Monday Poem: Arthuriana

i)

The mythos is as you find it: chauvinistic
heralds, their spurs snagging in damp bracken,
yomping from chapel to tourney; roaring
metal-heads clashing amid pennants. Perfidy
reversed through jeopardy. Names that are supposed
to mean something: Bewmaynes, Belvedere.
An order not sustained and not brought down
by unruly interventions – Merlin, le Fay –
so much as by its own propensity
for needless questing; as if each hard-won
consolidation were the pretext for another
narrative fling: a voiding of premises
as of horses, so scrambling to its feet
to meet upright the panting enemy.

ii)

Ripples spreading from the blade-tip.
The king’s breath ragged
among the reeds.

Ruin on the field,
incontinent armour spewing
stout blood into the soil.

The barge drifts
with its burden: the helmet
lifted and set aside;

the raw hands
in smeared gauntlets
folded over the wound.

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