Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PROLOGUE FOR THE SILVERDALE VILLAGE PLAYERS: EASTER 1924, by GORDON BOTTOMLEY



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PROLOGUE FOR THE SILVERDALE VILLAGE PLAYERS: EASTER 1924, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Neighbours, to-night we come once more
Last Line: As of that iceland where they befell.
Subject(s): Actors & Actresses; Actresses


NEIGHBOURS, to-night we come once more
In this our home beside the shore
To turn ourselves to other men
And other women once again,
And for a passing hour or so
Make ourselves not the folk you know
But strangers come from other places
Or other times or other races
To please you with old tales and new
Of things that men and women do
In every place and every time.
And, as we make believe and mime,
Beneath the fun and passion and glow
Of human doings we seek to shew
Something of life's significance
And vivid import, and enhance
The surface of life's happenings
With hints of more abiding things.

If you should meet me any day
Outside, you'ld nod and smile and say
"That's Margaret Procter from Knowe Hill."
But now I am not she; my will
And thoughts and this Spring nightfall dark
Have changed me to a woman stark,
Proud, fierce and born of fighting kin,
Who suddenly finds herself hemmed in
By death, revenge and treachery,
Greed and affection, for you to see:
My name is Vigdis, and you must know
In Iceland a thousand years ago
My dwelling is. And, if you ask
Why we have laboured at the task
Of shewing you such a far-fetched thing,
I have to say that when a King
First mastered Norway the beaten lords
Of Norway took their ships and swords
And, leaving their lands for evermore,
Sailed to many a distant shore --
Iceland and Scotland and, at the last,
On to the Isle of Man and past
Walney and Fouldrey until, men say,
Their last ships sailed up Morecambe Bay;
And the first men who tilled our soil
And built them homes with love and toil
Out of our oaks and dear grey stone
Were Norway men, exiled and lone.
So, as you watch us, you may dream
That people such as now we seem
Once lived in Silverdale; and know
That once, a thousand years ago,
Women like Vigdis in clothes like mine
Walked on Knowe Hill to watch the shine
Of the far tide (as I do now),
Or warded a ship with dragon prow
Laid up for Winter at The Cove;
When such events of hate and love
As those now waiting to begin
Behind this curtain might have been
Told of our Silverdale as well
As of that Iceland where they befell.





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