Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The Ballad of Ignatius Browne

Ignatius Browne wore a curious frown,
After taking up gainful employment in town,
But soon he was living in moments of divine distraction,
In a kitchen distinguished for its furious action.

 He’d forget all about his cruel disfigurement,
The way that his fingers would race through time,
He dismissed all knowledge of mortal sentiment,
And gradually all that he served was sublime.

One evening following a faultless service,
He pondered on what he found beautiful in life,
As he strolled he heard music and saw ground-breaking art,
Felt the warmth on his back and saw the face of a wife.

…and a beautiful face…
…Which would not a take a beating…
…Like so many others provoked on first meeting…

But taking a beating was just what she did.

Young Browne was a coward though, and he hid,
From the violent gang that killed his wife,
He hid while they burnt, throttled and raped her,
And hid when they stripped her and ripped her and taped her.

Till one cold winter night long after that event,
By the time that Browne lived out of a tent,
The fiends returned and they got him too,
When he shivered asleep,
He was rudely awakened
By an army of feet,
Which stomped on his face,
While his body they beat.

They left him with nothing, all tatters and blood,
In the ditch by a bush near a stream made of mud.
Till a lone rider passing, looked down on hearing,
The horrible noises which came from the clearing.

“Step up,” said the stranger from on top his steer,
I’ll house and nurse you, my home’s just down here.
Browne with a nod and a grimace complied,
To the farmhouse they went, to the devil they’d ride.

For his saviour was not of the virtuous mind,
But a slave to his pleasures, the unholiest kind,
He travelled the land to seek out any poor,
Unfortunate wretches he’d manage to lure.

On waking, Ignatius, his nightmare he found,
Alone on a table, all naked and bound,
His body laid out, the unprepared meal,
To be seared by the flame or cut by the steel.

As minutes turned to hours and hours into days,
Ignatius endured unimaginable ways,
Under the beady, gleaming eye of his tormentor,
On the surface he softened but beneath it he seethed,
And his instinct got sharper as long as he breathed.

One day faced with only his death or survival
His hand found a blade and his pupil his rival,
 His master came close and Browne took his chance
And speared his tormenter with cold makeshift lance.

But before he escaped and ran into the night,
For an hour he held the dead body in sight,
Blood ran from his hands to the sounds of his cries,
As he carved round the sockets and pulled out the eyes.

The eyes he took with him, from then down the line
In a jar, under arm, all pickled in brine.

He’d watch them and listen to roaches at night,
And only repose when the day became light.
To survive through the day was his singular plan,
Hence man became beast, and the beast was a man.

One night near a ditch by a bush and a stream,
A lady was lost and a person did scream.
They found her alone in the light of the day,
Talking forever but nothing to say.

She spoke of a beast, burnt toe to head,
With scars all bound up with sheep-guts and thread.
It was bald on the crown and the skull was the feature
All scarred and sucked in, it was Lucifer’s creature.

Ignatius had heard her come singing through grass
And thought it his wife come to get him at last.
He rose and she jumped, he did her no wrong,
But he’d never forget the melodious song.

Merely to live was his function no longer,
As desire for the song in him grew all the stronger.
Under cover of darkness, on lolloped Browne,
Until hearing a tune from the tavern in towne.

With eyeballs in jar held firmly to chest,
He burst through the door and we all know the rest.
He snatched up the wench and then made for the pass,
And that was the last that we e’er saw of the lass.

The song turned to terror as he dragged her along,
And all that Browne knew was that something was wrong.
To the ground went the jar as her screams pierced his ears
And he ripped out her tongue as her eyes poured with tears.

Nine days he dragged her to cliff by the ocean,
Where he threw down the body in one sweeping motion.
Then felt his way down to a cave where he sat,
Crunching on crabs and on spiders and bats.

In the darkness he’d feign to make music with stones,
But when none could be heard, he would crush his own bones.
Over years as they’d mend they seemed to grow stronger,
And his legs they grew long, and his arms they grew longer.

At the mouth of his dwelling was a mountain of carcass,
Of faeces and flesh which would stink in the darkness.
He blocked up his nostrils with earth, leaves and sticks,
And his head appeared smaller and his mouth it played tricks.

Now those that go passing within a four hectare square
Would do well to heed this and never go there.
Or end up as one of the many he masters,
For a man can move fast, but Ignatius moves faster.

Of morals this ballad may offer up sone,
Such as some take a beating and most more than one,
To receive one is bad, but to give one is worse,
So beware not to be one who dishes the first,
Or it may simply be that to judge from afar,
Is enough for your soul to end up in a jar.

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