Arthurian and Grail Poetry

The First Time
by Michael Burch

The first time that I saw her,
there were flowers in the hair
of Gwenhyvar.

The first time that I saw her,
the rain fell everywhere
on Gwenhyvar.

The first time that I saw her,
I brushed away a tear
from Gwenhyvar.

The first time that I saw her,
King Leodegrance’s daughter,
she knew that she was barter
for the dowry of her father–
Gwenhyvar.

Notes: Is it possible that Lancelot met Guinevere before he met Arthur? If so, he might not have condoned the betrothal of the two, which was probably born of necessity. Arthur needed to solidify his kingdom; he needed to get as much out of his marriage as possible, in terms of political strength, and also possibly in a dowry of arms or men. If Lancelot loved Guinevere on sight, how might he have felt on seeing her distress on the announcement of her engagement to a man she had never met? I imagine a young Lancelot, on his way to the High King’s court, spending a day with King Leodegrance’s daughter on the very day that she learns of her betrothal to Arthur. As usual, I have deferred to the original Welsh spelling: “Gwenhyvar.”

©Copyright by Michael Burch With Permission Kindly Provided for the Celtic Twilight