The Stranger is a Friend you Have not Met




The armoured knights of 15th-century war

Were pretty well protected against arrows

Swords, pikes and lances, slingshots, dangerous dogs

Heavy hailstones and wandering wheelbarrows.


Unhorsed, they could be in a spot of bother

Being unable to get up again; moreover

While in their specialist gear, unlike the rank

And file, if moved, they could not get a legover,


Preserving thus the chastity of the knight.

This specialisation seemed extremely wise

Until the musket and the cannon came.

Today we’re trained to think of clear blue skies;


Sometimes the distant skies are yellow-brown

Or purplish-black: on blue we shouldn’t bet;

While welcoming the strange, remember this:

The strangler is a fiend you have not met.


I’m told the noticeboard of the Society of Friends (Quakers) in Cambridge used to be regularly amended by unknown hand to read: Society of Fiends.


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