The Day King Edgar came to Bath

I like the four line ballad form. It is useful for narratives.  I have many narratives to finish in the time that I have left.

Edgar at Bath (Whit Sunday A.D.973)

Besides the west door in a crowd
Frigar watched Edgar pass,
The sky was blue save one small cloud
As priests there call the mass.

That cloud it seemed to hover there
Like one small shade of doubt,
With happy faces everywhere
What could this be about?

The boy stood and gazed at the sky
Beneath that cloud so grey.
His heart heaved and he gave a sigh,
Then wept and walked away.

He wandered out across the town,
Went out the River gate.
Beneath an alder tree swooned down
Mid visions brought from Fate.

It seemed an ancient Dame was there,
Or was she but a maid?
There seemed all havoc everywhere,
Then silence in a glade.

And in that glade a woman stood
Her face a radiant glow.
“You’ll witness hate and great falsehood,
And you will be laid low.

Amongst the dead you’ll find new life,
You’d fight a soldier’s fight.
You’d never win through arms and strife;
At end you’ll conquer spite.

You’ll seek out joy through times all sad,
You’ll help a broken man.
You’ll comfort both the wan and sad,
You’ll do the best you can.

You are a part of my moist land,
You are my joyful boy.
The dark cloud showed you what’s at hand
Mid those crowds full of joy.

For you alone gazed at the sky
And saw that cloud all grey,
And you alone had pondered why,
Wept on this joyous day.

In sad days you will see the spite
That makes so many weep,
And you’ll see Wrong defeat the Right.
Watch wolves tear through the sheep.

You’ll help a mutilated man
Though his life may prove hard.
You’ll help the way a true friend can
Help him tell of Midgard”.

She held his hand that puzzled child,
She walked him through that glade,
She showed him things so strange and wild,
Then slowly seemed to fade…

What’s real and what’s a dream?
His brain it spun about
Is ought as it may seem?
The boy let out a shout…

“Dear Lady, Lady, tell me more,
Please do not fade away!
Pray do not leave me drenched with doubt,
Do tell me more I pray.”

Her voice remained though she had gone,
She said, “I’ll tell you true
And when you’re glad and when you’re wan,
Do know that I’m with you.

Spirits stood by when you were born,
It seems I am your one.
I’ll see that you’ll not stay forlorn,
When dark foul deeds are done.

Your heart it is a songster’s heart,
I’ll help you with each song
But now my sweet I will depart
You must my boy be strong”…

What’s a dream and what is real?
Now he seemed more sure.
A Spirit’s presence few may feel;
That holds this sweet allure…

He felt some rain upon his face
Beneath that alder bough.
It seemed he’d slept here in this place
Yet seemed not sleepy now.

There was a strange scent on the air,
A scent like womankind.
It seemed about him everywhere,
Was it just in his mind?

That rain dropped from a light blue sky,
That one small cloud was gone.
He fought against the urge to cry,
But his soul had turned wan.

In Bath that day the folk were glad,
The English had one king.
None saw that one boy oh, so sad,
The poor bedraggled thing.

For these strange visions left him weak
And sick throughout the day.
He sat about all sad, all bleak,
Yet watched the gleemen play.

They acted out some simple tale
As laughter echoed out.
Unseen a child stood drab and pale,
His soul was filled with doubt.

Then on the morrow they returned,
Back down the old Fosse Way.
He told his father what he’d learned
In Bath just yesterday.

He told his father of his dream,
And they spoke much of it.
But neither knew what Norns may scheme,
Nor knew what had been writ.

His father told him of Modron,
The day that he was born.
That this Midgard would soon be gone,
With futures so forlorn.

Though one would live to great old age,
The other was soon dead,
To leave a boy to grieve and rage;
That grief led on to dread.

Their household then was brought quite low,
His mother she grew ill.
Once happy homes may sink with woe,
As warmth may turn to chill.

That road through grief would twist and turn,
To travel there takes strength.
Through sorrows then the young may learn,
And gain through them at length.

From “Tale of Frigar”
© T Morgan 2007

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