“Atgofion (Memories)” 

Wizard, warlock

Myrddin, Merlin

So many words and names for me,

one man…

So many tales of us together, Arthur,

yet I wonder how many

speak of the magician and the king

when we were young…

I am new at court,

my powers strong but not full-grown,

you’ve not yet come into your own.

We should be

master and servant –

instead we are the closest friends.

I believe

in the king you might be,

and you

trust the magic I might make.

It’s not always easy

being a prince’s consort

when most of Camelot thinks

you ought to have a queen.

My work is magic and healing,

I’m loyal to Camelot and you –

we try to make others’ doubt irrelevant.

Smiling, I listen

as the ceremony ends.

Guinevere, our friend, our heir,

is queen now.

Arthur, you and I

are free to go adventuring again.

~ Marta Ziemelis. Copyright September 2011, October 2014. Written in Dubai.

A few years ago, when I told a friend that I was planning to write a series of poems based on the King Arthur stories, he suggested that I try to write a piece depicting Merlin and Arthur as young men. Since this seemed like a cool idea, I agreed I’d give it a try. What you see above is the result, which has gone through a few different versions.  The BBC television series Merlin was one of my inspirations, since it’s one of the few versions of the Arthur-Merlin tales  I’m aware of which depicts them in young adulthood.

(Note: “Atgofion” is Welsh for “memories” – a nod to Merlin and Arthur’s origins 🙂 )


Shadowhunters, Goddesses, and Fanfiction


Walking in, I didn’t expect

to find her standing there –

Diana, Cynthia, Artemis, moonshadow rare.

Silverbright, dark-eyed,

silhouette curved like a bow,

arrow-tall maidgoddess

draped in a midnight velvet coat.

Do you seek me, voice-of-the-moon?

It’s strange to see Apollo’s sister

smiling in the lowered light,

carrying a glass

which changes

into a kylix cup…

she drinks, swallows, offers, invites

with her forestshade voice,

her gleamnight eyes.

Come, share wine, join my hunting band…

My lips sip lightly

We might now share more than just a drink,

goddess and ordinary mortal.

~ Marta Ziemelis. Written in Riga, Latvia, copyright July 2013.

This began as something of a fanfiction concept, along the lines of: “From the cast of characters in The Mortal Instruments, what if Isabelle and not Alec were the LGBTQ sibling?” I tried to write the piece that way, but somehow it didn’t really go anywhere. Then I tried approaching things from a more general ‘supernatural woman interacts with a mortal in a sexual/ romantic way’. Somehow a bit of a moonlit Izzy feel stuck around for me, and morphed into a poem about Artemis, Greek goddess of the moon. I like to imagine Artemis as having a rather fluid sexuality, interested in women, men and those who identify otherwise. Perhaps a bit like Captain Jack Harkness.

Lady in the Moonlight



the Lady rises from the Lake,

moonshadow bright.

She comes not for Arthur,

nor for Merlin of the dark eyes shining –

though she has known them before,

in love.

Light-foot she steps

upon the rippling wave,

song-strong hands

carrying breath, thought, lovebeat.

Gentled her power

no fate she decides tonight –


shall her touch caress,

share, cherish, ward.

Your feet, bare, damp,

slip in lakeshore mud,

but no matter.

You wait and watch,

twisting your heavy girdle between your fingers,

twisting the hems

of your rain-spotted gown.

The Lake parts a little,

the Lady takes your hand,

clasps your waist,

presses her lips

lightly on your braided hair.

One small step

shaking yet sure –

your mouth, daring and nervous,

brushes against hers, exchanging breath.

Since when

does the Lady of the Lake

come only to kings and warlocks?

~ Marta Ziemelis.  Written in Dubai, copyright May 2013.

This is my riff on what the Lady of the Lake might have been like in her private moments, the moments which don’t appear in the stories we hear. Inspired, at least in part, by Heather Dale’s lovely song “Lady of the Lake”.