Arthurian and Grail Poetry

At Camlann
by Michael Burch

Tell me not how the battle goes . . .
      for England lives though I must die;
but go and fetch me now that rose
      that grows
      and shows
its bright face to the sky.

Oh, sweet perfume such as she wore! . . .
      Good Lucan, tell me not of war,
      for I have seen its face before
and care to not, nor e’er again.
      Only . . . let me now remember when
the roses bloomed within that glen

and she and I alone were there.
      Oh, Lucan, she was passing fair,
and grew more lovely with each year.
      I loved her more with each gray hair,
      each wrinkle placed by time and care
so carelessly across her brow . . .

I loved her then, and love her now.
O, that I lived to tell her how!

Notes: At Camlann, Arthur fought his last battle and met his end on this earth, whether he truly died, or was borne off by the Lady of the Lake, or by Merlin to some enchanted slumber. Since there is no “definite” knowledge of how or why Arthur died, I am going to assume that he fought knowing that only his death could spare the lives of Lancelot, Mordred and Guinevere, and that he died sick of war and killing, thinking only of her. According to legend, Lucan the Butler was with Arthur when he met his end.