I post this as one of my Halloween posts for this year.
This is a fable in verse I wrote about one of the characters in some of my novels (The Other World). He is called The Lord of Tables because he keeps a stronghold in which no war or discord is allowed and he freely fetes and entertains many (from his seemingly inexhaustible stores), even those who are notorious and devotedly sworn enemies of one another.
His home seems a place of sanctuary and feasting and goodwill, and indeed it is, but underneath it all the Lord of Tables is engaged in a long-flowering and on-going Act of Justice which will one day break forth in a terrible setting to rights of all of the wrongs that have ever come to his notice.
The Lord of Tables is called such by others because they see him as a “table-maker,” a man of great hospitality. He calls himself the Lord of Tables because to him the title is a metaphor implying basically the same thing as the Scales of Justice. And one day the Lord of Tables hopes to “turn the tables” and therefore achieve his true end.
The poem below, which the Lord of Tables wrote himself about himself (actually I wrote it, of course, but in the book he writes it about himself), is designed to be either recited or sung at the various feasts which he hosts.
It seems a very innocuous and innocent poem/song until you know his actual and real intent. Then almost every line is “spiced and seasoned” with an underlying and very ominous meaning. The song is in truth not a recounting in verse of what is happening at the moment, but is actually a poetic prophecy of things to come.
The poem is therefore a coded warning of the Lord’s future and truer intentions.
The Lord of Tables is a very accomplished poet and minstrel in his own right, but thinks of himself first and foremost as an instrument of long-delayed Justice, while others think of him merely as a generous and compliant and diplomatic King and peace-maker.
The Lord of Tables never recites or sings the last 4 stanzas of his Song, he only ever sings or allows to be sung the first 8 stanzas of his Song to those he fetes and feasts. He has never sung or recited the last four stanzas to anyone; he keeps those in secret reserve for his Day of Justice.
One day however, when the time is right, he shall gather all of his guests together in his “Hording Halls” and sing the last four stanzas of his Lay.
Then he shall lay on thick and bloody with Justice, and many will eat their fill and far more than their appetite can withstand.
THE LORD OF TABLES
I spice my ales, I spice my wine
My bread I make with honeyed rhymes
I spice my beer with mint and thyme
My meat I sauce with sweets and brine
My greens I grow to touch the sky
My fruit trees flower day and night
My soups on fires boil to heights
That feed my foes to my ally
My table it is amply lain
With treats aplenty, lack allayed
Desire too is swift arrayed
Then conquered there ‘til naught remain
My drink it quenches every thirst
As all who taste it will confer
Seasoned as the guest prefers
So potent that the skins will burst
My grapes are sharp, both strong and tart
My vineyards yield without regard
No dearth grows there, no discard
Nothing lost or set apart
My cheeses mellow in their vault
Their taste like silvered dewdrops wrought
Their ken and kine both dearly bought
I treasure them against assault
Some come to feast where I make keep
I gather them in halls to heed
That none may hunger or know need
A Hoard of Plenty, high and steep
Some though come to me to fast
I serve them true as they have asked
Yet seeing all the goods that bask
Upon my table wont won’t last…
Songs are sung as men do fête
Contests fair of measured state
Marque these men in their estates
To see which evidences fate
Shouts and roars of merriment
Oaths are called, while some are sent
Deep beyond all banishment
To be stored with my consent
Now King I am of fruitful fare
Others think me mild as air
Because I share with no despair
My bounty’s gain without compare
Yet what they know not as I sit
This Lord of Tables none abets
To forget the wrong I’ll set
To right forever – not acquit.