Motley Feudal Ties


I’ve come to love the silence.  Sheer silence follows the baying and bloodshed of the hunt, which makes a trampled cacophony of what the forest was born for.  The inescapable baying and the riotous bloodshed follow a frantic chase into oblivion and delight.  The inexhaustible chase follows closely all the paths and dimensions of mockery, I feel, although I could be wrong.

But if mockery creeps in then it creeps alongside the procession and paraphernalia of horses and hounds.  The proud trotting of the horses and the salivating of the hounds follows the donning of red, tightly buttoned-up with gleaming brass.  The fashion statement follows the unfathomable rise of etiquette.  Etiquette follows education and the glorious stay at Eton.  The little masters’ rifling alma mater is carved from mucky stone identical to the teetering stately homes, stained by tall chimneys and shown-up by chandeliers.  Their glittery crystals follow the sparkling, slimy design of sugar, sailing in from plantations.  The planter aristocracy follows after the money and money follows slavery, like hounds chase a bitch in heat.

Slaves, like emperors, are the offspring of empires – they lay kicking in the colonial womb.  The rationale for those colonies of ours follows on from the discovery that “god is an Englishman.”  And god’s Englishness blooms, mysteriously, from the sleight-of-hand announcement that our creator was made in man’s image, or vice versa.

But I digress.

This unchartered silence I’ve come to love so much… it cloaks all that dense sense of history and progress under tall, majestic canopies of leaves; these slowly begin hissing insults from the side-lines.  I applaud.  I taught them those insults.

Then silence pervades the forest again as slaughtered stags are dragged off to have their antlers mounted as trophies or hat-racks on custodial walls.  Generations of atrophied heads nod an acknowledgement of the ornament and sport.  I watch them pass down the long corridors like mammalian germs in hard arteries.  Yes, gazing in, endlessly, through ornate windows, stood sentinel by the family mausoleum, I swear by my deep roots that I will suck dry their noxious entrails before long.


This story was written in response to the yeah write challenge #179 – The following sentence must be the FIRST line in your submission: “I’ve come to love the silence.” You must also include a reference to the media prompt.  The other stories in the link-up can be read by clicking the image below.


26 thoughts on “Motley Feudal Ties

  1. Hi Blake!,
    This one is so powerful… As I read it along I could feel the darkness of the Middle Age and its social injustices…
    I particularly enjoyed your images and descriptions around the idea of silence, which might be related with hermetism, mostly regarding knowledge as it was handled just by a few ones…
    These lines stand out!:
    …”All that dense sense of history and progress under tall, majestic canopies of leaves; these slowly begin hissing insults from the side-lines. I applaud. I taught them those insults”…
    Thank you very much for sharing. I truly liked it!.
    Best wishes, Aquileana 😀

    • Dear Aquileana,
      Yes, this is very much about a cabal of wealth and power throughout the ages – so, when you add the theme of silence, it does lead you to hermetic ideas, which I hadn’t thought of at all as I wrote the piece.
      It’s always nice when someone points out an element in your writing that you’d overlooked 🙂 So, thanks for that!

  2. Rooting for the tree, oh yes, indeed: “I swear by my deep roots that I will suck dry their noxious entrails before long.” For what does all this cruel pomp and circumstance mean to a tree? And the passage on slavery — yowch! Same deal, whether it’s sugar or tobacco or cotton.

    Another great read — how I look forward to your posts!

    • Oh that’s nice because I always look forward to catching up on your posts, too. Ah the warm glow of a mutual appreciation society!

      …Then again, in the spirit of Groucho Marx, I’m not sure I’d ever want to belong to a society that would have me as a member, y’know 😉

  3. I really like that you start with the hunt, then flow from one related thought to the next, always returning to hunt references. The flow between different aspects of the privileged in history, and the description of the silence as cloaking history (“dense sense of history and progress” is beautiful language!) “under tall, majestic canopies of leaves,” is such a powerful comment on the ways of the world, rendered all the more forceful through your poetic – almost lyrical – subtlety. Stunning, as always.

    • Oh that’s very high praise, thanks 🙂 And yes, I needed to have a lyrical element here since there’s no real plot, as such; so the language had to provide the logic of how the piece develops.

  4. I felt my pulse quicken as I read this. It has a definite march to it as it attacks on many fronts. Interesting and captivating!

    *waves ‘Hello’ from one of the colonies* 😉

    • I like the idea of the story having a “march to it” – I think that’s what I was aiming for, even though I hadn’t found that term as I worked on it. So, thanks for providing me with right term 😉

      And a wave back over the pond!

    • “Zowie” – good word, that. Although hardly a fit name for a child, so I’m not sure what David Bowie was thinking when he gave his boy that name, tsk!

      Thanks 🙂

  5. There’s a violence and horror to this piece that comes from the voice that I find fascinating, Sue. There’s no imagery of war: there’s the dogs hunting, the soldier’s uniforms, the bloodied stags. The image of the tree looking in the window of the stately home to see the severed heads of animals on the wall nodding in agreement is absolutely chilling.

    • Thanks, Nate. Yes, everything needed to relate directly to what the tree might actually witness and yet spiral out from that. So. I’m glad to hear it created a suitable atmosphere.

  6. Wow. The genealogy of things begetting things is fabulous. I love the narrator’s matter-of-fact but increasingly hyperbolic descriptions. I’m not even sure what I’ve read — what happened here? It doesn’t matter. The language is everything. Just slyly gorgeous stuff, Blake.

    • I hope my comment didn’t make it sound like I didn’t understand or see a story here. I was trying to emphasize the poetic power. In fact, I loved this so much I voted for it. ❤

      • Oh, not at all. Your comment makes absolute sense since I never thought of this as a “story” as such – there’s no real plot but rather a chain of images (a “genealogy of things begetting things”). I had the feeling that trees would think in quite a linear fashion because thought processes are prescribed by how we physically perceive the world, i.e. leaves follow twigs follow branches follow trunks follow roots.

        As a side-note, I voted for “Mercy”, which I thought was flawless in tone and execution – plus I really enjoyed it 🙂

  7. The way that you write, your word placement and stylistic flourishes, make me slow down and savor each piece, when I’m typically a speed reader. I loved this, loved the story you told, and that last line was a knockout.

    • Well, I’m very much like you in that regard – especially when I read online posts I realise that I’m genuinely enjoying something once I find myself slowing down in my reading. So, it’s nice to hear that you were tempted to slow up a bit 🙂

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