Sir Lancelot was bad cess to his women.
From his courtship they suffered a loss of crown
Or death by drowning. Didn’t he have one leman
More hardy of heart than most, who refused to pine
At the top of the house when he left? In all
His ladied landscape surely there had to be
Some tower snugged by a marsh, a sea-stung hall
Holding a love light missed by Malory.
Some unrecorded damsel — perhaps a clever
Changeling skilled at weaving (they always were) —
No lily maid to seek doom in the river,
No queen to take the veil in her despair.
An artist — one to whom no farewell angers
Came with the dawn, nor tears. She wouldn’t have waited
For him to be up and off, before her fingers
Would fly to her wools to get the affair translated
To tapestry! Over the loom her shuttle
Would weave the sparkling pattern of her thought
Into mailed saints, and unicorns a-battle:
The heart’s brisk interlude sublimed to art.
And the web would grow larger than life, enormous,
Till it left no place for anything else in her room:
Not that she would have wanted anything else! —
But that, of course, in itself was a kind of doom.