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Reina Franco Jul 10
You left, and that was it.
What happened to the beautiful days?
We were still alright when the sun rose,
What happened when the sun sets?
I’ve been grateful for every day with you,
How can I be grateful now that you’re gone?

You were once my peace,
Now I can’t be at peace.
So many questions left unanswered,
Not a single word, not a chance for goodbye.
I opened my eyes, and that was it.
I didn’t know, but I wish I did.

On my Nadir, I am now to be found.
Regrets, tell me, which one?
Where to go? How to continue?
Today, I bleed and grieve,
And I guess, this is just it.
Truces
by Michael R. Burch

Artur took Cabal, his hound,
and Carwennan, his knife,
and his sword forged by Wayland
and Merlyn, his falcon,
and, saying goodbye to his sons and his wife,
he strode to the Table Rounde.

“Here is my spear, Rhongomyniad,
and here is Wygar that I wear,
and ready for war,
an oath I foreswore
to fight for all that is righteous and fair
from Wales to the towers of Gilead!”

But none could be found to contest him,
for Lancelot had slewn them, forsooth,
so he hastened back home, for to rest him,
till his wife bade him, “Thatch up the roof!”

We must sometimes wonder if all the fighting related to King Arthur and his knights was really necessary. In particular, it seems that Lancelot fought and either captured or killed a fairly large percentage of the population of England. Could it be that Arthur preferred to fight than stay at home and do domestic chores? And, honestly now, if he and his knights were such incredible warriors, who would have been silly enough to do battle with them? Wygar was the name of Arthur’s hauberk, or armored tunic, which was supposedly fashioned by one Witege or Widia, possibly the son of Wayland Smith. Legends suggest that Excalibur was forged upon the anvil of the smith-god Wayland, who was also known as Volund, which sounds suspiciously like Vulcan. Keywords/Tags: King Arthur, armor, sword, Excalibur, spear, Lancelot, wife, domestic chores, war, peace, homework
Small Tales
by Michael R. Burch

When Artur and Cai and Bedwyr
were but scrawny lads
they had many a ***** adventure
in the still glades
of Gwynedd.
When the sun beat down like an oven
upon the kiln-hot hills
and the scorched shores of Carmarthen,
they went searching
and found Manawydan, the son of Llyr.
They fought a day and a night
with Cath Pulag (or a screeching kitten),
rousted Pen Palach, then drank a beer
and told quite a talltale or two,
"till thems wasn’t so shore which’un’s tails wus true."

And these have been passed down to me, and to you.

According to legend, Arthur and Kay grew up together in Ector’s court, Kay being a few years older than Arthur. Borrowing from Mary Stewart, I am assuming that Bedwyr (later Anglicized to Bedivere) might have befriended Arthur at an early age. By some accounts, Bedwyr was the original Lancelot. In any case, imagine the adventures these young heroes might have pursued (or dreamed up, to excuse tardiness or “lost” homework assignments). Manawydan and Llyr were ancient Welsh gods. Cath Pulag was a monstrous, clawing cat. (“Sorry teach! My theme paper on Homer was torn up by a cat bigger than a dragon! And meaner, too!”) Pen Palach is more or less a mystery, or perhaps just another old drinking buddy with a few good beery-bleary tales of his own. This poem assumes that many of the more outlandish Arthurian legends began more or less as “small tales,” little white lies which simply got larger and larger with each retelling. It also assumes that most of these tales came about just as the lads reached that age when boys fancy themselves men, and spend much of their free time drinking and puking! Keywords/Tags: King Arthur, boy, boyhood, *****, drinking, beer, ale, tall tales, Wales
The Wild Hunt
by Michael R. Burch

Near Devon, the hunters appear in the sky
with Artur and Bedwyr sounding the call;
and the others, laughing, go dashing by.
They only appear when the moon is full:

Valerin, the King of the Tangled Wood,
and Valynt, the goodly King of Wales,
Gawain and Owain and the hearty men
who live on in many minstrels’ tales.

They seek the white stag on a moonlit moor,
or Torc Triath, the fabled boar,
or Ysgithyrwyn, or Twrch Trwyth,
the other mighty boars of myth.

They appear, sometimes, on Halloween
to chase the moon across the green,
then fade into the shadowed hills
where memory alone prevails.

Published by Celtic Twilight, Celtic Lifestyles, Boston Poetry and Auldwicce. Few legends have inspired more poetry than those of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. These legends have their roots in a far older Celtic mythology than many realize. Here the names are ancient and compelling. Arthur becomes Artur or Artos, “the bear.” Bedivere becomes Bedwyr. Lancelot is Llenlleawc, Llwch Lleminiawg or Lluch Llauynnauc. Merlin is Myrddin. And there is an curious intermingling of Welsh and Irish names within these legends, indicating that some tales (and the names of the heroes and villains) were in all probability “borrowed” by one Celtic tribe from another. For instance, in the Welsh poem “Pa gur,” the Welsh Manawydan son of Llyr is clearly equivalent to the Irish Mannanan mac Lir. Keywords/Tags: King Arthur, wild hunt, Halloween, Artur, Bedwyr, Valerin, Valynt, Gawain, Owain, Devon, Wales
The Last Enchantment
by Michael R. Burch

Oh, Lancelot, my truest friend,
how time has thinned your ragged mane
and pinched your features; still you seem
though, much, much changed—somehow unchanged.

Your sword hand is, as ever, ready,
although the time for swords has passed.
Your eyes are fierce, and yet so steady
meeting mine ... you must not ask.

