Over a period, I wrote several poems which featured a dying or wounded magician, sometimes as the central character, sometimes mentioned in passing. This one was deliberately constructed to resemble a ballad, especially after the first introductory verse.
This is the poem that spellbound a group of 60+ people from the University of the Third Age group in Harwich when I read it at a festival event. It has been published in “Troubador”.
DEATH AND THE MAGICIAN
One day the magician came to me and said,
The fish are leaping in the yellow stream
The oak has turned into an acorn small
And I saw Death in dream.
And I saw Death in dream, he said,
And Death was very kind
He showed me where the roses grow
Though I’m old and blind.
I’m old and blind and lame, he said,
The sea is out of sight
The shell is empty on the shelf
Through the woken night.
The night is all around, he said,
It closes hour by hour
The voices make me fear, my friend,
Should a proud man cower?
But should a proud man cower, my friend,
I think perhaps he should
The wine is turning sour, my friend,
But the bread is good.
The bread of death is good, my friend,
The bread of life is fine
And now I’ve understood, my friend,
Will the starlight shine?
And will the starlight shine, my friend,
And will the starlight shine?
Now let us touch the vine, my friend,
And we will drink the wine.
copyright Simon Banks 2012