Monday, October 31, 2011

Tuesday Poem--Mad Maud's Song

When Tom is far from me   the kingdom fails   The dales are brown   High 

are the downs   churchyards with briars grown    color welked from the sky 
Ravens hover over cribs   Hedgerows rattle eerily and sere    The moors 

are drowned   I wander through the halls of Albion   and eat the churlish air

There are lovers living    that yet lie together   gladnesse in their sleeping arms 

I early and alone    sit under a fruitless oak    fretting all the summerlong day

warbling out the rhyming tunes we’d sung   Gray goose and gander      waft 

your wings together    And carry the good king’s daughter      across the one-strand river

Blood bracken takes the woods   the towns dwindle away    gorse conquers

the meadow     hayricks shiver with plague   impaled in straw the courtly fool 

When Tom is far from me I cry      Jesu, Savior, can you come, can you come? Bring 

your keenest warrior angels, bring    For on this field of battle lie   oh lie    five young kings


  1. What pleasure, to have the return of Mad Maud. Odd, perhaps, to connect the word "pleasure" with the depth of her despair, which comes through so keenly. How, like an actor, you fully inhabit her character. xo

  2. The disjointed pattern of this is stunning. And such beautiful language - sere, welked, churlish.

  3. I love the unpunctuated lines - the gaps - the rhythms - the sounds - which all work to create the voice of this grieving woman - beautiful but broken

  4. A 'fey' poem, Melissa, and rightly so given it's Mad Maud.:) I was drawn in by the richness of the language and the way the poem wandered, both physically and in mind, like Maud ...

  5. Just this morning, Melissa, I was hoping we'd hear Maud's sad ringing song again. A joy, then, to come home late from work and find her here. Whatever oak our lady's sitting under always bears fruit.

  6. It is indeed a pleasure to see Maud return, Melissa. A kind of triumph, too? You are a wonder - the places you and your words take us. . . xo

  7. dearest M. Green:

    somehow, this is so fitting...the return of Maud, along with the not so pretty ending of autumn, the chill of November hard upon us...
    will you keep us huddled around the fire with your story-telling, as the dark nights come too soon?

    (i insist on cocoa and ginger cookies...)

  8. I may need more of Maud's history to know --

    who is Tom?

  9. Marylinn, it is interesting that you liken me to an actor who fully inhabits the character of Maud. I almost feel it's the other way round--that she taps me on the shoulder when she's ready to speak and inhabits me for the duration of her story. I can't seem to force her to materialize--it really does feel as though she comes to me and I just have to wait for her.

  10. Dear Elizabeth, so glad to see you here. The lack of punctuation and the use of space to represent breath or the beginning of a new thought has just evolved over the course of the nine poems I've written so far--it's become Maud's signature, and the odd words pulled from her time and the disturbances in her own mind.

  11. Yes, Mary, the breathlessness, the gaps, are meant to signify choking back tears or tears themselves. I do think of Maud as beautiful but broken. I only hope I'm taking her dictation properly!

  12. Hello, Helen--always glad when you come to visit. Yes, the poem wanders, and it is through the countryside and through the mind of poor Maud herself--bewildered and lost as she is.

  13. Dear Tim, I'm glad you've missed Maud and her 'sad ringing song.' I have to wait for her to come to me, so which of us is sitting under that oak tree?!

  14. Dear Claire, I'm glad you're on the journey with Mad Maud and me--who knows where she'll take us next? xo

  15. Susan, yes, I'll gather you all around the fire on these dark winter nights and tell more stories of Maud and Tom, and I agree, cocoa and ginger cookies are called for and will provide them! xo

  16. Dear Boodle, I've written a new post which hopefully will explain the history of Maud and her Tom. xo