by Michael R. Burch
Through our long years of dreaming to be one
we grew toward an enigmatic light
that gently warmed our tendrils. Was it sun?
We had no eyes to tell; we loved despite
the lack of all sensation—all but one:
we felt the night’s deep chill, the air so bright
at dawn we quivered limply, overcome.
To touch was all we knew, and how to bask.
We knew to touch; we grew to touch; we felt
spring’s urgency, midsummer’s heat, fall’s lash,
wild winter’s ice and thaw and fervent melt.
We felt returning light and could not ask
its meaning, or if something was withheld
more glorious. To touch seemed life’s great task.
At last the petal of me learned: unfold
and you were there, surrounding me. We touched.
The curious golden pollens! Ah, we touched,
and learned to cling and, finally, to hold.
According to legend, Isolde/Iseult/Yseult and Tristram/Tristan were lovers who died, were buried close to each other, then reunited in the form of plants growing out of their graves. A rose emerged from Isolde's grave, a vine or briar from Tristram's, then the two became one. Tristram was the Celtic Orpheus, a minstrel whose songs set women and even nature a-flutter.
Originally published by The Raintown Review and nominated for the Pushcart Prize; since published by Ancient Heart Magazine (England), The Eclectic Muse (Canada), Boston Poetry Magazine, The Orchards, Strange Road, Complete Classics, FreeXpression (Australia), Better Than Starbucks, Fullosia Press, Glass Facets of Poetry, Sonnetto Poesia (Canada), The New Formalist, Trinacria
Keywords/Tags: Tristram, Tristan, Isolde, Iseult, Yseult, Arthurian, legend, myth, romance, Ireland, Cornwall, King Mark, love potion, spell, charm, magic, adultery, harp, minstrel, troubadour, white sails, white hands, betrayal, death, grave, briar, bramble, branches, rose, hazel, honeysuckle, intertwined