Orpheus Sings – The Quest of the Holy Grail

The Holy Grail

As the winters come at the end of the year
And when spring arrives to bring all good cheer
There is plowing, and sowing. When summer’s sun
Bestows warmth and heat upon everyone
On the sweaty peons at work in the field.
Until autumn seres, and the crops may yield
Golden husks of corn. Fruits and heads of kine.
Kegs are filled with ale. Broached the cask of wine.
As the winter comes, and the cycle ends.
But in Camelot – where does all this tend?

Winters come, with their cold, then the winters go.
But what tears raining constant, like falling snow?
Pouring down soft cheeks, to the woman’s breast?
She is surely one, grieving like all the rest
As a lady-love, as a gentle wife
Who bewails the curse, and the deadly strife
Brought upon them all. When the Table Round
To the quest made oath. All its knights were bound
‘Cepting few. All of those who so rashly made
Took the oath from pride. Or to help comrade.
Holy oaths once sworn, are full hard to break
As they later found with their lives at stake.
But they glibly swore, and the next day ride
Each in armour bright, each in polished pride.
And they go questing on for the Holy Grail
Thinking to succeed, while their wives bewail.
All their minds inflamed with unhallowed fame
Should that Holy chalice be theirs to gain.
Three years are they bound. Three years have they got
To bring back the Grail into Camelot
Or – released from oath – over lands and sea
Return home, to their lands, from their oaths made free.
If they wish. If they can.
But what years are gone
While by most is their questing still carried on?
As most Arthur’s knights, the Round Table’s stay
Spend themselves to the end, in their lands far away.

There are some, it is whispered – the rumors go –
Who walk trackless wastes, lost in biting snow
Wasting ebbing strength. They have lost their way.
They won’t see any more Britain’s light of day.

Arthur walks alone in his lonely halls
Waiting for some news. His the empty stalls
Of the steeds who had bourn the best knights in the land
Now all washed away like the tidal sand.
And he curses the oath that they rashly took
As his emptied kingdom he surveys with his look.
For he knows, he can sense, that the vultures rise
To strike Camelot. Which deserted lies.

So the Queen, Guenivere, too her looks are sad
Lancelot, he is gone in this quest gone bad.
Years have swallowed the men in this luckless quest
Has her Lancelot fallen with all the rest?
For she knows that he too, must as surely fail
As all those who are seeking the Holy Grail.

Listen to the whole poem!

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