Saturday, June 13, 2009

Remembering Avalon, Extravagant Promise

There is a curious story about Merlin, that he lived backward, that he was wise in part because he remembered the future. I have always liked the idea that somebody did that. I have a special fondness for Arthur and Merlin. The best idea I ever heard, Arthur's legend was based on a king who had a Roman education though he was not a Roman, and that Avalon was the last outpost of the vanished Roman civilization in England, but was completely isolated as Rome could no longer hold England. What Arthur did was try to establish the principles of the old Roman Republic, long gone by then. There were Roman ruins in England for a long time before they were all basically buried under successive civilizations. Of course when you add in Merlin and that part of the legend, then you have quite a Celtic influence.

Remembering Avalon

The mage stood gazing
At the kingdom's lands beneath
The amazing sky
Of evening's sun
Thinking of Arthur, now gone
And himself younger
Than he was back then.

The farther hills called to him
And he felt by foot
The pack beside him.
Merlin spoke to the late air,
"I loved them all, all."

January 15, 2009 2:31 PM


Rachel will remember this one. I wrote it on her site.

Extravagant Promise

If the breakup means
I must move down one more bed
Then I hope winter
Will stay forever.

I watch the sun, eyes wary,
Watch you too, looking
For signs that you've moved
Toward the closet, satchel
And your hiking shoes,
Ready to pray, plead
My case, promise you I will
Even clean the cat.

January 15, 2009 10:08 AM


  1. Extraordinary. I have recently posted a dream on Avalon....Love how blog topics sometimes overlap

  2. I so love coming here.....feel like I sit in the presence of a certain magic with you people....and me, I just observe and be grateful there are words and wordsmiths to weave them.

    Avalon? Feels like home :)


  3. Linda, yes indeed, you did. The Mists of Avalon, a book by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I believe I read it in the 80s. It was made into a movie.

    Michelle, you touch me. Thank you.

  4. I've thrown out what I can....sigh

    the rest just has to be done, daily :)


  5. Yes. Thanks. I have read everything MZB wrote but that book was a favorite when it first was published

  6. The Arthurian legends/romances are dear to me. Mary Stewart wrote some of the best versions I've ever read (The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment). I love the idea of Merlin living backward, but I wonder what it would be like to remember the future. Could we live with what we know? Would be live differently? Or would be let someone beguile us into spinning a glass cocoon? I wonder.

  7. Karen, I hear you. It might be difficult to live while remembering the future. It is even more of a puzzle to wonder what it would be like to not remember the past. There is something mind bending about Merlin's position.

    I believe I read at least one of the Mary Stewart books. It has been a long time.

    I have a feeling that there are constraints at every level of mastery, that in many ways it always feels the same, with ups and downs and worries and confidences.

    "We think we have made real progress...we are sure that we are confused by more important issues."

  8. Jack Whyte. Read Jack Whyte. Arturian Legend reborn. Wonderful stuff if I remember correctly. Been almost 20 years.

    I think it should be terribly sad to live in reverse. I would never want to know the ending. Actually, I suppose we all do, one way or another anyway.

    Winter is for snuggling and cats to enjoy the push of feet through quilts. I guess that's why you'd feel compelled to clean the cat to hold onto it.

  9. I have a nineteen year old. She has long ago stopped washing. I don't wash her either. I know she hates water more than life. She's a smelly pathetic thing any more, and will shit in the house if I don't watch. She doesn't really use the box too well either. She lives in the garage. But I give her good head scratching often. She never tires of that.

    Years ago I took a picture of her as a kitten on the back fence. Anne entered it in 365 Kittens A Year Calendar. She made it. January 31, 1997. And the cover. She was one of many on the cover but she was on the cover. She was once a cover girl. She also smelled sweet in those days. She doesn't smell too sweet today.

  10. Ghost, thank you for the Red Dragon. The last time I saw her I was helping her escape to another realm where people were not her mortal enemy. This picture is only vaguely what the real Red Dragon looks like. She is considerably sexier, especially to dragons.

  11. I am so glad to see so many connections to Arthurian legend... I spent my childhood there and have never ceased to wonder at how the legend endures in so many other forms, expressions, allegories, ...
    and your reflection here, on Merlin especially, was quite sublime.

  12. Harlequin, you certainly would have a different take on the whole thing living among the remains as you did. I am often curious what it must be like to have such a lengthy heritage under one's feet. At once too familiar, and perhaps as well really deep.

    I did get that part. The land is just the land, whether here or in Bangladesh, whether rocky soil or alluvial. And Bangladesh has been crowded for thousands of years. You have to choose to infuse the land with heritage. Otherwise it is just dirt.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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