Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The Crystal Fountain and the Doe

THE CRYSTAL FOUNTAIN AND THE DOE

Sir Pellias, with mortal wound, from the battlefield of Sir Gawaine,
entered deep into the forest, where he wilted in his saddle
and there a dwarf and lady saw his final humiliation,
straddled, leaning on his spear and mourning his almost-late demise.

The dwarf and lady led the horse deeply into the forest,
to a saintly monk, by a secret crystal fountain and a chapel,
whose bells chimed twelve and there the knight drooped deeply into coma:
the death-wound from Sir Gawaine, as thin as water.
Last rites prepared; a lady, fay with beauty, took his necklace
and then enchanted his foul wound with magic, stemmed the tide
of blood-flow, like the crystal fountain in the forest dell,
where a doe and fawn of wide-eyed peace stood fearless, tasting herbs.

The hermit, like St Francis, fed – as tame – a flock of birds,
but saw her faerie light of gold and emeralds and opals.
He held his peace as Nymue poured
                                                from a crystal phial, the blue
elixir that would raise Sir Pellias from the breath of death.
Soon his mortal body rose, half fay but less half-dead.
Then she took the chalice water, gave true crystal fountain life,
until his body, light as air, was dilated by pure joy.
He pledged fair troth to Nymue… who had loved him long ago,
a barefoot, brown-skinned maid who wetted his appetite for pure milk.
 
He was half-fay, and she was all, this Lady of the Lake;
Sir Gawaine enquired and followed -late – a mortally wounded knight
and saw a path of blue, a clearing like a moonlit lake.
There radiance bloomed with meadow flowers,
                                                a chalice lake of faerie,
where he soon fell to forest floor in penitent fear and passion.
‘Touch me not,’ Sir Pellias’ voice rang thin as silver bells.
‘I go to the city of azure, gold; of opals, emeralds and flowers.’
The light shone from his countenance like joy, calm as a lake
reflecting perfect mountains and a sky of royal blue.
There was no storm of high-tide joy, nor ebb of hearts cast low.
The Lady of the Lake and knight walked to a vanishing
of moonbeam water, crystal fountain;
                                                a wide-eyed, milk-lit doe.
Thus ends the tale of Pellias, a companion at the Table,
while Sir Marhaus joined King Arthur and became a foremost knight.
Yet what of fickle Lady Ettard, whose love waned like the moon?
She married her eleven-month faithful knight, Sir Engamore of Grantmesnle.
 

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