Friday, November 28, 2008

Roman de la Rose

I got a little job a few weeks ago which involved doing some research into medieval poetry, and that's when I discovered this, which I am using as an illustration for the following story. It's a grey and rainy evening here in Sydney, and there was an exquisitely powerful thunderstorm about an hour ago which made me jump with fright. So I put a bit of thunder and lightning into the poem as well.


"A garden
Is better
As a secret,"
The knight was told
That fateful day,
When his lovely smiling lady
Disappeared with naught to say.
He knocked on one large wrought-iron gate,
Then he tried to scale the walls,
But all he heard were footsteps
And melodious blackbird calls.

He slept outside the mystery,
And as the sun then rose
He felt the dew that stained the grass
And saw the night-time close.
He stood beside the gate that day
And many days to come,
But to his soft entreaties
Lady strong
Did not succumb.

Until one night,
At deepest midnight,
He did wake
With quite a fright,
And he saw the scent of blossoms
And he smelled the pale moonlight.
The garden wall before him was
Now covered in a vine,
And when he pulled it all away
A letter he did find.

The words writ on that wall
Did tell
Of many years now past,
Of brambles,
And fading leaves,
Of seedlings growing fast.
He read the many stories
And he memorised the lines,
Then with them
Built a ladder
Used to scale that wall of vines.

Now balances he,
That bravest
Upon those solid bricks,
Now peers he down,
And strains to see,
Beneath green canopies.
For the garden,
Now an orchard,
Is a hiding place divine
And his darling lovely lady
Calls out
"You may look,
But 'tis all mine."

"A garden
Is better
As a secret,"
The knight remembered well,
And he knew
That by his looking
Something died
And someone fell.
Strongest tree began to tumble
There before the knight's own eyes,
And the fruiting
Stung with lightning
And the green leaf's
Thunder cried.

Fell the knight
From bricks and mortar
Of that castle of the earth,
Of the water
And the sunshine
And the bright green early growth.
Fell the knight
And there beneath him
Softest landing did he find,
For his lady,
Caught him with
Her poem's next line.


kmkat said...


RW said...

Delightful Eleanor.

eurolush said...

Eleanor, what beautiful imagery. It's as lovely as the painting by Roman de la Rose.

'He saw the scent of blossoms...and smelled the pale moonlight'...

'He felt the dew that stained the grass and saw the night-time close.'

'The fruiting stung with lightning...and the green leaf's thunder cried.'

You have a wonderful way with words, m'dear.

Badger said...

Ooo! Happy sigh.

laura said...

And now i must go read it again : )

alice c said...

Heavenly...I feel quite transported to a world of rosebriar.

Blue Mountains Mary said...

There is an English folk singer Kate Rusby (you tube her) who would turn this beautiful poem into a very fine song!!