The time is not, nor ever shall be,
for Merlyn’s words were only words;
and now his last enchantment wanes,
and we must put aside our swords ...

Originally published by Trinacria. Keywords/Tags: Lancelot, King Arthur, Arthurian, Merlin, last enchantment, round table, knights, sword, swords, England, stone, Excalibur, chivalry, Camelot, loyalty, friendship, magic, prophecy, Once and future King, Celtic, Anglo-Saxon
The Pictish Faeries
by Michael R. Burch

Smaller and darker
than their closest kin,
    the faeries learned only too well
    never to dwell
close to the villages of larger men.

Only to dance in the starlight
when the moon was full
    and men were afraid.
    Only to worship in the farthest glade,
ever heeding the raven and the gull.

The invincible Roman legions were never able to subdue the Scottish Picts, and eventually built Hadrian’s Wall to protect themselves! Did the Picts give rise to our myths of fairies, elves and leprechauns? Keywords/Tags: Picts, Scots, Scottish, fairies, glade, raven, gull, King Arthur, Arthurian, Morgause, Merlin, round table, knights, England, stone, Excalibur, chivalry, Camelot, Saxon
Morgause’s Song
by Michael R. Burch

Before he was my brother,
he was my lover,
though certainly not the best.

I found no joy
in that addled boy,
nor he at my breast.

Why him? Why him?
The years grow dim.
Now it’s harder and harder to say ...

Perhaps girls and boys
are the god’s toys
when the skies are gray.

Published by Celtic Twilight

Keywords/Tags: King Arthur, Arthurian, Morgause, Merlin, round table, knights, England, stone, Excalibur, chivalry, Camelot, Uther Pendragon, Colgrim, Saxon
It Is Not the Sword!
by Michael R. Burch

This poem illustrates the strong correlation between the names that appear in Welsh and Irish mythology. Much of this lore predates the Arthurian legends, and was assimilated as Arthur’s fame (and hyperbole) grew. Caladbolg is the name of a mythical Irish sword, while Caladvwlch is its Welsh equivalent. Caliburn and Excalibur are later variants.

“It is not the sword,
but the man,”
said Merlyn.
But the people demanded a sign—
the sword of Macsen Wledig,
Caladbolg, the “lightning-shard.”

“It is not the sword,
but the words men follow.”
Still, he set it in the stone
—Caladvwlch, the sword of kings—
and many a man did strive, and swore,
and many a man did moan.

But none could budge it from the stone.

“It is not the sword
or the strength,”
said Merlyn,
“that makes a man a king,
but the truth and the conviction
that ring in his iron word.”

“It is NOT the sword!”
cried Merlyn,
crowd-jostled, marveling
as Arthur drew forth Caliburn
with never a gasp,
with never a word,

and so became their king.

Published by Songs of Innocence, Neovictorian/Cochlea, Romantics Quarterly and Celtic Twilight. Keywords/Tags: King Arthur, Arthurian, Merlin, round table, knights, stone, sword, Excalibur, chivalry, Camelot, Uther Pendragon, England
Uther’s Last Battle
by Michael R. Burch

When Uther, the High King,
unable to walk, borne upon a litter
went to fight Colgrim, the Saxon King,
his legs were weak, and his visage bitter.
“Where is Merlyn, the sage?
For today I truly feel my age.”

All day long the battle raged
and the dragon banner was sorely pressed,
but the courage of Uther never waned
till the sun hung low upon the west.
“Oh, where is Merlyn to speak my doom,
for truly I feel the chill of the tomb.”

Then, with the battle almost lost
and the king besieged on every side,
a prince appeared, clad all in white,
and threw himself against the tide.
“Oh, where is Merlyn, who stole my son?
For, truly, now my life is done.”

Then Merlyn came unto the king
as the Saxons fled before a sword
that flashed like lightning in the hand
of a prince that day become a lord.
“Oh, Merlyn, speak not, for I see
my son has truly come to me.

And today I need no prophecy
to see how bright his days will be.”
So Uther, then, the valiant king
met his son, and kissed him twice—
the one, the first, the one, the last—
and smiled, and then his time was past.

Keywords/Tags: King Arthur, Arthurian, Merlin, Uther Pendragon, Colgrim, Saxon, round table, knights, England, chivalry, Camelot
Uther’s Last Battle
by Michael R. Burch

When Uther, the High King,
unable to walk, borne upon a litter
went to fight Colgrim, the Saxon King,
his legs were weak, and his visage bitter.
“Where is Merlyn, the sage?
For today I truly feel my age.”

All day long the battle raged
and the dragon banner was sorely pressed,
but the courage of Uther never waned
till the sun hung low upon the west.
“Oh, where is Merlyn to speak my doom,
for truly I feel the chill of the tomb.”

Then, with the battle almost lost
and the king besieged on every side,
a prince appeared, clad all in white,
and threw himself against the tide.
“Oh, where is Merlyn, who stole my son?
For, truly, now my life is done.”

Then Merlyn came unto the king
as the Saxons fled before a sword
that flashed like lightning in the hand
of a prince that day become a lord.
“Oh, Merlyn, speak not, for I see
my son has truly come to me.

And today I need no prophecy
to see how bright his days will be.”
So Uther, then, the valiant king
met his son, and kissed him twice—
the one, the first, the one, the last—
and smiled, and then his time was past.

Keywords/Tags: King Arthur, Arthurian, Merlin, round table, knights, England, Uther Pendragon
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