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Terra Levez Nov 2020
If readers were made rulers
Their knights would wield pens
Their wars fought on paper
And their subjects imaginary
We are all rulers aren't we?
sarah crouse Jul 2020
There once was a boy who feared himself.
So he went and hid in a big bookshelf.
He picked up a book and started to read
he saw the hero and followed his lead.
He read, he lived within these books
saw himself, the hero with the striking good looks.
He wanted to see it all he said
as the wonder and joy-filled up his head.
From world to world he travelled far
he sailed the seas and explored the stars.
He laughed, he cried and lived many lives
in his desperate quest to help him survive.
But everything has to come to an end
the books were done and all were read.
Just like that, he was alone again
alone with his thoughts, away from his men.
with no more books to save the knight,
he picked up a pen and started to write.
Michael R Burch Jun 2020
Sonnet: The Ruins of Balaclava
by Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, barren Crimean land, these dreary shades
of castles―once your indisputable pride―
are now where ghostly owls and lizards hide
as blackguards arm themselves for nightly raids.
Carved into marble, regal boasts were made!
Brave words on burnished armor, gilt-applied!
Now shattered splendors long since cast aside
beside the dead here also brokenly laid.
The ancient Greeks set shimmering marble here.
The Romans drove wild Mongol hordes to flight.
The Mussulman prayed eastward, day and night.
Now owls and dark-winged vultures watch and leer
as strange black banners, flapping overhead,
mark where the past piles high its nameless dead.

Adam Bernard Mickiewicz (1798-1855) is widely regarded as Poland’s greatest poet and as the national poet of Poland, Lithuania and Belarus. He was also a dramatist, essayist, publicist, translator, professor and political activist. As a principal figure in Polish Romanticism, Mickiewicz has been compared to Byron and Goethe. Keywords/Tags: Mickiewicz, Poland, Polish, Balaclava, Crimea, war, warfare, castle, castles, knight, knights, armor, Greeks, Rome, Romans, Mongols, Mussulman, Muslims, death, destruction, ruin, ruins, romantic, romanticism, sonnet, depression, sorrow, grave, violence, mrbtr
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
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
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
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
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
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
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
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
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
Merlyn’s First Prophecy
by Michael R. Burch

Vortigern commanded a tower to be built upon Snowden,
but the earth would churn and within an hour its walls would cave in.

Then his druid said only the virginal blood of a fatherless son,
recently shed, would ever hold the foundation.

“There is, in Caer Myrrdin, a faery lad, a son with no father;
his name is Merlyn, and with his blood you would have your tower.”

So Vortigern had them bring the boy, the child of the demon,
and, taciturn and without joy, looked out over Snowden.

“To **** a child brings little praise, but many tears.”
Then the mountain slopes rang with the brays of Merlyn’s jeers.

“Pure poppycock! You fumble and bumble and heed a fool.
At the base of the rock the foundations crumble into a pool!”

When they drained the pool, two dragons arose, one white and one red,
and since the old druid was blowing his nose, young Merlyn said:

“Vortigern is the white, Ambrosius the red; now, watch, indeed.”
Then the former died as the latter fed and Vortigern peed.

Originally published by Celtic Twilight

Keywords/Tags: King Arthur, Arthurian, Merlin, round table, knights, Ambrosius, Vortigern, dragons
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
Merlyn, on His Birth
by Michael R. Burch

I was born in Gwynedd,
or not born, as men may claim,
and the Zephyr of Caer Myrrdin
gave me my name.

My father was Madog Morfeyn
but our eyes were never the same,
nor our skin, nor our hair;
for his were dark, dark
—as our people’s are—
and mine were fairer than fair.

The night of my birth, the Zephyr
carved of white stone a rune;
and the ringed stars of Ursa Major
outshone the cool pale moon;
and my grandfather, Morydd, the seer
saw wheeling, a-gyre in the sky,
a falcon with terrible yellow-gold eyes
when falcons never fly.

Legend has it that Zephyr was an ancestor of Merlin. In this poem, I suggest that Merlin may have been an albino, which might have led to seemingly outlandish claims that he had no father, due to radical physical differences between father and son. This would have also added to his appearance as a mystical figure. The reference to Ursa Major, the bear, ties the birth of Merlin to the future birth of Arthur, whose Welsh name (“Artos” or “Artur”) means “bear.” Morydd is a another possible ancestor of Merlin’s.
Keywords/Tags: King Arthur, Arthurian, Merlin, round table, knights, England, chivalry, Camelot
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