Elizabeth Horrocks

Lancelot

In my monastic cell, I hear the news
of how the High King failed to win the fight.
And now the Saxons rule this sea-bound land.
I pray until my knees are red with blood.
I pray forgiveness for my part in this.

It is, perhaps, presumptuous to think,
to feel, that it was I who caused it all:
who set dissension deep within the court…
And yet, and yet, had I not loved her so,
the sad-eyed queen sat at my lord’s right hand ‒
the king preoccupied with mighty acts,
neglectful of his lovely, barren, wife.

But had she not looked lovingly at me,
we would not both have then betrayed his trust:
and Mordred would, perhaps, have found no way
to poison minds, divide up former friends.

And I would not have killed a comrade dear,
to rescue Guinevere from certain death…
And then it all unravelled, and the star
that shone here when the sun of Rome had set,
is now enveloped by the growing dark.

I know she too will be upon her knees,
and weeping for the loss that we have brought.