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Saturday, 24 November 2012

Umbrella

The Reverend Thomas Hardy spreads his arms as wide as they will go, palms turned to heaven, to announce his theme.
The rain falls evenhandedly on the righteous and unrighteous,
he begins, then fixes them with his blood-curdling stare
but far more often on the righteous, the unrighteous having stolen their umbrellas.
He does not laugh, for it is such an ancient joke. Indeed, The Reverend Thomas Hardy does not laugh. Full stop. In truth, it would be difficult to imagine The Reverend Thomas Hardy laughing. Some matronly ladies in the pews beneath the pulpit - his fan club - titter. Further to the back of the church the congregation tuts and whispers. It matters not, The Reverend Thomas Hardy rolls on remorselessly.

Meanwhile, not a million miles away, The Reverend Goronwy Jones, having just completed a dramatic prowl of his huge pulpit like a lion around its enclosure, now hangs across the polished wooden balustrade towards the congregation. He is locked in prayer extemporaire.
Oh, Almighty God, intones said Reverend Goronwy Jones, we do praise and thank Thee for all Thy great benevolence towards us and to all of Thy Creation. We thank Thee too, O Father that Thou art all-wise, dispensing only what is needful to Thy Kingdom here on earth, for Thou has sent in season, the sun to ripen and the rain to water fruit and grain. But Lord, there have been times of late, when flood and lack of faith have tempted us to doubt the workings of Thy wisdom, but when in such inclement weather I feel myself sore tempted, then do I recall the time when long ago Thou didst choose a servant from among us and didst lead said servant to invent the umbrella. We do thank thee Lord for that Divine initiative, for rendering to us all that Thou didst see Thy servants might require.
Some where between the two of them (geographically speaking) we find Henry Miles II. He his talking to his class of Sunday Scholars. An umbrella word or phrase, he is explaining, is used to include a disparate group of objects or ideas in a single reference. You might want to find a term for a wide variety of plants, for example. Or politicians. Religions. He sets them a five minute task to invent an umbrella term. They come up with Parasol, extreme, cuckoo thorny and wet.

Just about this time Mrs Goronwy Jones is visiting her aunt. She has taken a wrong turning and has found herself high up on an exposed ridge at the top of the town. The town is in the middle of a downpour and it is blowing a gale. In fact, it has just turned Mrs Geronwy's umbrella inside-out. Most people would find this a stroke of malfortune, but Mrs Geronwy Jones realises that she has been led to this spot by the spirit, for she is right outside a shop that is displaying in its ample window space its newly patented Unreturnable Umbrellas. So are the faithful faithfully rewarded in this life.
................................................................

This week Mary at Poetry Jam invites us to write, choosing as title the title of a best selling book.

19 comments:

Ygraine said...

Wonderful...just wonderful!
I appears the faithful are indeed 'faithfully rewarded in this life!' :)

Daydreamertoo said...

What a really gripping read. I was hooked. The characters were all so real. I could see them all, even the ladies (fan club at the front) tittering.
Ab Fab Dave.

ManicDdaily said...

So funny, Dave - I have to say I like the Reverend Thomas Hardy the best as I can just imagine his restrained pompousness and the Reverend Jones' too--

But all parts are very amusing. How we are moved by the Spirit! And Rain. k.

Brian Miller said...

ha everything happens for a reason does it not? smiles....def enjoyed the read man...nice change of pace after reading other PJ entries

JANU said...

This is a wonderful take on the title. Wonderful read. Thought it was a sermon at first...nicely surprised.

Carl said...

Dave again you have painted such vivid portraits. I totally enjoyed this.

Mary said...

Ah, this was fun, Dave! An umbrella can indeed take a reader on an interesting journey and teach a multitude of lessons along the way. I think I would nod off after a while listening to a few of those preachers though...LOL.

sreeja harikrishnan said...

A very interesting read... enjoyed it
How well you created a very flowing piece from this one word....great... and yes the philosophy here is very interesting.

Loredana Donovan said...

An umbrella can be a metaphor for so many things--hope, faith. I love the spirituality in this and the humor. Well done. Thank you for your nice comment on my blog :)

Ash said...

This is brilliant!

wordcoaster said...

Loved this; what an interesting assortment of stories all brought together in one umbrella of a poem :)

my heart's love songs said...

what a delightful read! i love the way you flowed seamlessly from one vignette to another. brilliant take on the prompt!

thanks for joining in at Poetry Jam!

Sue J said...

I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you.

Heaven said...

Another interesting story Dave ~ I rather like the sermon ..or rather the fate of umbrellas and being exactly where we are supposed to be ~

Have a good weekend ~

Peggy said...

I enjoyed the "umbrella-ed" stories here. A lot of work in this poem I think. Write on!

Karen said...

You've created (or transported me, anyway) to a whole world in this story! Great, interesting and fun read!

Dave King said...

Thank you all so much for all your kind and very encouraging responses. As always your words are highly motivating and much appreciated. There are nearly always observations that I had not quite expected, and these to me are like finding nuggets of gold. I found this to be especially so for your replies here.

I must give a special welcome and thank you to those who are commenting - and maybe visiting - for the first time. It is good to have your company.

Thank you all again, it's great to be associated with you all.

A Cuban In London said...

Marvellous. Simply marvellous. I can just picture Reverend Hardy with thick and long sideburns. Because he had sideburns, right, Dave? :-) Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Helen said...

Hard to imagine the Reverend Thomas Hardy having a fan club!

(where do I sign up?)

One of your finest, Dave.