Lately, I've been wrapped up in The Arthurian tales, especially those recorded by Sir Thomas Mallory and Lord Alfred Tennyson ( Idylls of The King). Always loving the many stories of intrigue, magic and chivalrous endeavor, I wonder how many of them were based on some source of truth; and how some of the characters may transcend time in their connection to human nature and the human condition. One of those is Morgan Le Fey, the controversial fairy and half sister of King Arthur ,who manipulated the fate of warriors, women and her own brother more often for malicious intent than for good. Though she was considered to possess knowledge of healing, she was more identified with practicing the darker arts of witchcraft and divination. In the end of the Legendary tales, she was one of four mysterious beings/women who led the funereal boat of Arthur back to the island of Avalon where he was noted to rest in eternal memory and peace. If Morgan were to have a role in today's world, its global providence , how would she fare? What would she be like? This poem contemplates that question.
Morgan Le Fey Reflects On Her Fate
and water are different now.
Sometimes it's haze
hanging over a river whose current
is rainbowed with oil and moving
toward the border.
Other times, its pure glare
glossing over crag and ocean heading
for an island in Greece.
But each time, there are refugees on a raft
and I rise from the tide to save
and ferry them ashore.
Crossings are my vocation,
so distant from the days of Avalon
when that island of apples and green rushes
sweeping the lake
was my home and altar.
My place to heal and charm.
Most remember me
as the veiled sorceress
who incited sin, manipulating knight and maid.
Even my half brother the king
whose bed I shared and shadowed with lust.
But scholars barely mention
how I wept with Arthur's head in my lap
(on a boat wreathed with lilies)
lamenting all I had done
and vowing as I kissed his eyelids
to forsake my darkness, and carry those
caught in distress.