Merlin spoke, the heavens shook Yesterday, the world held its breath Today, the seas boil Hidden behind dark clouds I see steel blue eyes Calculating the many Questions waiting Unanswered for too long Ending in more answers that don’t please Silver linings are not always what you think Thunder broke behind the dark clouds The seas continue to boil… ©AnitaDawes2022
On Tintagel's rugged shores, Arthur has returned. Molten bronze, larger than when in life He should not be there. He lives in fantasy, a story loved by millions For many, Tintagel is a sacred space It should be held that way for the future. What are English Heritage thinking of? Money, more tourists to take away the magic The majesty that is Cornwall. Personally, I cannot speak about The face carved on the cliff wall This does not represent the might that is Merlin His magic is in every rock, Every wave that washes across the shore These are the things that live in time, Never to be forgotten Tintagel should be left wild, as he is. Go to the beach late at night as Jaye and I have done Sit awhile, feel the raw energy The dark caves whisper, I am still here... © Anita Dawes 2021
“What’s your name,” I ask the old man, sitting on the park bench feeding the pigeons. I liked the look of him. Small, with a slight hunched back, snow white hair and the beginnings of a beard.
“My name, do I have a name?”
“Everything has a name.” My reply did not fuel the conversation. Something about the way he moved his hands, the way the small bag of seed did not empty, the way the trees around us held their breath. The silence and the sharp pain at the back of my head, stirring, waking something in me.
“You are Merlin.”
“Am I?” His blue eyes sparkled with the mischief of a five-year-old child. “Yes, you could be right. My memory is not as it should be these days. I have little to offer you, young man. You are wondering who you are.”
“Not true, I know who I am.”
“Do you know when you are?”
“Yes, I am here, in the park, talking to you.”
“Look around you, do you see what lies before your eyes?”
I looked and the trees parted, like an ancient curtain being pulled aside. Wondering if I had named him wrong. Could he be Moses with no sea to part? He split the trees. I saw a castle, dark jagged rocks surrounded by vast ocean. I look again at the old man. I could see a tear in his eye, the smell of apples filling the air.
He vanished. The air had taken him. It looked for all the world as if I sat there, talking to myself.
I cried out, “Merlin, where are you?”
Rushing through the trees, calling again, I heard his voice.
“Here I am, look again…”
© anita dawes 2020
Interview with a legend: Part two
‘I was thinking about you. The sun will be up in a minute or two. You won’t be in shadow; you could come and sit down.’
Merlin sat; I could tell he felt weary. I let silence cover us for a while, let him catch his breath. I was wondering the whole time what he had been doing.
I had a dozen or so questions needing answers; some passed to me by others. ‘The Once and Future King, when will you wake him?’
‘Before you think your next question, just let me say, not all chivalry is lost. Over the past year, I have seen much of it on display. As to the sleeping one, I shall let him sleep a while longer. I have much to learn myself of this new world. We cannot change the past, no matter how far back we go. Nor can we change the religion that overlays our lands. There is much to learn from each branch.’
I felt glad to hear Merlin say it that way, as I cannot stick to one branch of religion. I like so much of each. I believe it matters not, what Gods we believe in, whether they are real or imagined. What you believe is true for you. If it works, don’t break it. The day may come when you look for more and need to know the real from the imagined. Not just the things you read, written so long ago by someone’s mind, pushing the pen. You may want to make your own religion, walk to the beat of your own drum.
‘Have a care, let go of history for a while. Make your own. The seed has been planted, Arthur sleeps, maybe for a long while. He learns the new way of things; the new battles he would face should I wake him. No more Romans, now you have the internet with its input to contend with. Roman cruelty, it seems, has taken on a new face. I tire; I will see you again soon.’
The air in my room felt heavy. Merlin seems lost in our world. I hope he has enough magic for himself to continue.
I spent the next few weeks wondering about imagination. How useful is it? The legend of Merlin came about when he was most needed, as did Christ. I hoped Merlin was far enough away, not to hear my thoughts. I didn’t want him to think I wondered if he were no more than smoke and mirrors. For me, Merlin is as real as the air I breathe. That’s my heart talking.
Now I am wondering what Merlin will come back with…
I am sitting in front of Jaye’s computer, looking at all the things she works on, wondering if there is anything I can do. Maybe I could try an interview.
I went back to my pen and paper.
Jaye was gardening, so I stayed in her seat, which made me wonder if this had anything to do with the strange feeling creeping over me. Someone stood behind me. I could feel the energy, like pinpricks on my skin. I could smell the wild woods, all the strange scents he brought with him.
I felt afraid to turn.
I knew Merlin stood behind me and didn’t want him to vanish. I wanted to see if he had a long white beard. That’s when he spoke.
