Retold

“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 🙂 )

Guinevere and Arthur

“One Night in Camelot” 

This endless day inside our hall

is silent now, is done.

Come my love, let us walk the hills.

Our lands can wait, our kingdom sleeps

Above, the stars are calling.

So often, we have no time

to be just you and me –

right now I’m not a king.

My sweet Gwen

In this quiet night

when the guard dogs,

asleep like stones,

lie curled beside our door,

let’s slip out to breathe the breeze, to run and laugh.

Yes, my brightheart, come!

I take your hand,

softly kiss your fingertips,

as we disappear

into the dark.

~ Marta Ziemelis. Written in Riga, Latvia, copyright 2011, 2013

Tristan and Isolde. Erec and Enid. Lancelot and Guinevere. Those are some of the couples which usually come to mind when we think about King Arthur love stories.

But what about Guinevere and Arthur themselves, or Arthur and Gwenhwyfar, to give both the king and queen their Welsh names? What would things have been like, if they shared a great love, and that was the love we remembered?  This piece is my attempt at imagining a moment of tenderness between the royal couple.

A quick update, long overdue: I’m happy to share with you that this piece was published in the Spring 2013 edition of Garm Lu: A Canadian Celtic Arts Journal. My sincerest gratitude to the editors, and congratulations to all contributors.