other, embracing as one.

*

I was around four years old when I saw Godiva and Tom for the first time. The myth came to life right above my head.

I had watched in awe as a filthy lech fumbled his way through an open window, attempting to catch a short glimpse at a naked woman as she passed beneath, astride a white horse. I can still remember his smile, wretched and wide.

“Look, Lady Godiva.” My mother pointed out the Godiva clock performing its hourly play above us (my sister, Claire, sat in the pushchair, staring out at the crowds unamused). “And that man there is Peeping Tom. He’s a bad, bad man.”

Not two metres away Sir William Reid Dick’s Godiva sat atop her stallion, patiently waiting for a feather to fall. Then one day it did.

*

Mystery of apples falling from sky in Keresley.

YOU’VE heard of it raining cats and dogs, but now an avalanche of apples has poured down on Coventry.

More than 100 apples rained down on a stretch of road in Keresley alarming motorists and leaving residents mystified.

The bizarre incident was likely down to freak weather conditions causing a vortex.

The current of air could have lifted the fallen fruit from a garden or orchard and released it over the junction of Keresley Road and Kelmscote Road.

On Monday evening the shower of apples had drivers screeching to a halt as scores of apples pelted car windscreens and bonnets.

One motorist, who was travelling with her husband at about 6.45pm, said it was lucky the downpour hadn’t sparked a pile-up.

She said: “The apples fell out of the sky as if out of nowhere.

“They were small and green and hit the bonnet hard.

“There were other cars on the road at the time too and everyone had to stop their cars suddenly.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if some cars were damaged.”

She said they were both so astonished, they drove back to the site to confirm what they had seen.

“When we went back the apples were still there,” she added.

“They were squashed where they’d been run over.

“I know the area well and there are no apple trees around.”

Yesterday, a 20-yard stretch of the road was strewn with crushed apples made mushy by the rain.

Many had smashed as though they had fallen from a great height.

Baffled resident Dave Meakins opened the front door of his home in Kelmscote Road yesterday morning to find a number of smashed apples in his front garden.

The 63-year-old retired fork lift truck driver cleared the mess, initially believing it was down to misbehaving children until he looked across the road to see more apple debris and realised the scale of the phenomenon.

“I honestly don’t know where the apples could have come from,” said Dave.

“I assumed kids must have thrown them because we do get the occasional egg and apple thrown but there’s way too much for that.

“I would love to know where they came from.”

He and other neighbours are keen to get to core of the issue.

One theory is freak weather conditions may have caused a vortex of water pressure, which is when wind and rain form a powerful vacuum that can lift items and dump them up to 100 miles away. Some also believe the apples fell from a plane.

Keresley parish councillor Sandra Camwell was not at all surprised when told about the incident.

Recalling her own brush with the unexplained on the Keresley Road last year, when she said it seemed to go pitch black all of a sudden and then go clear again, she said: “Strange things do happen in this part of the world.

“I think it’s highly likely that apples did fall from the sky.

“We’re in an area with a spooky history, where there have been witches for centuries, after all.”

*

OPERATOR: Nine nine nine, what is your emergency?

CALLER: Listen, you ain’t gonna believe this, love, but I’ve just seen a naked bird ridin’ about on top’ve a fuckin’ horse outside Cathedral Lanes.

(MUFFLED LAUGHTER)  

OPERATOR: Sir…

CALLER: Listen, I think she might be on somethin’. Listen.

UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: þone déofol! uncoren!

CALLER: You hear that? Fuck me sideways…

OPERATOR: I – excuse me, please hold the line.

That day, Godiva opened her eyes for the first time in almost one thousand years. But first she had passed through an unimaginable void; where she had been aware of vast and impossible shapes that crawled about her through an infinite darkness.

The gentleman had appeared before her quite suddenly, thick-set with a fine beard and an odd hat sat atop his greying hair, wearing elegant garments cut of a most alien cloth, the like of which both shocked and awed Lady Godifu.

She asked the gentleman if this were the Lord with whom she was now addressing.

The man chuckled nervously. “Oh no, my Lady! Oh, gosh, no!” He dabbed another piece of cloth upon his brow, staring down at infinity as it stretched beneath his feet. “I am but a simple man, Countess, a humble servant. Call me Green, if it pleases you.”

Where am I? she asked. What manner of place is this?

“My Lady,” said the man. “You are underneath the world. It is an in-between place, neither Heaven, nor Hell, but a kingdom without name.

“I am afraid, my Lady, that I have come to you from dark times. Our home is one without hope, a lost and broken thing. The horrors of which I was witness too during the war, the evils I witnessed inflicted upon our beautiful Coventry by men of… men too horrid to mention… God, I wish I had the words to accurately elucidate what it was that I had seen… but it was a horror far beyond that of words.”

