July 4th, 2009


Hymn to the Soup Kitchen

The last song that I wrote was almost seven years ago.  It was a piece in praise of Calontir's Waterbearers, and by extension, the Waterbearers throughout the Knowne World.  It may be viewed at Katriana's site:

It struck me that my next song topic was ordained.  I needed to give equal, and equally deserved, praise to the Calontir Soup Kitchen.  For decades they have provided us with nourishment after battle, causing us to spend our after-battle hours in communal lolling about in the Royal Pavillion.  This time shared, by both novice and greybeard, is one of the building-blocks of Calontir's culture.

I came up with the first line.  "This cup of gold broth is our army's Communion."  Then I was stuck.  I realized I had written something powerful and true, requiring the rest of the song to match the intensity.  It only took another five years or so to finish.  I worked on lines, images, phrases.  Various scraps of paper and restaurant placemats attest to a number of false starts. 

On the way to Lilies, I turned off the radio, and started to work.  All the brewing that had occured in my head over the past years caused the verses to flow out quickly.  It took less fewer than 150 miles to complete.

At site, I contacted akitrom  , who had previously agreed to help produce a four part choral arrangement.
He transcribed the melody, and then passed it on to Lady Kasha.  The manuscript of the arrangement was then entrusted to Lady Miriam Gabrielis, who took time from her war to convert the arrangement into a machine readable form.  All that remained for me was a trip to the Abbey of the Monks of Saint Kinkos to get copies of the music into the hands of a choir that was convened each day at noon.  They rehearsed my piece and presented it Friday night before the fireworks. 

Mathurin recorded the piece and has posted it at :

Already the song has been well accepted, and even in its "bardic setting" (where I, as a bass/baritone, sing the melody) multiple harmonies are developing.  I am thrilled with this.

My thanks to all who helped bring the song thusfar, but more importantly, my thanks to the Soup Kitchen.

You have restored my strength time after time. 
You have provided a chance for shieldbrothers and spearsisters to regale each others with tales of the glory gained. 
The anticipation of your waiting delicacies make the march home a triumphal procession, regardless of the results on the field.
You have made the Calontir Army the envy of the Known World.
You have made my shoulder companions true companions, in the ancient sense of "those with whom one shares bread". 

While it is only right that I name Finola, the genetrix of the Soup Kitchen and Mother of the Army, it is to honor all who work for the benefit of the Falcon Host that I wrote this song.

                     Hymn for the Soup Kitchen
                      ---Andrixos Seljukroctonis

Three times through year's cycle we take pilgrim's journey
To warfields made holy by our grandfathers' deeds.
Not for ransoms, nor glory, nor the thrill of the tourney,
While Crusading we follow where the Calon Cross leads.

           This cup of gold broth is our army's Communion,
           Shared with sword brother after fighting fierce foe.
           This Falcon's Cathedral is Our Royal Pavilion,
           Where we gather hymn-singing as to war's fray we go.

Good biscuits sustain us; the host of our warhost,
As we gather for Matins, roused by trumpet's harsh tone.
We prepare for war's high Mass, that office we love most.
No one wearing a Falcon shall worship alone.

Some are kneeling as prayerful, beneath fresh raised altar
The bishops behind them with croziers held high.
With strong faith in each other we let no brother falter.
And rich off'rings brought forward bring a tear to our eye.

With the service concluded, we share greatest treasure.
Sermons are preached on the deeds of dear friends.
The fellowship's joys are a wealth beyond measure.
We thank now Finola and the soup that she sends.