Arthurian and Grail Poetry

It Is Not the Sword
by Michael Burch

“It is not the sword,
   but the man,”
      said Merlyn.
      But the people demanded a sign.
   The sword of Macsen Wledig,
Caladbolg, the “lightning-shard.”

“It is not the sword,
   but the words men follow.”
      Still, he set it in the stone–
      Caladvwlch, the sword of kings,
   and many a man did strive,
and swore,

and many a man did moan.
But none could budge it from the stone.

“It is not the sword
   or the strength,”
      said Merlyn,
      “that makes a man a king,
   but the truth and the conviction
he sews with every word.”

“It is not the sword,”
   said Merlyn,
      all the while, marveling
         as Artur drew forth Caliburn
      with never a gasp,
   with never a word,
and so became their king.

Notes: It is quite possible the Caladbolg, a mythical Irish sword, and the Welsh Caladvwlch are the same sword, and that Caliburn or Excalibur are simply modernizations.

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