‘Legacy’ by Captain B


My father
was bastard son of an emperor
I am
bastard son of an abbot
As he was whisked away and hidden
I grew up on monastery grounds
Nobody except my mother or father
ever talked of my parentage
but it was known to most
and not such a shocking thing
if one knew my father

I called him neither father nor papa
but the word in our language for abbot
like in many other tongues
shares the same etymological root

He was never given anything
by my, i suppose, grandfather
but he put me under his wing
and taught me the brand
that made him unique and famous

It had been no bigger shock to anyone
than him when he was appointed his station
Rogue, eccentric, unpredictable
had made him a character
among (in too many cases)
pious posers
perpetuating pomp, perversion
(secretly of course or so supposed)
and position

Another realm pointed him out
The few who cherished and sought the original way
the impetus and initial version
put him in his post to recall a pure form

Father did not suffer fools
He only pointed when to demonstrate the false
He wrote verse and only sought true
whether that was the delicacy of fresh octopus
(Oh his herbivore contemporaries loved to cite that one)
or the beauty and caress of his most favorite lover
who happened not to be my mother
but a blind and lovely musician
Of course
none are more beautiful than my mother
Father and mother
always remain great friends

But he made sure i worked the fields and orchards
He was also strict about my leaving at a logical age
to roam and explore
sail the seas and discover new lands
excite the palate with new flavors
experience the same or similar ingredients
prepared in different ways
so as to taste
for the first time
as place and sun’s position
altitude or near the sea
who you’re with or without
the language, commotion, or silence
buzzing or humming about you
can all influence anything and everything
greatly and peculiarly

it’s your nature
to the flower

The first time he sent me on my way
he said
See you in five years

I came home for one
then left again for seven
This repeated another time
The last sojourn eight years

When i returned
he didn’t need to tell me
his time was nigh

I would not be named in his place
nor did i want that in the least
In my last absence
he had accepted his greatest
(Aside from me, he said. Though
fathers might say such things)
A former opera star
and whether she has any say or not
an always and forever beauty queen
(Yes, the only one to rival)

She’d long wearied of the high society
the social circles, the beautiful but empty
thus, far from truly beautiful

You do not want to argue with the abbess
If you must question her
be a bit cunning and indirect about it

She does not preach lofty things
enamored by the sound of her own voice
No, that is not our way

Some talk when she can be found
at my side drinking wine from my orchards
and roasting lamb or pheasant or trout
but only on holy days
Yes, holy days

Some nights we sleep in her chambers
just neighboring the main temple
Often we sleep here in the cottage
my old but still spritely mother
in a comfortable but smaller abode
out back

We try to live by my father’s adage
which he didn’t invent
but only tried to relay
and exemplify
from the wisdom of generations

Do no evil
Do much good

He’d laugh
Too easy for you?
Just try it
Of course
Neither, both, and all exist beyond

He loved to laugh, quote, and compose
The Elder sang while drunk
and the other
His nest must have been cold
Old codger!


Captain B. Seafarer. Lover of shore leave. Collector of heads. Disseminator of tales. Twitter: @NPeligeiro