The York Rose

The blossom pure of softest white
below the green bears brutal thorn.
It tears the hand that reaches forth
to see the rose from its stem torn.

The thorn is of a silver bright
the flower bears a painted shield.
For victory good York shall fight
and never to Lancaster yield.

The bloodied hand retreats with speed
crushed and battered, wet with red.
The white rose root remaineth still
with Crown upon her rightful head.

“This poem was written at the 31st War of the Roses, as an inspiration for our host at the war, a dedicated white rose of great hospitality. During a pause in the battle, I read it to our goodly King, who also fought for York.  His Majesty requested that should York win (which, of course they would), that the poem be presented as a gift to the Baron of Concordia and supporters of York from Their Majesties.  It was presented at the Baronial Court on May 29th, AS46.”

To the Wood We Go

“This is my take on the classic hunter and hind trope, which we all know to be really about ladies, love and mystical experiences (and in some songs, more earthly experiences too.) In this song, the king’s man and the king’s Lady find themselves in the realm that passes through the King’s forest, which may be ultimately to their salvation.”

The king’s man took into the wood
to catch some coneys, fleet and good
with his dogs a-running o’re the ground
so swiftly that there was no sound.

The king’s man saw from out his eye
a flash of gold a-bounding by.
It was a stag with antlers tall,
surely the lord of wood stags all.

He left his hounds in thicket green
to catch this creature he had seen
to lay at his belov’d queen’s feet
its golden pelt and fragrant meat.

With a hey ho
to the wood we go
for to catch him with the bolt and bow.
With a hey hei
watch him fly
as the lord of the wood we follow.

The king’s Lady on her palfrey white
went a-riding in the sunshine bright.
Through the flowers and past the bees,
o’re the path between great trees.

Gently on she softly tread,
wandering where her fancy lead,
when came a sound upon the trail
as doe of silver past did sail.

To see the doe made her heart bloom
and so she took off through the broom
to touch with her own gentle hand
this hind most lovely in the land.

With a hey ho
to the wood we go
to see the hart in the summer’s glow.
With a hey hei
watch them fly
as through the wood we follow.

Into a clearing verdant green
the golden stag ran, clearly seen.
The silver doe, she met his stride
as the Lady and king’s man did ride.

The king’s man poised to bring them down
as gift to serve before the crown.
The Lady saw his bolt on high
and ran ‘ere he could let it fly.

Though swift, he fumbled and it flew,
and met its mark as it would do.
The lady’s hands rushed to her breast
where now the bolt did redly rest.

With a hey ho
to the wood we go
though the hunt we now forgo.
With a hey hei
watch them fly
as into the wood we follow.

The man looked where the Lady fell
amid the leaves of mossy dell,
her hair as auburn as the pine
her blood as red as ruby wine.

The the golden hind lifted her head,
and then his sliver lady lead
the king’s good man unto her side
to pull the bolt before she died.

He winced to cause her any pain,
but bowed to the great creatures’ reign.
He tore the wounding arrow through,
and breaking, broke his heart in two.

With a hey ho
to the wood we go
to find them in a thicket low.
With a hey hei
watch them fly
as into the wood we follow.

The silver one did kiss the wound
as the Lady weakly swooned.
The golden lord did nudge the man
to listen as her breath began.

With his queen, living, in his arms,
the king’s man fled the clearing’s charms.
At the palfrey’s side his charger ran
from this kingdom not of man.

The mighty stag walked with his mate
deep through the woods with steady gait.
The royal forest quiet lay
in the glowing of the day.

With a hey ho
to the wood we go
to the realm of stag and merry doe.
With a hey hei
watch them fly
as into the wood we follow.

A Lord Should Be Steady – Ode to Jaden

A lord should be steady,
A lord should be true
And I know a lord who
Is this through and through
An honest man we know him to be
And some day all of the realm will know his loyalty…

For this morning he fought on the side of the east
Defending our men from the fierce western beast
But before the sun crests or the hour has grown dear
He’ll fight for the mid without shedding a tear….

He tells all who listen Northshield has his heart
It isn’t quite treason, this perfidious art,
For he is very earnest, this lord sometimes ours
And he stands with the gumption of thirty one towers.

I remember distinctly the last war he was in
It seemed to me that he’d spread himself thin
He fought for the Bridge, he fought for the Moon
Drank Canadian whiskey and slept until noon.

He dons tabards of blue, of purple, of gold
We only know it is him by the shield that he holds
Soon a flag we will fly from the top of his helm
So he’ll recall who he is as he wanders the realm.

In the middle of battle came a merry “hello”
To which he responded a cheery “hey ho”
His shiremates yelled “get him” and get him they did
He had to trade shields so he could stay hid!

So here is the moral of this little tale
A word of advice that never will fail
When you are a fighter a playing the field,
Recall that shires are like ladies, they care not to yield!

A lord should be steady,
A lord should be true
And I know a lord who
Is this through and through
An honest man we know him to be
And some day all of the realm will know his loyalty…

The Heralds’ Adventure

“This ode was made when Astrid needed our help for Malagentia in the Great Northeastern War, and we hadn’t been asked (or thought we’d not been asked) and she was sure we had been.  So I imagined what might have happened to the heralds who had been sent forth to ask for our aid.”

The Leader of the neighbor realm
called his heralds into court
“We’ve a need that’s dire in nature,
and desire for brave support!”
Thus the Heralds were commanded
to deliver impassioned plea.
So up the road that pointed north
on mighty mounts went three…

What became of those good heralds
now we at last shall see.
The first and eldest Herald
cleared his mighty throat to speak,
when his senses were betrayed
by the smell of cooking leeks.
He headed toward the kitchen
pushing quickly through the group,
there was a loud metallic rattle
followed by a joyful whoop…

The last time that we saw him
he was bathing in the soup!

Thus Herald two began the speech
for the folk of Endewearde
but the pretty lass a winking
made rememb’ring rather hard.
A fierce look from her mother
brought the second lad around
but to his own amazement,
he couldn’t make a sound….

And now he’s either married
or he’s buried underground!

The way was long and dangerous
Herald three barely survived!
He passed by the water tower
quite relived he had arrived.
The populace did gather
at the the shaking Herald’s hail
and took him to the mead hall
to listen to his tale…

He never made it back for he’s
still drunk on Godric’s ale!

So war loomed for the neighbor land
and the people did not know.
They had a cook and wedding
and a brand new bard to show.
Finally the question came
from a Lady very high,
and who would dare refuse to help
when asked by Valker-aye?

Oh we would not refuse to help
when asked by Valker-aye!

Verses on Fealty from a Bardic Champion

Below the sword she softly kneels,
heart pounding in her chest like peals
from church bells on high.
A sea fills her eyes –
she would cry here, revealed.

Her hand upon the pommel, there,
before her graceful King she swears
unto him all aid
while on his crusade,
serenade and declare.

Her voice will burst with song and tale
at his behest. She shall regale
to allies and foes
tales of the East, those
he has chose her to hail.

Accepting oath, he raises her
as honor great he does confer.
Slowly now she stands
more to serve her land,
his command sweet as myrrh.

2-7-11

A Poem in the Welsh Clogyrnach form for King Gryffith FitzWilliam