‘No beard, no pointy hat, I do have a staff.’
I pulled out the chair beside me, the one I sit in when giving Jaye my work. He sat, and I was looking at a legend. My breath stuck like a hot potato in my throat. I am looking at his blue-green eyes that should be in the crown jewels.
‘Ask away,’ he said, with a voice that will replay in my mind forever. Forget Chopin, Brahms, Beethoven, Liszt, this voice is music.
‘Why Camelot?’ I asked. ‘Why make a King?’
As he answered, I saw the light in his eyes change, like strobe lightning.
‘To rid the country of Roman law, to unify the people.’
I held the moment, asking about the Roman blood running through the veins of the British people. ‘You cannot be rid of all the things they leave behind.’
His body went rigid, and I think I have offended him.
‘What they leave behind will soon be forgotten.’
I didn’t want to comment again for fear he might smite me with his staff. I noticed the slight grin on his face, forgetting he could read my thoughts.
‘If you could do it again, would you do the same?’ Again, that voice, the dancing light in his eyes, made me wish that I had a thousand questions to ask.
‘Yes,’ he said, ‘The same, yet different. I would take my time, make sure there would be no betrayal of Arthur by a French Knight. There would be no need of the grail.’
I tried not to think about his answer. I could tell he knew by the shifting of his weight in the chair.
‘You think I am wrong?’
Looking sideways at him, I said, ‘Maybe. It could be a more modern idea that would be relevant in the now. I know some of your ideas were good. Chivalry, Valour, truth, they should be shown differently. We have too much machinery, kids with their eyes on the future. How to be famous, how to be rich. You need a new game, Merlin. One that can combat the invisible while you’re at it. We have too many germs. Too many people are trying to get rich from disasters. Little has changed since Arthur’s days. The crafty always know how to make money from misery. Often as not, causing it in the first place.’
Before leaving, Merlin said he was glad he popped in. ‘I have much to think about before I visit again…
( Next time I will be ready for him. I will have my questions written down!)
For the visually challenged writer, the photo shows an old man in a lush park setting. He has long white hair and a long white beard and is dressed in back with a guitar hanging around his neck and a bouquet of flowers in one hand.
Merlin is back, the spell that held him for too long, broken
His search through time begins to find the one he loves, Vivienne
With each finding, he is too late
She has vanished, taken another ride on time
Her adventure never stops
She has Merlin’s magic to guide her and uses it well
She has had many loves since that long time ago
When Merlin chased her, leaving her with one burning idea
She must have his magic. She can feel him behind her
See him now, he has found one of her favourite gardens
By the look of him, he has come to serenade her
Flowers too. How smart he looks.
She feels sorry for him
Her feelings have not changed towards him
He will find the garden empty; his search will go on
He can feel her, just ahead of him
Soon he will trap the one thing his magic let slip away…
© Anita Dawes 2021
For some people, Autumn is a sad time, the beginning of the end of the year, when things begin to die.
I have never felt like this, but this year does feel different somehow, and I’m not sure why.
Maybe it’s because of everything that has been happening this year.
All the talk of virus, illness and dying and the futility of it all.
When I was plunged into the world of caring and checking heart rates and medication, the rest of the world and its problems seemed to fade away.
Watching someone you care for struggle to escape the clutches of the grim reaper is a bit of a wakeup call.
Then we had to wave goodbye to our faithful companion, Merlin, as he staggered over the rainbow bridge. We knew it was coming but it hurt just the same.
I have always had the mindset that I would live forever, as no amount of close calls and prompting has had any effect on me, up until now. I am beginning to feel differently these days as I’m certainly not as invincible as I thought I was.
Every time I step outside into my garden – I still call it that even though it looks like a jungle. Life out there is the same as always. Reassuring, in a way, that nothing has stopped nature in her tracks, at least not in my garden.
At the moment, my jungle is busy appreciating the heavy rain of the last two days. Soaking it all up and revelling in the freshness.
Some of the leaves are changing colour but whether that is the result of the long dry summer, or the beginnings of Autumn, only nature knows…
I swear he thinks he’s helping, and in a way I think he is!
Worth Waiting for
I fell asleep in my own bed, woke in another
Spent the night with a beautiful woman
Too soon, I found myself back in my own bed
Hugging air, wishing there were a way
to make the dream world a reality in my own time.
Realising this would take more
than the magic wand of Merlin to accomplish
My footsteps became heavy, my day dull.
The voice in the back of my head
A tormenting whisper, telling me
There is a way to stay beside her
That is when I remembered the date
of the newspaper on the side table,
two years from now, I will meet my future wife.
All I need now, is a way to speed time forward…
Merlin is an old boy now, but his favourite place is sitting on my desk, on whatever happens to be there!