Saturday, May 6, 2017

A. J. Huffman writes

I Travel the Doomed Hills of This Reality

A knight in shining misery, I quest 
for grail of midnight 
reprieve. My flag is failing, 
dissipating in the wind. Am I becoming 
invisible? Every footstep echoes 
with broken attempts at foraging a silence 
to claim as my own. My eyes are heavy. 
My armor, blooded by my thoughts. 
I am my own crown of thorns, 
pricking myself to see if I am something 
more than a memory 
time continues to forget.
 Image result for grail paintings
 The Dream of Sir Lancelot at the Chapel of the Holy Grail -- Edward Burne-Jones

1 comment:

  1. In this 1896 painting, Burne-Jones depicted the moment in Sir Lancelot du Lac's quest for the Holy Grail when he reached the chapel where it was kept. Falling asleep, he dreamt that the angel that guarded the Grail told him he would fail due to his adulterous affair with king Arthur's wife queen Guinevere, which eventually led to the fall of Camelot and the deaths of most of the Knights of the Round Table. (In the painting, Lancelot is actually a self-portrait of Burne-Jones; the painter may have intended the work to be an autobiographical allegory of his own affair in the late 1860s with his model, the Greek sculptress Maria Zambaco, which ended in 1869 with her trying to convince him to commit suicide with her via a laudanum overdose beside the Regent's Canal in the fashionable Little Venice neighborhood of London; nevertheless, she continued to model for him as a temptress or sorceress until 1874. ) In the 12th century Chrétien de Troyes had introduced the character Lancelot and his adultery with the queen, and his also introduced the Grail motif but it involved only Sir Perceval, not Lancelot, who did not become attached to it until the "Perlesvaus" written between 1200 and 1210. The theme of the painting ultimately derived from the early-13th-century French prose romances known as the "Lancelot-Grail" and the poetic works of Robert de Boron, who originated the story that Joseph d'Arimathe used the grail used by Jesus at "the Last Supper" to catch the last drops of his blood as he died; Joseph's family later took the Grail to the vaus d'Avaron (the valleys of Avaron), which eventually became known as "Avalon" ("the isle of fruit trees"), where (according to the 1136 "Historia Regum Britanniae" of Galfridus Monemutensis (Geoffrey of Monmouth) Arthur's sword Excalibur was forged and where he was taken after his fatal battle against Mordred at the battle of Camlann. Eventually, Thomas Malory gathered the materials from Galfridus and the French writers (and others) to compose the first major work of English prose, "The Book of King Arthur and His Noble Knights of the Round Table;" but when William Caxton printed it in 1485 he changed the title to "Le Morte d'Arthur" (The Death of Arthur). In his version of the cycle, Arthur learned that a particular seat at the Round Table will be filled by a knight who finds the Holy Grail. A stone was found with a sword embedded in it, but none of the Knights could withdraw the sword until Lancelot's illegitimate son Galahad arrived. At that point some Knights set out on a quest to find the Holy Grail, a vision of God that could be seen only by those who had led a pure life; Lancelot was only able to see a fuzzy outline in a dream; Perceval, who had committed only one sin, was only permitted to see it in visions; but Galahad was able to look into the Grail itself and drink from it though he died soon afterwards.


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