Coventry? Subject to a Harrying? On whose order?

“My lady,” the man interjected. “Your Coventry needs you. She needs you now more than ever. She is in need of hope. Can you hear her calling?”

Send me, said Godiva. Send me there.

“My Lady, you do us the greatest of honours!” and he bowed slightly, with a smile wide and kind. “But if you please, there is one last thing, if I might be so rude as to inquire…” and his eyes were now greedy, full of lust and wonder. Had this, perhaps, been what he had been searching for all along? 

“Where was it? Where had you been before you were brought here?”

She calmed.

I had been beside a vast shore, looking out over a sweeping ocean, an ocean without end, she said and a smile crept across her lips. I had walked the halls of a great library, one somammoth that I would never pass the same room twice. And I had been in an orchard, full of the most beautiful apple trees, beneath the clearest sky I had ever witnessed.

A single tear ran down her cheek.

The feather. I had watched the feather fall.

*

I wake at 5.20am for the long walk to work. It is bitterly, bitterly cold. In the hazy mist of waking, I’m almost sure I hear a single gunshot echo out there in the gloom of the shooting range but I decide I must be dreaming.

It’s only 5.20am.

I stumble to my feet and I rub at my eyes, I stifle a yawn, I scratch at my balls. I’ve decided that I’m already having a bad day and it’s only fifty-two seconds old. My phone alarm is flashing and vibrating on the other side of the room, making a real show of it; treating the entire house to its strange, disjointed screech. Jolene begins to stir as I lurch through the darkness, follow the light, and switch it off. “Sorry, beautiful.”

It’s 5.23am. Somehow, somewhere, I have lost three minutes.

I slowly pull on my uniform, put on my watch, gather up my inhaler, my keys, my phone and my wallet, remembering to take my pills, and open the bedroom door where I take a left into the bathroom and relieve myself. I catch a glance at my reflection before I brush my teeth, throw some water over my face and take the stairs down into the living room where I find Tigger licking at his asshole.

He seems entirely nonplussed at my presence.

It’s 5.27am.

I’m in the kitchen. As I’m switching on the kettle and packing up my lunch I take a moment to dream of a lie-in before I realising that Tigger has followed me in. He halfheartedly scratches at the backdoor and mewls but when I move to open it he slowly turns away and strolls back into the living room with a bored yawn, having now reminded me who is actually in charge around here.

I drink a coffee, smoke a cigarette and I listen to the birds as they begin to wake. They sing a song for me as the sun begins its slow crawl over the horizon.

It is 6.03am.

I kiss Jolene on the forehead and I tell her that I love her.

I step out the house to find The Cofa’s Tree waiting. 

I fall into infinity.

*

Godiva had found herself far from home, in a landscape of dread, of strange buildings reaching toward a starless sky, of lamps lit without the aid of a flame, of horseless carts screaming to halt before her, blasting a cacophony of noise and reeking vile gases; the people of Coventry had staggered from their buildings, leaving behind odd lights and the pounding of countless drums, many of the people nearly as naked as she, lifting their odd tools that flashed a brilliant white as they shouted and screamed in the strangest of tongues, laughing and hooting and joshing for space amongst a rapidly gathering horde.

The cool winds chilled her naked skin and she fought back a sob.

The gentleman beneath the world had not been wrong, what had happened to her home had been the work of the blackest of devils.

Two screaming horse-carts appeared on the horizon, gaining on her quickly, their roofs flashing the very colour of the summer sky.

Run, I must run!

And holding herself close to her stallion, she fled further into this Hell.

           Hell

                               had

come

                                        to

         Coventry.

*

I was with her again, sweet Coventry, in that vast and impossible place hidden beneath the world.

Having had the time to weigh on my last experience here had made it all the more terrifying, for this was a place not of the natural world, or of any other world; it was a place beyond worlds, a place beyond the like of time and space and fact and fiction, a place that spat in the face of human existence, a mockery of all our petty laws, morals and wisdom we had spent a millennia procuring.

Coventry contemplated me for a moment, as if unsure on how to proceed. She seemed to glisten in the darkness as her visage shifted between that of the girl I had met on my first visit here, with her wedding dress still tattered and her face still awash with an unknowable sadness; to that of the city itself, past, present and future crashing together like rock and the ocean waves; and of that of an ancient tree, so crooked and bulbous yet teeming with life.

I felt that she had gone easy on me the last time.

She was now showing her true face.

Godgifu, she said, and I found myself stood upon a long dirt track which trailed amongst a small hamlet of dwellings. The track was deserted, save for the occasional chicken pecking at my feet and the cawing of a crow, and the smell of manure hung heavily in the air. My entire body was a tremble, almost swallowed by the sensation of euphoria. “I – we’ve been here before.” I glanced at Coventry. “This is the beginning, isn’t it? This is where it all began.”

