Monday, December 11, 2006

The Good Knight Ichabod Rain

[It's been some time since we've heard anything from our unemployed angel in the Third Galaxy and for once it's none of that depressing stuff about Ronald Rexona and the War Zones he established to Protect the First World Peace, thereby nearly destroying that poor world -- and would have had it not been for the intervention of the Alien Veggies. Instead we hear some more details about one of the legendary figures of that time, the Good Knight Ichabod Rain]

Everyone in the Third Galaxy has certainly heard about the Good Knight Ichabod Rain, but there are few reliable accounts.

Usually, those who claim to have met the Good Knight, have not realised it at the time. Then, years later, they think, "O, that must have been the Good Knight!"

But, this puts things almost on the level of "recovered" memories. Is it little wonder therefore, that many question that he ever existed and that he is made of the stuff of legend -- at best a composite picture, a collage of many individuals active during the Troubled Times of Terra.

I myself have my own story:

When I was ten, twelve years old, I was walking with my father in downtown Poosah City. It was a pleasant, early summer evening and the stores were closing or already closed.

Hearing music and song, I became aware of a man standing a ways back from the sidewalk in a storefront entrance. Somehow, he seemed both old and young at the same time. Held by a strap over his shoulders, a guitar rested on his chest, which he was playing it in a way I had never known.

He was singing a song, the words of which I did not grasp. It was the rich baritone of his song carried in the cool of the evening air which caught me -- that, and the twang of the brittle overtones of the guitar. I stopped for a moment, entranced by the garland of entwining tones coming from both human throat and the flesh of a tree.

Beyond the words of the song -- which, as I said before, I do not recall -- beyond the words, hidden in the timbre of his voice, there was another song. A song without words, a song of both sorrow and joy at the same time. A sad song, a mad song and a glad song all at the same time.

My dad though, almost embarrassed it seemed to me, took me by the arm and gently pulled me away -- but it was too late: in that brief moment I had learned that there was something more than the silly songs of the "pop" music which was all we heard on the radio in Poosah City.

It is told that the Buddha, having once seen a cripple, a beggar, a man crippled by age, a corpse silenced by death and, finally, a monk who had renounced the world -- his thirst for truth was awakened and he could no longer be satisfied by the comforting illusions of his father's Palace.

Likewise, once having known that music and song could reveal truth about the reality of life, I was lost. No longer could I enjoy the cleverly crafted, but empty phrases of the songs I had heard all my childhood, my ears glued to the radio, waiting in suspense to hear which "song" had now come to the top of the "top ten" or "top twenty".

I have long forgotten them, both the charts and the words of the silly songs and have spent my life trying to understand the music and magic of the Good Knight Ichabod Rain. I am convinced, that is who I met in that street singer so many years ago.
[Actually, when I think about it, I have to wonder if my unemployed angel isn't just pulling my leg somewhat. If you look at it close, the name Good Knight Ichabod Rain turns into Good Knight I. Rain -- and that morphs into "Good Night, Irene" a folk song I heard when I was a kid back in Poosah City!]

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