The angels wings sussurated the glory and…
‘Hello? Excuse me.’
Jon Nobble frowned and looked away from his notebook. He’d just released the essence of his muse and he really did not need any sort of interruption to his flow. He peered through the trees at the speaker who was striding towards him. The voice was nasal, reedy yet the man was damn near spherical.
A voice whispered in his ear, echoing his thoughts: An ovoid of disruption approaches …
Jon cursed and told his muse to be quiet. She stomped back into his jacket pocket.
The man had stopped, apparently prevented from reaching Jon because of the close proximity of the tree trunks. He appeared to be turning this way and that to try and find a way through the space yet being symmetrical stymied his attempts. ‘I…won’t… be…’
It was like watching…
That voice again.. a jellied devil forcing its urgings on…
Jon batted the pocket to quiet his muse and was gratified by the yelp, albeit still in iambic pentameter. He’d have to hit harder next time if he wanted her to shut up. The round man’s desperate struggles brought him back to the moment. ‘If you don’t mind me suggesting an alternative, there’s a gap that, er, might be more accommodating.’ He pointed to the man’s left where the trees ended and the glade began. If he just stepped there then he’d be through in moments.
The man was shaking his head vigorously. ‘Oh no. I’m mean I couldn’t possibly. That’s the whole point, isn’t it?’
‘Is it?’ Jon hadn’t a clue what the man meant.
The man stopped pushing and stood back. ‘The glade is spoken for. It mustn’t be sullied.’ He straightened his tunic, a green tweedy ensemble that would have been overpowering on an overdressed two year old celebrating St Patrick’s Day but on a middle aged overweight man might cause well-adjusted retinas to self-detach and apply for a transfer to the ear wax management facility.
Jon watched as the man began to engorge with officious pomposity. His heart sank. This was one of those newly appointed Wood Wardens.
‘Could I see your licence.’ Pause. ‘Sir.’ The smirk was as unmistakable as it was sufficient grounds in any reasonable society to justify homicide.
Jon put his hand over his pocket, desperately trying to hold his muse inside. ‘Licence?’
‘In accordance with section seventeen bee two of the ‘Compositions and other creative activities – glades, clearings and other open woodland spaces, the use of – ordinance’, I, Seraphim Nettlefold are empowered to demand to see…’
‘What licence?’ Jon could feel the hot sarcastic stanzas beginning to dig into his fingers; he’d not be able to stop his muse much longer and if she got out and starting throwing villanelles at this egregious example of the Poetry Police, he’d soon find himself in couplets.
The smirk seemed to have taken control of the official’s mouth and was twisting it into a grotesque parody of a glove puppet who’s just realised what the puppeteer plans to do with his forefinger. ‘Don’t come over all ethereal with me. I saw you. You were composing, weren’t you? What’s on that pad?’
So busy was he controlling the muse, Jon had forgotten his notepad. The constanza’s first line stared accusingly up at both of them. ‘No, no,’ Jon made a grab for the book, ‘I’m a journalist. Commissioned to write a piece about your wonderful wood.’
‘Ha! A journalist. Even I can see it starts “the angels”.’
‘Er, that’s the local football team.’
‘Don’t be silly. They only deal in gratuitous limericks.’ Seraphim felt the first tingling of uncertainty. ‘Don’t they?’
Jon decided to try pleading. ‘Couldn’t I just, sort of, slip away? I mean I’ve barely started.’
‘That wouldn’t do, would it? I mean you’ve seen it, haven’t you? You’ve been inspired. I can see it. Your pectorals have gone all pert. We’ve been trained to spot the signs, you know. If I let you go home having absorbed the glory of the glade when Superintendent Walrus has just granted a permit for the Scrofulous Scribes of St Swindle to spend their lunch hours crafting trite yet touching Paradellic Paeans to the beauty of the bluebells or some metaphorical rendering in haiku form to the priapic budding of the beeches, I’ll be litter picking on the A47 sooner than you can say Tanka Wanka.’
‘So what do you suggest? I can’t be uninspired.’
Seraphim Nettlefold checked no one was in sight and did something with his lips that might have been a grin but could equally well have indicated the onset of an outbreak of viral kidney stones. He eased his portable portmanteau from under his cloak and settled down. ‘I’ll read you some of my works. I penned an epic last night, 421 verses in praise of the portable toilet. Let’s see how you feel after that.’
Jon goggled at the bumptious Beadle. ‘Oh fuck it.’ He took his hand away from his pocket. In an explosion of allegories, allusions and alliteration the small yet oddly rhythmic muse took flight and began to surround the officer with a carapace of vitriolic blank verse.
‘Gerrof you little bugger.’ Seraphim flapped as he might at a colour-blind wasp who thought he’d lucked out on a supersized strawberry.
Jon picked up his stool, slipped his notebook away and turned for the path. He knew his muse would return. She always did eventually. Meanwhile he was feeling a touch Keatsian; he could feel a spring ode coming on.
T his piece is in response to Sue Vincent’s latest #writephoto prompt here