Shine Cycle Précis: Lighting Camelot

Lighting Camelot is the tentative title of the sixth planned novel in the “Alternate Universes” sub-series of the Shine Cycle, set in and around King Arthur’s legendary court of Camelot. Today’s post is a brief introduction to this planned work. Continue reading

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“Merlin in the Tower of Astronomy”

Lord Arthur, hold what you see in your heart.
You are among few if you hear the stars singing,
Though that is my natural speech.

My lord, the lords of the dance, and their Lord,
Have instructed me to reveal to you
A portion of their mysteries:
Though each is to but an iota of light,
Each is a sun as our own, and each is a lord
In the dance that the Master created.

Lord king, though this conjunction foretells disaster
For your dynasty in this age,
Hope remains for you to keep in your soul.

This was a fairly early poem in my series of Arthurian poems, probably originally composed in the middle of my high school career. But unlike most poems from that period, it didn’t require much revision to fit my changing thoughts about how poetry ought to be. (On the other hand, some of the ideas don’t quite fit my ideas of the characters or the world, so still I’m not quite satisfied.)

As always, I earnestly welcome your comments, suggestions, questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. (In other words, if you liked this poem, or you didn’t like it, or it made you think of something, or … please leave a comment to let me know.) If you liked this, you can follow this blog, which includes one of my poems every Friday, or read other poems I’ve written here on my blog (starting with yesterday’s archive installment, since the full archive is by now, at well over a hundred poems, somewhat daunting); I’d especially like to know, as part of my preparations for a collection, which poems you think are my best. You may also share this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.

This poem is also mirrored my wiki.

“Taliesin and Blanchefleur”

Blanchefleur stands. O Guinevere the queen,
She was your sister once, or is it will be?
Times are all askew: what never was, or will be.

Ages, names, times, and titles,
All are lost in a swirl of years
Yet weigh on me as a burden of tears.

Distractions wheel about me.
I lose the mathematics of space, but gain
The fiery, intellectual passion of time.

Blanchefleur is daughter of kings
And kin to princes, heir to empire
And worthy of praise. Thanks be to God
For a magnificence such as her
In his creation. It gives a view of himself.

It was our first or second meeting,
In a contest of poets and a challenge of bards.
I had advanced further than I saw fit.
And then I met her in the final song;
The disputation vanished away.
I formed the song, and she the verse.
She showed me what poetry was
And discovered the music of the spheres
Through the Almighty through me.

As you can gather from the title, this is from my series of poems set in the Arthurian legends; I think I wrote it late in my first pass at the series, then didn’t revise it much when I did a mass-reorganization, and only recently returned to it again to edit it in preparation for this publication.

As always, I earnestly welcome your comments, suggestions, questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. (In other words, if you liked this poem, or you didn’t like it, or it made you think of something, or … please leave a comment to let me know.) If you liked this, you can also read other poems I’ve written here on my blog (starting with yesterday’s archive installment, since the full archive is by now, at over a hundred poems, somewhat daunting); I’d especially like to know which poems you think are my best.

This poem is also posted on my wiki.

“Taliesin Before Arthur”

Each Friday I post a poem from my archive, until I run out. This one from my series set in and around the Arthurian legends; in this poem Taliesin, Arthur’s court bard, responds after Arthur asked him to see the future.

Lord king, forgive me that I do not tell you all I know,
For I have spoken with angels and stood in the Presence.
I have seen mysteries it is not given to men to understand,
And have witnessed the steps of the dance of the stars.
I have interpreted the sayings of the wise
And clarified the meaning of the learned ones.
I have read the future in the stars and foretold my own death.

Instructed by the lectionary for the day, I read:
“How fair upon the mountains are the feet
That bring good news.” The feet of the king
Are beautiful; his tidings are those I bring.

Lord Arthur, you would not wish for me to sing a lay
Of your high destiny, for your future, though sweet, is bitter,
And the song of your time is sad. But you insist.

You will be denied the peace of death
And the honor of life, for as long as my sight lasts.
I have read your weird. Backwards, it is a great destiny.
Forwards, it begins in happiness and ends in sorrow and war.

The first version of this poem was written somewhat early in the series, probably my senior year of high school. Like the last poem I posted from this series, I probably revised it somewhat around my junior year of college, and again slightly while preparing it for posting. As always, I earnestly welcome your comments, suggestions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. You can also read other poems I’ve posted on my blog.

This poem is also posted on my wiki.

“Taliesin at the Throne of Arthur”

On Fridays I post my poetry; this is from my series set in the Arthuriad.

It is a type, or a shadow, of the final throne.
This is built of the majestic oaks
That lined the hall ‘ere it was built,
And lined with gold to match their leaves.

I kneel, head bowed (in the proper mode)
Before Guinevere and Arthur, not looking
Toward the lady I love, who stands
At the high queen’s feet.
Verse and freedom rise, unbidden, to swirl about me.
My harp, at my chair across the hall, stirs
As in anticipation.
My lord bids me rise. I stand slowly,
Eyes on him only, for fear I may forget myself
In the eyes of my beloved.

The final throne, at the world’s ending, shall be white,
With no adornment save the one upon it.

I probably wrote the original version of this poem my junior or senior year of high school, relatively soon after discovering Taliessin through Llogres and The Region of the Summer Stars (to which this series is a sort of homage) but late in this series. I condensed, revised, and edited it into this form sometime several years later, perhaps my junior or senior year of college. In any case, I’ve now also posted this poem on my wiki; I as always eagerly request and greatly appreciate your feedback of any kind (though the more substantial the better), including critique, questions, comments, or suggestions (especially of what to post next, since I’m running out of old material) on this poem. Please review! And thank you.

I’m also looking for “first readers” for my poetry and prose.