“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.