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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 10, Number 4, December 2016

Gary LeBel
Cumming, Georgia, USA

Song for William the Red

You drank, caroused and filched a kingdom from your brother
while he marched on to holy carnage in Jerusalem;

you evicted your tenant families to make the New Forest yours,
for you alone to hunt 'the long-legged deer' you loved

far more than men. How even your nobles
must have feared the approach of scarlet hair and ruddy face

a-flush with ale and Norman blood, whose eyes might hold,
like Antony's, a charm that turns upon a heartbeat to murdering rage

but on that day, that mild and sunlit flowering's page,
an arrow was loosed in the pleasaunt aire

and some historians claim it pierced your breast
while others say that through an eye it snatched your life,

but it's straight through the heart I'm wishing, with Fortune's help,
being mostly peasant myself.

"Half-drunk at the reins, Milord,
if to believe in God you must,
then believe in forest curses
as your fingers cold and lifeless clutch
the sighted arrow."



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