March 28 Geoffrey Hill: Merlin

Before there was Gandalf, there was Merlin. He was the original magic using figure, but now he’s gone. And in a way this poem asks what did he take with him? Magic? Nobility? Is there a certain type of world, type of man that is gone with him?

“Create me a world with real tears, hard love as difficult as a child’s first steps,” says the poem “The End of Science Fiction”. It also has allusions to the bible and both talk about ancient, mythical kingdoms where people make bold moves and lived lives full of passion for the better or the worse. These were the men and women who are forged kingdoms and lead people to their destinies. Compare this to today where most things are molded in plastic.

Do I think everything was wonderful then and awful now? No. I wouldn’t be up for another bout of the Black Plague or the Children’s Crusade or the Spanish Inquisition.

On the other hand, I do kind of wonder what it would be like to live in a world without all of the noise of television, the internet, the ever-pervasive media. What would it be like to live in a world closer to the human touch, to live in a sense of wonder of Nature and the gentle movement of the rolling world? What would it be like to see the portents and the signs drifting through the clouds or a flock of birds, to have a sense of destiny. Would I feel as hum-drum as I do now?

Merlin

by Geoffrey Hill

I will consider the outnumbering dead:
For they are the husks of what was rich seed.
Now, should they come together to be fed,
They would outstrip the locusts’ covering tide.

Arthur, Elaine, Mordred; they are all gone
Among the raftered galleries of bone.
By the long barrows of Logres they are made one,
And over their city stands the pinnacled corn.

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About penneloppe

I like to write horror, dark fantasy and crime fiction. Sometimes, I'll write science fiction, but usually I like to write science fact. I also write screenplays and stage plays. My day job is office work. I live in Seattle and I have a cat.
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