She smiled.

It was the most beautiful spring day, only a small smattering of clouds scattered about a vivid blue sky. The scent of fresh flowers and a vivid incense rode in on the breeze as we continued to amble amongst the growing settlement, soon following the growing sound of laughter and song, with the harp and drum and pipe seeming to dance upon the beams of sun light, the air vibrating with an inexplicable anticipation.

We came upon The Cofa’s Tree, proud and sacred amongst the blooming meadow with her townsfolk capering about her, waiting for their Queen and the renewal of spring.

Godgifu had soon arrived upon a pale horse, a sleeveless white garment hung upon her shoulders and a crown of wild flowers nestled in her golden hair. She rode through a crowd left awed into silence, the only sound the slight breeze rustling through the branches of the ancient Cofa’s Tree, which towered above us all.

Godiva, the woman of who I had known of since the dawn of childhood, the woman famed across our city and beyond for her great act of courage in the face of a tyrant, that woman rode on past me before gently stepping from her horse and onto Cofa’s crooked roots.

“Fuck,” I said. “Holy living fuck. That’s Lady Godiva. Jesus fuck.”

Coventry took me by the hand, leading me through the silent townspeople as so to hear the Countess Godgifu’s words as she welcomed the coming of spring.

*

This is a version of the truth.

Yet, no truth is absolute.

Reality, we should well of learnt by now, does not work that way.

*

Coventry and I now stood in that place below the world again and when she spoke, she spoke with the echoes of eternity. You must help her. She is far from home.

And I would often gain a certain confidence whilst down there in that impossible darkness, a confidence I could daren’t have imagined in the real world, so I said, “What can I do?”

*

I found Godgifu out on The Black Pad, hidden amongst dog shit and shopping trolleys and burnt-out cars. She was huddled up for warmth beneath a discarded mattress as her horse gorged on the wild grass just beyond, far from home. The sky was a dirty grey and the rain came down in fine icy mist.

It was the saddest thing that I had ever seen.

I approached with caution. “My Lady, I have been sent to help you,” I said, whilst slowly leaning down beside her. I offered her some clothes, wrapped up tight in a Tesco bag. “You must be cold.”

Hell, she said in her ancient tongue. Dragged into Hell.

“This isn’t Hell, my Lady. It’s Potters Green.” I emphasised our surroundings with a gesture of my arm. “This is what the future looks like and you have every right to be disappointed.”

Seeing her there, cowering in the darkness, made me realise I had written myself into this story to save her and to save the innocence and the magic of a world at great risk of losing both, and it was then, as I watched her sob beneath that sodden mattress, when I felt terrified that I had failed. I failed her and failed this city. “What brought you here, my Lady? How was this even possible?”

Godgifu pulled her newfound clothing about herself tightly. I met a man, a man below the world; he spoke of war, horrific acts inflicted upon Coventry, the people hopeless and broken… help, he only wanted my help.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I’m so sorry. For everything. I… I saw you at The Cofa’s Tree – you, your people, you were celebrating the coming of spring, I think. It was a such beautiful moment, a moment that should have been captured in time, like amber, but – but something got lost along the way and the story changed and then reality changed with it.

I sighed. “That’s all reality is, I guess. The stories which we tell ourselves.

“Come, My Lady,” I offered her my hand. “I know someone who can take you home.”

Godgifu smiled as she turned and led her horse toward me. Before I appeared here, I was in the orchards and I saw something… odd. A feather falling from an empty sky. What does that mean?

“Lady, you are asking the wrong person.”

*

Mr. Bassett-Green had arrived at his deathbed having never lived to see Godiva’s return to his beloved Coventry. All of the work in which he and his partners had invested had come to so much nothing.

The Lady had arrived in Anno Domini 2015.

Another prank, courtesy of The Cosmic Joker.

But he had held on to those few precious words that she had told him there below the world, in that strange place where time has no power, and he thought of those words often, of the mammoth library and the beautiful apple trees, and of the epic shores of Heaven, until to his dying breath.

It was a good death.

This, of course, would have depended on it having been Heaven of which Godifu spoke of. But yet, does it even matter?

I mean, we all write our own story, don’t we?

*

An ending is easy to find. Everyone gets one. You may not get everything that you might want in an ending but, sure enough, it will always be there, waiting, patiently, just around the corner.

LISTENING: Cantus Orbis: Some Examples of Medieval Drone – Vol.1, By Michael Tanner.

READING: An Emporium of Automata, by D P Watt.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Lady Godiva Strikes Again!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s