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When I Awoke Crying- A Poem

Updated on June 29, 2011
King Arthur.
King Arthur. | Source

When I awoke crying but still in my bed,

with the dogs staring at me with a cock to their heads;

as if they were saying, "why are you weeping?

five minutes ago, you were sound asleep, dreaming!"

How right they would be, should this be the case,

for I was in fact dreaming of a man with no face.

A ruler of kingdoms and empires unfurled,

take the sword from the stone and inherit the world.

Of bonfires blazing- those wizards of light!-

pagan faces ablaze with the heat of the night.

with the thumping of drums and accompanying tune,

the shades in the trees and the howl of the moon.

A-whirling and a-twirling, strange hands tightly clasped,

'round that Beltane fire, and the scent of spring grass.

The man looks onto these celebrating ways with a deep-felt yearning

that belies his days;

no longer the Dragon, and replaced by the Cross,

a kingdom once powerful has all but been lost.

The figures continue dancing while remaining enthralled

with the night and the music and the magic of auld.

but alone in the castle, the man counts his faults

while thinking the truth- "the old ways are lost!"

A time of beauty and bliss and serene

the love of a people- a river, a stream.

for he reaped what he sowed and he sowed what he reaped,

that man in the castle, for whom I do weep.


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    • jjackson786 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Wow, thank you everyone!

      Frank, I appreciate your compliments. I almost wrote this as an afterthought of I dream I had, but for some reason I felt the need to articulate the sadness that can only be seen in a ruler that has disappointed his followers.

      Nils- I honestly wish I could say yes! How fun would that be? Even now, the people who participate say it's an life-changing experience.

      Hello, thoughts! Thank you for your comments. Arthur has been depicted as a wonderful person deep down, but he too (like so many other people these days) became caught up in politics. It is a sad but insightful story. Thank you for stopping by!

    • thoughts220 profile image


      7 years ago from India

      That was brilliant. It grabbed my attention as it flowed from one line to the next. Every sentence carefully worded and rhyming perfectly. To be honest, I was not aware of King Arthur's history but reading this surely added to my knowledge. The poem explores his mind, is insightful and definitely worth a read. Well written.

    • Nils Visser profile image

      Nils Visser 

      7 years ago from Brighton UK

      Ah, danced the Beltaine have you?

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      7 years ago from Shelton

      very strong, dramatic and compelling up and awesome :)

    • jjackson786 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      It would be King Arthur, although you could make a case for Jesus. I tried to emphasize Arthur's former paganism and his conversion to Christianity, which is where the ambiguity occurs. It also makes sense because it is well-documented that Arthur was beloved by his people, and his "people" are still waiting for his much-anticipated return to earth. Nicely done!:)

    • wayseeker profile image


      7 years ago from Colorado

      This poem, along with your bio, indicate you are a very deep and articulate thinker. I love the fact that this poem rhymes, and that all of them are true. So often the rhymed words in poetry feel forced...these do not.

      There is great command of vocabulary and imagery in here, and I sense something very profound going on just beneath the surface of what I can see. I am left wondering, however, who exactly is the man in the tower? Perhaps it's just my reading missing something. Is it Jesus? Is it King Arthur? Or is it someone else entirely? Knowing would help so much to crystalize the meaning of the imagery.

      In any case, this is wonderful work. I look forward to reading more as I can find the time.


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