Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist
poliphilo

Foret Des Dames Part 1

This is the poem with Pellinore in it- as requested by sovay .  It's an enormous thing. It'll take seven posts.


            Foret des Dames

 

"I come to these parts for the hunting, of course,"

Said the mild old man in the Harris tweeds,

Smoking his big Bavarian pipe

At the sunny close of the afternoon,

Perched on his shooting stick among sorrel

And kingcups down in the river field.

"Perhaps you've heard of the Questing Beast‑

A bit like a lion, a bit like a goat,

A bit like a serpent‑ yes that's the one.

Well I've been after it thirty years.

It's rife round here."  He paused; his eyes

Were suddenly shrewd and straight to the point.

 

"You're Pellinore," I ventured.

 

  "Yes,

And you are lost and hoping I'll show you

The way to Alexandria."

He rolled it out like a breaking wave.

 

"That's right," I said, surprised he knew.

 

He smiled.  "Ah well, I'd be happy to take you

Part of the way.  We're going to go

Through the Foret des Dames."  He pointed his pipe

At the wall of trees above the field.

"It's full of the ghosts of silly women;

Harmless enough, but a bit of a nuisance‑

Worse than these midges."  He rose and flicked

His shooting stick from the turf and sloped it

Over his shoulder.

 

    We crossed the field

And climbed the stile in a blackthorn hedge

And entered the wood.

 

A grainy, even,
           
Subaqueous light enveloped us.

It was cool and damp with wood‑doves calling

Far and near.  We waded in

Through lush greenery, briars and branches

Plucking our sleeves.


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