Arthurian and Grail Poetry

A Guinevere
By Madison Cawein

Sullen gold down all the sky;
Roses and their sultry musk;
Whipporwills deep in the dusk
Yonder sob and sigh.--
You are here; and I could weep,
Weep for joy and suffering. . . .
"Where is he"?--He'd have me sing--
There he sits, asleep.
Think not of him! he is dead
For the moment to us twain--
Hold me in your arms again,
Rest on mine your head.
"Am I happy?" ask the fire
When it bursts its bounds and thrills
Some mad hours as it wills
If those hours tire.
He had gold. As for the rest--
Well you know how they were set,
Saying that I must forget
And 'twas for the best.
I forget?--But let it go!--
Kiss me as you used of old.
There; your kisses are not cold!
Can you love me so?
Knowing what I am to him,
To that gouty gray one there,
On the wide verandah, where
Fitful fireflies swim.
Is it tears? Or what? that wets
Eyes and cheeks;--on brow and lip
Kisses! Soft as bees that sip
Sweets from violets.
See! the moon has risen; white
As this open lily here,
Rocking on the dusty mere,
Like a silent light.
Let us walk...So soon to part!--
All too soon! But he may miss.
Give me but another kiss--
It will heat my heart
And the bitter winter there.--
So; we part, my Launcelot,
My true knight! And am I not
Your true Guinevere?
Oft they parted thus, they tell,
In that mystical romance...
Were they placed, think you, perchance,
For such love, in Hell?
No! It can not, can not be!
Love is God, and God is love:
And they live and love above,
Guinevere and he.
I must go now.--See! there fell,
Molten into purple light,
One wild star. Kiss me good night,
And once more. Farewell.