Fàth Mo Dhuilichinn*
Robert E. Stutts
“My dear brother, you have stayed too long; I fear that the wound on your head is already cold.” ~Sir Thomas Malory
Mists settle around his battered
crown, rusted with blood.
The air that morn was cold but not yet bitter,
the field of men’s battles not yet dry.
The lapping of the lake against the rocks
spoke to me, saying Bedwyr had returned
the Sword. He told them that the High King
had gone to Avallach’s Isle
to be healed and sleep and come again.
They believed the knight, for he
saw the barge swallowed by the mists.
Once I wept for the fall to come,
for like Myrrdin I had seen its approach,
creeping like a choking vine
caught on a window sill in the gaze of the sun.
With that knowledge I was armed,
given a sword I sharpened with secrets
and kept hidden in a stolen scabbard,
but I did not know, I did not know
the price we all would pay.
That morn I carried Arthur away,
stroking his hair and caressing
his lips with herbs, I sang him
a lullabye I sang when we were children,
and he, nestled in the crook of my arm,
slept the deepest sleep, deeper than dreams.
I smoothed the sorrow from his face,
silently slipping him beneath
sheets of water, watching enviously
as he nestled in the thick indigo
of her lonely, damp embrace.