A Day in Camelot (Merlin’s Tale Part 1)

It was a day in the month of May
But not yet time for making hay.

Once more the world was gay and bright
For every courtly lady and her gallant knight

In Camelot.  King Arthur married his young queen
And then they picnicked on the castle green,

Munching chicken legs and mutton--
Wow!  she proved to be a real glutton;

But in those days of old--(I should say “yore”)
Ladies ate, and ate, and ate some more,

‘cuz ‘fitness’ had not yet come into style . . .
For that—she would have had to wait a while,

Like another fifteen-hundred years and even more,
But meantime, she wouldn’t fit through a wide barn door.

The knights quaff ale and brag of battle,
Dragons they had killed and such prattle

While the queen and her handmaidens sing
Songs of love--and long to try a risky thing . . . .

&*^$%!

(Oops! I spilled my coffee, ruined the pages,
Right up to the gloomy Middle Ages . . . .)

But that’s not the story I had meant to tell;
Mine is the one that doesn’t end too well.

Want to hear another stor-y
Exactly like the one befor-y?    Nooo!

© 2016 Jerry Kemp

Jerry Kemp

Jerry has written and published two books: A Bouquet of Poetic Thoughts II and Galloping Pegasus, four humorous novellas.  Retired from his horse ranch and other activities, Jerry lives with his wife, two dogs, two cats, and numerous birds at the outskirts of the Sonoran desert in Arizona.  Celebrating his 82nd birthday in October 2016, ignoring the onset of Parkinson’s symptoms, Jerry continues on in his pursuit of happiness. He still paints, enjoys classical music and poetry by the old masters and, of course--writing.

Day in Camelot (Merlin’s Tale Part 2 )

Hoof beats echoed through the dale;
A knight in armor galumphed up the hill:
Ga-lumph, ga-lumph, ga-lumph . . .
Then, “Whoa!” he cried, the steed stood still.

It’s Sir Lancelot, a brave and noble knight,
The champion of Queen Guinevere
Who soon succumbed to her charm--
And that is quite true, for I was there.

But, on with this tale of an illicit love:
The queen who had been Lance’s gentle foe
Turned into a (psst . . . adulteress).  And the king?
He knew, but kept on thinking, No, that can’t be so.

Soon, gossip flew left and right.  While the King
Was in Scotland--hunting for--whatever for,
Conspiring iron-clad men came charging
To the queen’s chamber and knocked down the door

To take her into custody.  Lancelothad flown the coop
But the queen was bound to the stake;
Some cretins yelled, “Okay, let’s light the pyre,”
But Lance rode up and ruined the royal bake.

He slew each and everyone that stood in his way
To save his Guinevere from a terrible fate,
Extinguished the flames that licked at her robe--
Did I mention she was just a trifle overweight?

(Here, in a quantum leap, Merlin has Shakespeare tell the henchmen)

“Marry, knaves, don’t make a lamp of her, because
Her rags and lard will burn a Poland winter, and
If she lives till doomsday, she will burn a week
Longer than the world!” 

(Oh, let’s get on with this doggerel!)

He heaved her upon his swift steed
And on they rode filled with remorse;
It’s true, I felt quite sorry for those two,
But mostly--for that poor swayback horse.

The queen lived out her final days
As a cloistered, even saintly nun,
While Lancelot became a repentant recluse--
And Merlin?  Heck, he wrote this just for fun.

© 2016 Jerry Kemp

Jerry Kemp

Jerry has written and published two books: A Bouquet of Poetic Thoughts II and Galloping Pegasus, four humorous novellas.  Retired from his horse ranch and other activities, Jerry lives with his wife, two dogs, two cats, and numerous birds at the outskirts of the Sonoran desert in Arizona.  Celebrating his 82nd birthday in October 2016, ignoring the onset of Parkinson’s symptoms, Jerry continues on in his pursuit of happiness. He still paints, enjoys classical music and poetry by the old masters and, of course--writing.

Gone Fishin'

Far outside the marina, fishing
for sea trout, I keep
one eye on my faltering bay boat’s engine,
the other
on the approaching fog bank.
Cobweb appendages
reach for me.

My companions, a dozen
Guinness beer cans, clatter and roll
empty, rejected
along the boat’s bottom.
Do I care?
I still have a 12-pack in my cooler.

Today, fishing for sea trout
is a bust;
might as well head in.
The engine sputters once, twice . . . 
stalls.  Like a “true” mechanic
I scratch my head.

The fog’s ghostly fingers probe,
then creep over the gunnels. 
The dense fog bank
carries within it
the echoing silence
of drowned men.

A grinning skull surfaces
from beneath calm waters—
white-boned with empty sockets
where once eyes
had been, but long ago
devoured by fish
and crab. 
It’s crowned with a cap
that bears a swastika insignia.

Now I remember—
the estuary had been visited
by German submarines
during a long-ago war.
Lost to history,
this one had been sunk,

A skeletal torso rises, fleshless
arms with bony fingers
grasp for the gunwale.
Too much beer,
I tell myself, blinking my eyes,
but the specter
heaves itself aboard—
standing
at attention before me. 

Courteously, he salutes:
“Guten Tag mein Herr,
is Chesapeake far from hier?
Ich bin thirsty; I want ein beer. . .
then torpedo
your boot.” 

Nonchalantly I point at my deck shoes,
“See? no ‘boot,’”
but then say, Oh, what the hell! and hand him
a brew. . . . 
Thinking of old sea stories, souls
of men lost at sea—
once more I try to restart
the engine. “Drunken fool,”
says the specter in English,
sounding a bit like me,
and points at the fuel reserve tank. 
(May have been me. Duhh!!)

I switch over to reserve--
The engine catches at once.
Leaving my phantom to the fog,
I glide toward the bustling marina. 
I don’t know what I saw—I just don’t know,
but I know for certain:
‘Guinness Dark’ is more than I can handle.
                CHEERS

© 2016 Jerry Kemp

Jerry Kemp

Jerry has written and published two books: A Bouquet of Poetic Thoughts II and Galloping Pegasus, four humorous novellas.  Retired from his horse ranch and other activities, Jerry lives with his wife, two dogs, two cats, and numerous birds at the outskirts of the Sonoran desert in Arizona.  Celebrating his 82nd birthday in October 2016, ignoring the onset of Parkinson’s symptoms, Jerry continues on in his pursuit of happiness. He still paints, enjoys classical music and poetry by the old masters and, of course--writing.