Before Camlan -John Matthews


 In the Kings court 
 A single lantern burned, 
 Holding back the dark. 
 Taliesin, standing above the gate, 
 saw the small gleam 
 And breathed out the words:
 “As long as the light burns
 Memory enfolds us, truth is held 
 by the hands of both 
 The infinite and the earthly Lords.” 
 The King turned, restless in his bed, 
 As though he felt the words, 
 Understood their meaning.
 Elsewhere, Lancelot, burning
 With his own dark light, 
 Sweated out the dream 
 He carried eternally within. 
 Gawain, the blaze of his fires 
 Dimmed by the darkness, 
 Paced in his room, 
 Swearing vengeance for the death, 
 Of Garth in the crowded yard. 
 All these, and the rest,
 The Golden courtiers of the Golden court, 
 Slept or woke or waited.
 Only the Kings poet, wakeful, held the gate 
 And breathed out his greatest fear: 
 “If all fails tomorrow, 
 The dream must still survive.” 
 His words, like bright birds, flew
 From the gates and outward,
 Over the darkened land. Distant,
 The moon woke, escaping the cover 
 Of cloud and, swollen with portent,
 Swept across a world,
 Yet unprepared for war. 


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