The Lighted Life


The Lighted Life


Gawain awakes beneath the tree

That senses show has changed

A star of dawn climbs bark and leaf

And hovers in the cold, clean air

Announcing greater changes lie beneath


A keening on the knowing breeze

A darker taste upon the wind

A fall of wispy, softer skies

As kind October’s shorter days

Play midwife games with knowing eyes


A brittle crispness in the leaves

Whose vibrant green now drains away

Beneath the soil where none can see

The cyclic gift of lighted life

To wait return of sun, and leaf and bee


But sharper still to shorter life

This bitter turning scrapes and spills

The sands remaining of his year

Till headless fate on Green Knight’s cross

Now bartered, lost and marching near


This blighted life that must endure

above the land that gave it birth

Must tighten warmth across its throat

And, silent in resolve, find mirth

In deathly riddle deeper than the earth


The hand that shields the sunrise holds

In sombre tones of last caress

The golden orb whose still behest

Whispers trust, not fear should guide

And armour not of logic be the vest


So, turning fur against dawn’s breeze

He gathers hope where none should be

And facing rising sun clasps heart

Accepting fear that lessens you and me

And drinks that cup of courage as his art


But golden love from shining orb

Does not its children leave to die

Without equipping heart and head

And on his palm which held the sun

Gawain finds written what he may become

©Copyright image and words Stephen Tanham 2015

The stories of Sir Gawain, the Green Knight and Lady Ragnell are the central theme of the Silent Eye’s 2015 Spring workshop, Leaf and Flame, to which all are welcome. Click here for more details.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. jenanita01 says:

    Beautiful words, Steve, they seem to sing to me…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. stevetanham says:

      Thank you, ladies. What a lovely thing to say. There will be more in this series, running up to the workshop in April 2015. xx


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