The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Baron Luxon stands by his cauldron.

Victory is close: the sweet aroma of power

drifts tantalisingly through his Mean Damp Rebel Castle.

“Soon,” mutters the Baron,

“I will be in the Grand and Dry Castle of State.

Lo, the Rebel will be Master and the Masters brought low!

But I need some extra juju to make sure.”

The Baron has been up all night for a week,

poring over dark and dusty tomes

of Necromancy and Thaumaturgy.

Into the brackish foulness of his magick broth

He tosses the secret ingredients

Of The Ancient Lords of his Tribe:

Charred ash of the social contract from Emperor Roger,

A crushed and powdered beneficiary from Empress Ruth,

And the small toy race car of Don the Misfortunate.

Cauldron boil and cauldron bubble,

And give the wokesters mighty troubles!

Lo, and from the murk steps an amphibian:

Toad of Seymour,

Warted and clad in nought but magenta woad.

“Fantastic!”, says the Baron.

“Toad Seymour, are you ready to do my bidding?”

But the Toad pays no heed to the Baron

And elbows past him out the door

Where he mingles freely and chats with

The Respectable Middle Classes.

“Wait,” gasps the Baron, “this is all wrong!”

He hastily consults his documentation

But it is already too late.

Toad of Seymour has already reassured

A Mob of the Oppressed and Despondent Bourgeoisie

That in three weeks from his taking office

All of the Raiders of Ram will be sent to the salt mines,

No taxes shall be paid,

And great highways of gold will connect

Their dairy farms, property portfolios and assorted holdings.

The People saith to one another,

“Lo, this Warty Magenta Toad is indeed our Messiah,”

And pay heed no more to the Baron.

Though the Tribe be generally pale,

and aged, and cranky, they hold great stinking piles of loot

which they offer to the Toad.

“No – no!” Cries the Baron.

“I am to be King! The Toad is merely my junior coalition partner!”

But The People have made their decision

And the cries of the Baron are but dry grass in the wind.

“TOAD! TOAD!” The People chant in mindless fervour.

The Baron chases the procession in desperation

But trips on his purple satin gown;

And down into the mud he vanishes

Under the tramping feet of a thousand cheering investors

Who follow their Magenta Messiah

On towards the Grand and Dry Castle of State.

Victor Billot has previously felt moved to write Odes for such luminaries as Chris Hipkins, Christopher Luxon, Tory Whanau, Michael Wood, and Wayne Brown.

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