Luke Davies

(1962 - / Sydney / Australia)

Gawain


Helluva day the day I fought
the lion to the death
when the women found me
prone across its flanks
and couldn't work out
whose blood was whose

“Pardon me that you see me
in this disgraceful condition
I hope you won't mention it
to anybody,” I said
They took me upstairs
with my 500 wounds

(where the enchanted women were 500,
though that was coincidence
rather than symbolism)
I looked from one woman
to the other
and my heart was simply aching

I had had courage
I had had great one-pointedness
when I sliced at the lion
as he lashed. “You feel pretty fancy,”
the women said, “with that lion paw
stuck in your shield,

don't you? But you do much harm
through courage.”
I conceded the point
It was that kind of century
It was a long day
Still the damned Green Knight to go

What a saga
I knew how to pack it in tight
I looked from woman to woman
and my heart was simply aching
Three red drops in the snow
that's life

or a castle to curl up in
hallways wide enough for horses
a bed of straw to dream in
the hoar frost is evaporated
an end to all this staggering
I was not entirely good but I

became entire

Submitted: Thursday, May 03, 2012

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