Confessions – Maeve

| March 22, 2021

Maeve is a barmaid, in the Hagen’s Arms Hotel. Maeve? Maeve is perhaps a dream.

Amongst the great foment of hilarity, jousting, the turbulent spew of fictions roused in that quaint bricked space, Maeve is the quiet of some wayside stream. She is wisps of strawberry blonde on clear blue eyes, upon pale flushed skin. She is the maid of a bygone time, etching menu in chalk on board, at no pace, no pace at all.

It is hard to catch eyes so softly glistening, suffusing past into an elusive idyll. Maeve smiles, talks, pours. She latches on some titillating snippet, and then? She is gone.

In timeless space a simple maiden, face, arms lit porcelain by quiet light sifting glass, she pours from a pitcher. She pours ale, into dream.

And so into dream, into dream I see, I hear. I hear this growing thunder.

A thousand beasts tramp through forest, dark, into the soiled green fields of reckoning. A Norman cavalry surges to launch its final kill. From the day strewn long, with ambit, valor, anguish, sore chipped hooves trample over a penultimate tally. There is only this cacophony, this thud of mud and blood.

The Saxons, on high ground, will they break rank again? For that would be their final undoing. And for what, for what?

Embedded in the line a callow youth touches hand on breastplate, utters a name. Such a fair face, this fine young Celt cast in armor, a weave of steel, a wall. Will it hold, this mortar, this fabric of frail flesh? Will it hold? Will it give he of the moist blue eyes, quivering pink pout, the soft amber fuzz?

The line of shields tenses. An ancient curdle comes, galloping up the slope. Spears and maces come crashing, smashing upon maddened roars, bloodcurdling cries, thrashing upon metal, mashing flesh. Chainmail slithers, emits a gurgling grown.

A succession of flailing fails, falls, and the line breaks. Bodies over bodies clamber. Saxons scramble over shattered arrows, broken spears, silent swords. From the final exaction grown men scarper, perhaps nevermore to see a mother, a lover.

King William, in silent carriage, lays vanquished. Harold soars, victorious, over a sea of blood, this quiet incarnadine field. And now comes the snow, mute, white on red.

Who is missed, who is missed?

In the middle of that pasture stands a lone oak tree. There, in myth embedded, she sits in limbs, soaring, towards a sky serene. Who is this plaintive maiden, tear on pale cheek, the strawberry tresses drooping, her blue eyes glistening? All day long she is weaving, weaving for a face of no trace at all. O weave us your soothing softness, beneath this indifferent blue. O weave us your garland, your innocent rosary of poppy.

Maeve smiles, talks, pours. She is draped in a rich embroidery, rouge on white lace, just a pallid hand fetching ale, at no pace, no pace at all. Face lit ethereal, by light from yonder frame, she pours from a gleaming pitcher. She pours water, water, water into wine. And so, drinking deep, I see. I see, would that I might not.

The lofty Luftwaffe lays unto London, its bitter burden, its bombs, its bombs of brute ambition, its bombs upon valor, its bombs to wreak anguish.

A young girl, a blonde, wan waif, she will not stop crying. Blood on tattered cloth, on frail hands, smeared on ginger freckles, it is not hers. Yet she will not stop crying, just will not stop. Tender arms cradle her inconsolable anguish, amidst the groans of the grown and those that dourly tend. Another makeshift hospice, another bitter burden.

The bombers have left, left behind this relentless grey, sky, ruins, ashen faces. Scouts emerge, sift piles of rubble, bleak brick and mortar. Shout after shout, they pull aside the broken edifice, searching for the flesh. And the young girl, orphan, she just will not stop crying, just will not stop.

Now everyone stops, listening, for but one thing. But not for the plea of the broken. There is a buzz in the sky, a drone, the pestilent drone of war. It comes close, closer. Eyes search eyes, search smokey skies. And now there is but one stark sound, that of a young girl crying.

The nurse starts singing, a lilting lullaby. But a few scant lines, but a few scant lines. Finally, the girl lays head to that bosom draped with strawberry locks, guarded by glistening eyes. The world is silent, a world awaits. But there is only song, to hold. There is only song to hold.

Maeve raises a smile, sings, pours to the wounded. She is the maid of the quiet skies, etching calm for a child, at no pace, no pace at all. Yet I see her, face now wan, fetching for the light, for that crossed, glimmering glass. Her pale arm stretches to clasp a gleaming pitcher. And now she pours, pours liquid, pours tears into laughter.

And so I drink deep, deeper, to hear music, music, soft music in the fields.

A great multitude of dreamers has gathered on this road to nowhere. By the time they reach the music they are half a million strong, and everything is joy and celebration. So drunk are on life, love are they, like one immense kiss mad to be born for delusion. And so they dream that all those bombers, riding shotgun in the sky, they will turn to butterflies gliding high above our nation. Our nation?

Is the chaste world for this abandon, this dulled consuming revelry, this bawdy carnival, prancing drunk, splattered, muddied, beneath some star spangled banner?

In the glass-bottom now I see, dreams mad to gnash on flesh, to in the end bite dust.

In a stream, by a brook, I hear a songbird sing. And her milky arms rising, from this festoon of strawberry tresses, hold a young girl aloft, high toward the sun. Shroud in gleaming blonde, a freckled face beams, mirrors that chaste glaze. And the mother’s glistening eyes sing, Azure, forever Azure, source of the sun.

The girl’s eyes implore. Her father, a quiet aesthete of vision obscure, puts quivering pink pout, soft ginger down to the child lips. And, with one kiss he whispers, whispers: Soft you, fair child, in your eyes’ horizons may all be forgotten, forgotten.

And so might I lay down on some innocent unheralded tartan, in a field ever green. Let my eyes be suffused, with blue, forever blue.

On the bar stands an empty pitcher, glistening, glistening.

Maeve is a barmaid, in the Hagen’s Arms Hotel.

For the mythical Maeve, slayer and saviour.

And for that most chaste aesthete, Jan.




  1. Alan Stevenson

    Alan Stevenson

    March 23, 2021 at 9:35 am

    That is one of the most beautiful entries I have ever read. Thank you.

    • Warren Brown

      Warren Brown

      April 2, 2021 at 3:10 pm

      Mark, I agree with Alan S, this perhaps your best post to date, I could willingly enter Maeve’s dream world. Thank you.