Peter Bolton

Rookie - 0 Points (2nd April 1942 / Brecon)

The Veil of Tears Poem by Peter Bolton

From the high mountain
A weft of white water drops its way, rock by rock, to the valley floor.
Only he who knows can give its name, for it is the Veil of Tears.

The Princess Pamella was riding in the forest,
The leaves were green and humming birds fluttered into and out of the hibiscus flowers.
She was happy and sang the song of the day.
You might have thought that the kingdom was at peace,
That the world was as clear as the water in the well.

But Baron Balfran was abroad, the boldest knight in all the land.
His boldness was of the kind that you know only too well
And the Princess would not marry him.

Far from human gaze, in the mines of Dithering,
Where doubt is dug and trouble is forged,
Balfran had built a pavilion.
A summerhouse of intricate beauty,
Where balls of light floated hither and thither in every colour,
Every colour that you can name.
Rainbow fountains adorned the lawns and gourmet banquets appeared before your eyes at a signal.
Central to this paradise, a bed of the softest down, softer than the caress of a butterfly’s wing.

(Such beds are not talked of in fairy tales.
It is not proper.
We do not say what liberties might have been taken with the sleeping beauty.)

A wind swirled in the forest, a squall of rain,
Like the sting of Balfran’s disappointment;
A twitch of his moustache.
The Princess Pamella sought the lodge,
Where her feet could be dry, her flowing hair stay kempt.
She entered and saw him there.
‘Why does bold Balfran seek shelter here? ’ she asked, all innocent.
‘Have I not come for my bride? ’ he answered boldly,
And with that he took her out to his horse and his arm was stronger than ten stallions.
He rode hard and the aftershock echoed through the valleys of the kingdom,
Outstripping the sound of Pamella’s cries.
Thus he came to the paths not known by men,
A labyrinth turning endlessly in every direction, inwards, outwards
To the mines of Dithering leading.
There he laid the Princess on the bed so soft, intent that he would lie with her.
That is that he would lie on her.
But Pamella stayed him before he could seal his triumph.
‘Sir, ’ she quoth, ‘you must have your will,
Yet first you must grant me one boon,
For such is the custom as you well know.’
This is the way of things in stories such as theirs
And Balfran could not deny her this boon.
‘Very well, ’ he said, the seal of their doom.
‘First, I will tell you a tale, a tale most strange and wonderful. A tale you may not interrupt, not until its ending. When I am done you may have me.’
‘Proceed, ’ said Balfran.

‘As you well know, ’ she continued, ‘there is in the land a knight so bold whose ambition reaches up to the skies and Baron Balfran is his name.
He seeks to tame all things to his will and he would have the Princess Pamella for his wife, for is she not the fairest in the land?
But the Princess knows the piping of the birds, the turn of an animal’s ear, the flick of a fish’s fin and she will not have him, for he would build his palaces where’er they be, on earth, afloat the air and ‘neath the waves.
To him who is strong shall the glory be.
‘Sir, ’ she said, ‘I will not marry you, for the sand on the shore is not for making bricks.’
Bold Balfran turned away and waited.
The day would come.

The Princess Pamella was riding in the forest,
The leaves were green and humming birds fluttered into and out of the hibiscus flowers.
She was happy and sang the song of the day.
You might have thought that the kingdom was at peace,
That the world was as clear as the water in the well.’

Nobody knows how long they have been transfixed, she speaking and he listening.
Such recursion requires speech marks for its ending,
But how many? and at what juncture?
Maybe aeons have passed.
On the other hand maybe the story has only just begun.
I put what follows here, outside of Pamella’s tale.
For it must not be brought to Balfran’s attention.
Her words can be terminated by an external intervention
In which case she is freed from her bond.

Balfran’s fountains come from the eternal waters and,
Where water flows, so must it run,
Seeping through the earth into subterranean caverns.
Spectral is its hue and here, from a high crag it leaps as from a spring.
It weaves rainbows in the air and cascades its spray into the vale below.
As Pamella sits beside those dancing founts, in endless speech, she weeps and her tears fall.
Drop by drop they fall into the well and so at length they come into this world.
In the veil of those falls her message can be traced,
Like an elemental signature,
To him who can read, it shall be known.
To him who shall come.

Submitted: Tuesday, April 02, 2013

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