Thomas the Rymer

 

If you would ride into the borderlands alone

Or following a queen or an indistinct light

If you would be separated from the sun

Remember the sound of the waves and, Thomas, ride on.

 

If you would be free, then follow

If you would live, then die.

 

If, Thomas, you wish to feel the rough texture of bread

Rasping your hands, the tang and sweetness of wine,

Wind in the leaves, hair in your face, stroking fingers, soft rain,

Ride on.

Remember, and sing the song.

 

Thomas the Rymer is a figure based on a historical medieval Scottish bard rumoured to have magical powers. One ballad describes how he meets the Queen of Elfland/ Queen of the Fairies/ Queen of Heaven who takes him on a journey out of the known world through darkness where he hears the sea.

 

I wrote this poem during a rush of uncontrolled creativity along with “Borderlands” and (to come) “Estuary Shore”.

 

Copyright Simon Banks 2013

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6 Comments

  1. If you would live, then die….a line I wish I had written. Lovely!

    Reply
    • The mythology around Thomas the Rymer is pre-Christian, but that line has echoes of Christianity: “Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it” (Luke 17:33).

      Reply
  2. I really like the way you speak to Thomas – bringing him to life here!

    Reply
  3. Very beautiful line you quoted…thank you for sharing it…..

    Reply

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