Prologue for the Silverdale Village Players: Easter 1924

Prologue for the Silverdale Village Players: Easter 1924 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'd 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. - Gordon Bottomley (1874-1948)

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