• Georgia Garfield-White

Le Sommeil d’Arthur

Updated: Mar 25


 

Yet some men say in many parts of England that King Arthur is not dead, but had by the will of our Lord Jesu into another place; and men say that he shall come again, and he shall win the holy cross.”


Thomas Malory

 

Where Ivy ropes tangle, twist and grow,

To crumble slabs of old and wearied stone

And climb through towers high and cellars low

That no Man, nor Lord, nor Earl could claim to own.

Where no cricket, hopper, mite has ever sung

And streams of water walk, instead of run,

And days and nights are only marked by sun

And the lonely bird must learn to sing alone.

The sea beats hard against those rocky walls

Where winds and waters merge in misty haze

But inside there’s none to mark those rising falls,

‘cept honeyed bees that whisper through their days.

Now leave the water winds, wailing their despair

And leave the water’s side, and climb the stairs,

And come in peace, to find the courtyard there

Where the King of Sword and Stone forever lays

An eon’s sleep wears not upon that face.

The flesh is still, but does not yet grow cold,

The crown upon that brow still gleams with grace

And grey upon his beard still wars with gold.

His eyes are closed, but flicker with their sleep

With dreams of wars they won inside this keep,

Of golden victories! Of prices far too steep,

For the king of Sword and Stone, who won’t grow old.

The courtyard walls are firm and standing tall,

The king within sees not their sturdy frame,

Summers will fall to Winter, Springs to Fall

Before the king is called to rise again.

His sleep is peaceful, though he sleeps alone,

The nights break cool upon the weathered stones,

Celestial bodies hang steady, in their charted zones,

And guard the courtyard where their king is lain.

Betrayal cuts through loyalty, like skin must yield to steel

And deception may splinter long behind once trusting eyes.

Emrys has long since coaxed the skin to heal,

But a love wound festers far beyond its time.

The film of anger sits upon the tongue,

Each breath stabs before it leaves the lungs,

Each suspicion, once ignored, now free to run,

And turn a lover’s warmth to bitter wine.

Blood turned against a blood that matched their own.

And knights that once had sworn to serve and kneel,

Broke their oath and turned against their crown

For a woman’s love that was not theirs to feel.

They say; her hair was warm as flame upon a stove

With lips curving gentle, as golden cupid’s bows,

Both red and soft as the English garden rose.

She was lovely as a golden shore – but not Lancelots to steal.

But the past is but an echo to this place,

Where Myrdinn brought him after it was done.

Betrayal fades like flickers on the face,

Like shadows passing briefly ‘cross the sun.

No word, nor thought, nor deed can harm his sleep,

Within his peaceful spot beneath the steep,

And sheltering walls that make that castle keep,

Where Arthur rests alone, in Avalon.

Insp. Le Mort De L’Arthur by Thomas Malory

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