Awen Online Issue 3


            The Sorrows Of Guinevere
                   By Zekria Ibrahimi


The half-baked monarch! Two-faced thug!
He talks about his 'chivalry' -
The husband who bamboozles me -
His soul is that of a dark slug.

With just a sigh, a callous shrug,
With honourable hypocrisy,
He executes men, scare , unfree -
The feudal fiend, bloodthirsty, smug.

King Arthur! he parades his name,
Shows off all the sham of his fame;
Dwarfed by his ego, I then follow.
He swaggers at the tournaments,
Amidst the banners and the tents -
A merry monster, false and hollow.


Excalibur, that 'noble sword,
The symbol of his manliness,
Is covered with a crimson mess,
Which he views as his warped reward -

This lunatic, my brazen lord...
As the gore dribbles on my dress,
And I conceal my distress,
He says I should be reassured -

He offers me the tainted steel,
Though the stench makes me almost reel,
A sinister gift for his lady.
After the slaughter comes a feast -
He  is such a macabre beast,
A gangster really, grim and shady.


He bites into some chicken legs,
And boasts abo0ut his latest battle -
Killing excites such puerile prattle -
He swallows wine down, to the dregs.

Meanwhile, the average peasant begs,
With not enough barley or cattle -
Who is merely the master's chattel.
A servant proffers some spiced eggs.

And I nibble at them, and groan.
"I faced the dogs who want my throne,
"And, in five minutes, ten were dead!"
War always brings a heap of taxes
That bury serfs. No-one relaxes.
The smiling Arthur looks well fed...


Across teh table, smiles a knight -
Who looks as if he is the stars.
My bedroom ought to have massed bars;
Arthurs embrace is no delight,

But dark imprisonment by spite.
These bragging men, vassals of Mars,
That mad god who gives them their scars,
They are chained by their wish to fight,

locked up in a desire for war.
The knight is staring at me more.
"My lady, I am Lancelot,"
He whispers. "Meet me in the garden."
Around me, Arthur's fetters harden.
I nod, and want my king to rot...


Round us, roses, in constellations -
Some dizzy scarlet, some brash yellow -
The knight's kiss seems to be so mellow,
After my anguish and frustrations -

Arthur is a thousand damnations -
An insincere, blustering fellow,
With a disgustingly loud bellow -
Used to making phony orations.

Yet Lancelot's murmurs seem sweet,
And he puts flowers at my feet,
And his hands wander round my breast.
This kingdom needs a revolution,
He claims, and love is the solution -
Love, he declares, is always best.


This Camelot is built on hate -
There is one crazy ceaseless law -
The urge of the brute towards war.
The callous towers of our state,

The cold moat, the huge iron gate,
The castle with turrets that soar,
Echoing drums and trumpet's roar,
Depends on murder. But, our fate,

The knight says, can instead be peace -
Is ours a barnyard, with its geese,
Its pigs, its cows, that cannot think,
All meant for Arthur's abattoir?
And I let Lancelot roam far,
To love's dangerous, delicious brink...


To the banquet, I then go back -
And Merlin, that religious fake,
The druid who is such a snake,
Now shows off his clauirvoyant's knack -

And his prediction - siege and sack!
"Your wife will make the Kingdom break!
"Camelot may die for love's sake..."
The grizzled, preaching maniac -

He cruelly ladles out the gloom,
Tales of tragedy and tomb,
And makes me not a queen, but who-re.
Then Merlin leaves, and Arthur is grim.
I say, "My lord, why talk with him?
"His rant is nonsense to ignore..."


The king can never match the knight
In the turmoil of love's chess game.
I have, perhaps, a trace of shame
That puts a taint on my delight.

But how is love a smear, a blight?
I rather would be sick and lame
Than not know my knight's gentle name -
I am warped, crushed by Arthur's might,

Made into a mere crippled pawn,
Someone destroyed by royal scorn -
I cannot move; I am hemmed in
By the rules of the Court and State,
Cringe while Arthur's boasts resonate,
A broken, caged bitch. Let me sin!

A Tiny Tale Told
Or, Sir's Sold Short
Or, Joust A Little Harmless Fun

By DJ Tyrer

Somedays, Sir Blodry hated being a Knight of the Round Table. For example, yesterday he had been sipatched to slay a Cockatrice that had been terrorising the region. he had nearly fallen from his horse in fear!

But, today, things were looking bright...

Old and blind, with a dicky heart, it had been unable to petrify (except through fear!) and had keeled over when he yelped in fright!

Once again he was a hero!


             Gawain In His Season
                          By Steve Sneydon on
up steep snow land
to where winter-green huge
holly waits, blood-eyed that sharp stare,

                   Camlann Vale
                  By Aeronwy DafiesThe clash of arms is silenced now
The roar of battle is in the grave
Buried with the warriors who fought here
Final resting place of king and knave.
The grass grows deep, the only life is sheep
Overhead even the gorecrows now are few.
And with the rot of flesh of friend and enemy
The battle fades now into myth from memory.

          Dreams Beneath The Stone
        (Of Alderley Edge In Cheshire)

                         By Maureen BraithwaiteArthur walks in Avalon,
So the legend goes,
But nearer than that say I,
That Arthur heals his wounds.

He sleeps in a place called Alderley,
Protected by the Wizard's stone,
Surrounded by his Knights, ready for the fight,
With swords keen and hearts and bold.

Their milk white steeds are also there,
As though captured in frozen flight,
Manes tossed, tails plumed and flared,
They lie under muted light.

Ready for when England becomes entombed,
In her darkest hour,
Then will they wake and make ready,
To make the enemy cower.

Riding out with armour ablaze,
Steeds wild eyed and fast as dragon flame,
With golden banner flying high,
Whipped by the wind under sunset sky.

Till then dear Arthur,
Dream sweet and calm,
With the Wizard watching over you,
To cast healing spell and sing sweet Psalm.

                              By Aeronwy DafiesHard lightning, magic blade, Caliburn named Excalibur,
Wielded by the Pendragon, Duke of Battle,
Seen by his fellow countrymen as their saviour,
Never shirking duty nor fleeing vicious battle
Two serpents mark the hilt of that sacred blade
A mythic weapon whose glory shall never fade.

            Arthur And Gwenhyver:
                  A Balance Sheet

                               By Steve SneydHe 'one of three frivolous bards of Britain'
she recorded down as 'known for murderous savagery'

a priest here a saint there a gimcrack protem
senate of a half dead town complaining somewhere

goods were taken and not paid for, when splendid
from  far off as the storm, no pleasure to endure,

the warband came thundering through: in hills
far abiove the struggle shepherds heard names

of battles round the fire but did not care
what language or race the winner,

only glad somewhere some ruler killed,
one ruler less to come collecting beasts for tax

in exchange for government and justice
which did not exist. The fat beast

would see you through the winter,
as for the invader, what need to fight

whoever it might be; the fog, the snow the mud,
the marshy moss, would soon deflect

such trouble to another flatter place. All
these gave witness as they saw it; the answers

to far winds, lost forests, broken
forts, blacktooth on headlands

untenanted have passed to answer us
only as things unseen stir still beneath dull soil

to shake unshorn grass: "My songs
made joke of all things under heaven, well, why

not laugh at this world that has no better
joke to offer than life given only so

minute by minute all conspires with all
to take it back again. You say my wife a cruel

savage, heartless to the end. I say she'd
heart too much and tried to fit not one but

two men inside it, and hated priests, storm crows
who called her blameful, only as life hates death."