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(Editor’s Note: NonDoc provides Sundaze as a weekly space for poetry, short prose, visual art and other ideas pitched by creatives in Oklahoma and around the world. All submissions are encouraged, and new creatives are sought. Submit your work for publication by contacting Editorial@NonDoc.com.)

Milady of the Wood
by Derek Geiger

Once apon a time there rode,
In dear old Albion,
The deposed king of all the land,
King Arthur Pendragon.
Eyes could see he bore a load
That hurt to look upon,
Could see the scars on his hand,
The blood on his jupon.
As he took the wide main road,
He stopped and took a chance,
Steered his mount toward the wood,
For he had, in his glance,
Spied a lady, by a stream,
Smiling, shining, a dream.
First at trot, then galloping,
He came to where she stood.
Instead of talk, he did sing,
Because he understood
That speech can be false, tell lies,
But song can repair, well,
The deep wounds that falseness hides,
Against the pain, rebel.
She, too, had pain of great size,
The kind that burns, scratches,
And tears up one’s insides.
Arthur thought, “Mine matches”,
And he thought he’d sing some more,
Enlighten her with lore.
Some he had writ for others.
Some he’d writ for himself.

And as he sang, she would sing
One night, neither planned nor
The kind that parting smothers,
Drowns memory itself.
And when the night was over
He went to sleep alone,
Dreams of crimson and clover,
Remembering his throne.
On the eve of the morrow,
The Lady said, “We must
Prevent possible sorrow.
So, go, and in me trust.”
He rode off, but, not gone long,
Returned for one more song.
He sang this one just for her:

“Listen, please, just once more.
I’m superb at love and war,
Though I’ve lost at both,
And though I may be broken,
My Soul finds itself loathe
To close itself as spoken
By Milady last night.
If there be things wrong with me,
Know that I’ve changed before.
If you fear you will hurt me,
Know I can bear the fight.
Hurt can’t kill. It’s tried before.
With time I grow stronger,
Broken, I myself repair.
No outside help will do.
I know you could break me ne’er,
Even if I, loving you,
Encounter the worst of times.
As broken is, so broken do,
But I could forgive all harm.
I’ve done it all before.
I will still sing, will still charm,
Won’t hang about your door.
If this is it for new romance,
I will remain, will dance.
There will be other ladies.
I will have other nights.
But just in case Milady’s
Mind change, if this song lights
A fire that could burn for long,
Or just for a small while,
Then take this horn that you hold
And raise it. Let me know
That my honest, heart-felt song
Has made you cry or smile.
If not so, then I will fold
And ride. Now off I go.”


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