Borderline

sunset gold, low-slant
fires distant spark
starting seaside, spreading
beacon point to point to point—
behind my eyes

why did I glory in tales
of blood, fighting
remembered sword-grip
and how it shamed loving touch
of earth lifted, sifted
and firmed again

no more. I close the border of that land
with this drawing in, hurrying on
of cloak, hood, fences, gates
tamping down the pulse, the heart-fire
watching the thread of smoke lift
swirl, vanish

In another time

I am waiting
forest, riverside
where the sky’s color has drained
to fill the trees golden
canopy, hushed, leaf carpet
where the maples lean together
where I last saw the wild rose.
Younger, when I had no heed
for thorns raking flesh
nor savored any delight
but your command
for quest, complete, rewarded.
Never young enough again
for any of your power
to transform these scars
into patience, like tree-roots
sink and drown

Task for a Muse

How do I shout
entwined as I am
about the doorframe
bounded by the step? A thorn
or two to snag passersby
(when one strident voice
is no more heeded than another
or silence) heeded not at all.
I have been rooted
in the earth fluid only
with the wind’s desire
and though I sought voice
after voice, bearing flower fruit
year on year I am nothing
no arms to move you but
my whispered song

 

Alas, my good knights be slain away from me

If you want a good tale, Thorn says,
go for betrayal. Man and wife, brother
and brother, student and master.

The very one you trust—he flicks his hand
to show the knife. And so I am on the field
in false armor, not even knowing myself.

The grass, the sun, the banners, the sweat,
the fear. A man may be willing to die
for his friends, but for her? For him?

The queen in white, the field in green, dazzling
golden sun. The hopeful heart, the solemn
pledge: fire and sword, fear.

Camlann, Again

Sands, setting sun, rising
blood-tide; clash and curse
and moan. Even I feel the surge
of joy at the charge, pent anger
cloud-bursting to hack
and sing. This grim violence
ever present: in our bones
the need to fight—
eager!—for any cause
to call someone Other.
She asked you to save
the innocents. There are none
here. From first man to last
we are broken.

Another view, via the Rose-Witch project, of a theme I wanted to explore in the Babylon, Astronomy poem. My take on Camlann is always colored by Tennyson’s imagery in “The Passing of Arthur.”