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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“Taliesin before Guinevere”

The time has come for us to part,
My lady, and for me to go my way.
May the Master keep you near His heart
And bless the costs you pay.
My soul is troubled at the sight
Of what lies in your fate.
Seek ever for the truth and right
That the Lord may make you great.

The ten-hour candle flickers.
Its length is nearly spent.
The feast is coming to an end:
So rich a time was lent.
Bless me, Highness, ere I go;
An empire hangs within the scales.
The candle dims upon your face.
It before your beauty pales.

Taliesin stands before the royal seat,
His helm in his hands, his shoes off his feet.
Taliesin kneels, his head to the floor,
Then bows himself out of the high-barred door.

This is another old poem in my series surrounding the Matter of Britain, and yet another incompatible take on Taliesin’s last farewell to Camelot. Reading it again, I strongly suspect I’d been reading one of the two collections of poetry by Milne, since the meter is similar to one I remember him using in several favorite poems and is quite a departure from both the blank verse that I usually use nowadays and the “free verse” ignoring meter I often wrote in at the time.

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 on my wiki.

“Taliesin at Midsummer’s Eve”

The high symbolism of the day
Has sharpened my senses, so I feel
The spirit and power of my Lord—
And the bounds between worlds wear thin.
But on this Eve of eves,
All created time is Midsummer,
And the borders are opened this night.

I See.
Llogres falters in the great Dance;
Arthur stumbles in the race,
And the nation stumbles with him.
With Llogres’ fall upon its way,
Free men cast off their service
To take rough chains upon their wrists.

Britain rises to take Llogres’ place
In the Dance mirrored in the stars,
And other families will rise
To stand in the Pendragon’s stead.

From the mountain of the Lord
The people he had chosen fled in fear;
In awe Moses ran toward it and God.
Here on this isle, the people flee
The Lord and his anointed;
But Arthur runs to the Lord, his Patron,
Yielding for a time his earthly crown
But gaining an eternal name.

This poem, though late in the internal chronology of the series, was probably written quite early, so probably originally my sophomore or junior year of high school. I made some thorough but superficial revisions when I overhauled the whole series, but until some further tweaks this week I didn’t consider it at all presentable. I’m still unsatisfied with some features, but longtime readers know that I can be something of a perfectionist when it comes to my own poetry.

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 blo, 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 it with others, subject to my sharing policy.

This poem is also archived on my wiki.

Werewolves in the Shine Cycle

There are two kinds of werewolves in the Shine Cycle. Each kind is the result of arguably unwise experimentation in applied metaphysics, and a cautionary tale of “be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it.” Continue reading

“Taliesin’s Last Lament”

O, beloved: O, best loved Blanchefleur!
Now I lay me down upon the green earth
Of my own land, which I held best of all—
Till now, when ’tis the worst to me, for now
Upon my rising I’ll not see the face
And smile of my beloved Blanchefleur.
Nor shall I till the years have passed us by!
What purpose has the Lord to keep me here,
And she still there, yet separate and distinct
When we feel nearly one—in spirit, soul,
If not yet in our, frailer, mortal flesh?

This is another—internal-chronologically, possibly the last—poem in my series of poems set in the Arthurian legends (see that link for a slightly more detailed explanation). The speaker is in fact relinquishing the name—the identity—of Taliesin, according to the story which shall be told in my planned novel Sunshine Civil War. In order of composition (“Doylist” chronology), this is one of the later poems in the series, but was written several years ago, and I have no way of dating it any more precisely than that.

I always welcome your comments, critique, suggestions, or any other feedback on this poem or any other part of my work. (In other words, if you like it, if you don’t like it, if something “works”, if something “doesn’t work”, if it makes you think of something or someone, etc., please comment and say so!) If you like this, you can follow this blog, which includes one of my poems every Friday; you can also read other poems I’ve written here on my blog (or if that list is too intimidating, I’m posting more manageable subsets each week, such as yesterday’s archive installment, so you can just start with those). I’d particularly like to know which poems you think are my best.

This poem is also mirrored on 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.

“Merlin in the Temple in Jerusalem”

Each Friday I post one of my poems; this is from my series set in the Arthurian legends.

The power of the risen Lord throws me to the floor
The moment I enter his now-ruined temple.
My heart has grown accustomed to the single thread
Of holiness, of prayer and Word reply,
I hardly notice it. The warp and weft of power,
Even bereft after the rending of the veil,
The Roman devestation here, and the shift in focus
From this stone building to the greater built of souls,
Here drive me past my knees.

What is there that the Almighty cannot do?
He set the foundations of the earth
And taught the stars to sing;
He wrote the laws of the universe
And enacted the perfect redemption.
Nothing was created that he did not create,
And he created everything.
He set the standard for perfection,
But he looks to himself for the measure
He takes of those who trust in him.

Among the angels in the audience hall,
I fall facedown before the Lord of Hosts.
Poetry swirls around me here as ever,
The angled music of the heavenlies and
The structured sound of the eternal song.

The Lord has filled my heart;
I have drunk deep of the well of life,
As he commands; I am at peace.
The power of the Lord has searched me,
Yet I live; the vision fills me with awe.

An early version of this poem was one of the first pieces I wrote in this series, but I’ve reorganized and otherwise revised it since as my writing has improved and my theological understanding has changed. I’m still not quite happy with the rhythm and flow of this poem, but I’m posting it now as I can’t think of how to improve it.

In any case, I always welcome your comments, critique, suggestions, or any other feedback on this poem or any other part of my work. You can also read other poems I’ve written here on my blog; in particular, I’d like to know which poems you think are my best.

This poem is also posted on my wiki.