King Arthur

Part One – The Ebony Star

Where the moonbeams touch the ocean

There dwelt a lady fair

Who rode the tides so wild in motion

With starlight in her hair.

She was once called Aphrodite

This maiden of the tides,

Mermaid, siren, selkie;

The wild water's bride.

Then one day from the heavens

There fell an Ebony Star;

A stone whose powers dwelt within

That had travelled from afar.

The maiden saw and caught it

And marvelled at the feeling

As the powers of the universe

Sent mind and heart a-reeling.

The Ebony Star pulsed in her hand

As if it too was living

It held as much power to command

as oceans unforgiving.

She paused a while to ponder

Trying to understand

Why this emblem of some yonder

World had landed in her hand.

Then she saw the sails

As many times before;

Riding on the gales

To claim some foreign shore.

The Romans were in England!

The old ways were in danger

The people under new command,

Their lands owned by a stranger.

That would never be desired

On this isle by magic sown,

But a champion was required

To see them overthrown.

The maiden knew what must be done

She was ready now to start

With all her might she smashed the stone

And exposed its glittering heart.

The Ebony Star split in twain,

The matrix fell away

Its contents fell into the brine

And shone as bright as day!

It was a metal strong as steel

And yet still feather light

She would have doubted it was real

Had it not been in her sight.

She took it in her hands once more

And gathering magic round

Conjured up a mighty sword

With blade both sure and sound.

And with that done she bid the sea

Farewell as she made her way

Through land-bound river, brook and stream,

Through every water way

Until at last she came to rest

In a lake both deep and wide

From here it was she would set the test

That would change the war-time tide

A babe, she knew, had once been found

Concealed beneath a dam

Within a bag mysteriously bound….

And this child was now a man.

She waited for great Taliesin

The child of the Radiant Brow;

The man with the water's blessing

Whom with the sword she would endow.

"A-welcome my fair bard!"

She said as he drew near

"The strangers hit poor England hard,

But at last salvation's here!"

"Take this sword and guard it well,

It is the Romans' bane!

From 'midst the starry skies it fell

And Excalibur's its name!"

"Excalibur, Star Metal,"

She put it in his hand,

"It has a score to settle

Through this unhappy land,"

"Though only a king may wield it,"

She had to make it known,

"So it's up to you to shield it

Till he claims it as his own."

"As you wish, my lady,"

The bard said, overawed,

"But how do you expect me

To know who claims the sword?"

"You must contrive to place it

Where everyone can see

But only the worthy can claim it

For their own," said she.

"The best way then, to guard the sword

Is the way it here was thrown,"

These were her final words;

"Set it in a stone!"

And so it was wise Taliesin

Obeyed the lady fair

He took the blade and struck it through

The stone in the city square.

"Let it be known that whatever hand,"

He called in sweet voice clear

"Removes the sword shall rule the land

As king for many a year!"

Hands big, hands small, hands rough, hands smooth

Tried without success.

The sword held firm – would not be moved

And no one passed the test.

Then a young boy came, his limbs stick-thin,

His hair of burnished gold.

Though his eyes held great spirit within

He was but ten years old.

Then he spied the mighty blade

And was by its beauty awed

He thought it was a terrible shame

For stone to imprison the sword.

And so he stepped up to the stone

As boldly as could be

And with a strength previously unknown

He pulled Excalibur free!

"Hail King Arthur!" the watchers roared,

"Hail!" they cried with glee

"Lo our king has claimed his sword

So England might be free!"

Arthur stood with new-found valour

And held the sword aloft

Little knowing that from that hour

His childhood was lost.

And as he stood looking o'er

His subjects, cheering loud

He felt a hand upon his shoulder

That turned him from the crowd.

It was fair Taliesin,

That bard of great renown

Who would govern Arthur's training

Until the day when he was grown.

Arthur looked into his eyes,

As bright as eyes could be-

Like those of the little bird who flies

In a lady's company.

And that's how Taliesin

'Merlin' came to be

His charge King Arthur, to train him in

The art of gallantry!