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He brushed his wavy hair from his pale face
Just like his horse was shaking off the flies
While following behind. Their limping pace

Was slow, although the city rang with cries
Surprised from friends who thought that he was dead--
But still his head slumped down, and still his eyes

And clammy cheeks were flushed with streaking red,
Though they were running, dashing to his side.
And then his young brother, half-laughing, said,

"Oh god, I thought--you know we thought you died?
That awful task--you left, you rode away--
And then did not come back. Oh, how I cried!

I thought you died. On last year's new-year's day
A year since you had left, they all agreed
You must have failed your quest, but I said nay--

I knew my brother Gawain would succeed
Although it seemed to all impossible.
But you did not come back, and I concede

I thought you died." And then his voice sunk low
From where it had been shouting in delight,
And then he said: "But brother, may I know--

Your hair is snarled, unkempt--your eyes are bright
As if with tears; Your horse seems wounded too.
Your awful task--was it so hard a fight

That still some evil lingers over you?
And now I make it worse! I cannot know
The torments of the hells you have walked through

But surely I have sense 'nough to forgo
This questioning. Brother, please answer me!
Each second of your silence is a blow

Against my heart, which only wants to see
The brother that I love alive and well."
And all the crowd was waiting quietly

To hear Gawain's reply, to hear him tell
Of his heroic deeds, for he of old
Would often sing of them. But his head fell

And he drew his limbs closer, as if cold
Was creeping up along his silver mail,
And murmured that his story he would hold

Until the King himself asked for the tale.
So this is the beginning of the Arthurian poem I promised, and have been working on for quite some time now. Currently I have close to 40 stanzas completed, and I still haven't actually gotten to the main story of the poem. So I doubt I will post it all here, but here is at least a portion of what I have done!

This poem is basically influenced from two primary sources--"Gawain and the Green Knight" and Morris' "Defence of Guenevere". It will probably make more sense if you've read "Gawain and the Green Knight", at least, but even if you haven't I would really, really appreciate any feedback you might have. This is my longest poem and the first really telling a story. I would like help.

So some questions:
First impressions of Gawain?
Of his brother?
Meter issues? (I know there are some)
Do you like it thus far?
Anything else, at all? Any comments/critiques would be so helpful!

Thank you!
Add a Comment:
 

Daily Deviation

Given 2014-01-24
:iconinknalcohol:
Wow! That's all I can say right now.

I've always been a fan of the legends around King Arthur and his Knights. The stories capture you and hold your attention because you're easily able to root for them. You want to see the knights succeed in whatever their task is.

And you do not fail in accomplishing this.

Your description of his appearance as he returns captures my attention right out of the gates. It's obvious he's been through hell and back and I wanna know the story.

The way the brother rushes up and greets Gawain is exactly what you'd expect of a younger sibling that never gave up on seeing his older brother again!

And the end. Oh, the end. It's truly evil because I wanna know what happened. I can't wait for the next part.
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
13 out of 13 deviants thought this was fair.

The Artist has requested Critique on this Artwork

Please sign up or login to post a critique.

:icongdeyke:
GDeyke Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2014   Writer
I'm terrible at commenting on poetry, but I really liked this. Have you finished the whole poem?
Reply
:iconelksongredfeather:
elksongredfeather Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist

Gawain seems like he's gone through some tough times (I wonder what?) and he brother seems like he's a pretty nice guy that really cares for Gawain :)

I love it so far! I can't wait to read more! Congrats on the DD, it is well deserved :D 

Reply
:iconalphabetsoup314:
alphabetsoup314 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hello, and congratulations on the DD! I am here to offer a review on behalf of Criticarium

First impressions of Gawain?
Not much so far, only that he's tired and wounded, and suffered some great loss. 

Of his brother? 
I get this image that he's all like: HELLZ YEAH I knew you were alive all this time! Take that haters :happybounce:  ............ wait a sec, why are you bleeding? :ohnoes:
I get the impression that he's idealistic, though not necessarily naive or oblivious. I also get the impression that he cares about Gawain and looks up to him. 

Meter issues?
You used enjambment quite well with the last line of (most of) the stanzas, it helped keep things consistent. With some of the stanzas near the end, without the enjambment it actually got harder to figure out the meter. 

Also, it's a little hard to figure out how to read the middle lines sometimes; some of them are longer and have a lot more syllables. I can suggest one change for this line: Surprised from friends who thought that he was dead  ...to... Surprise from friends who thought him dead. It simplifies the number of syllables in the last couple of feet, and also gives the diction a more archaic feel. 

Do you like it thus far?
Yes, it has me interested in what happens next; I would really like to read the rest, if you have it floating around somewhere. I like the formal, romantic tone that you adopted for this piece, it really does remind me of a fairy tale, where all the characters speak with flowery, poetic language. 

Other comments:
I'm not really sure why it is, but the first stanza feels a little more modern in grammar and diction than the rest of the piece, it sticks out to me (not in a good way). Maybe I'm just imagining things :shrug:

Oh god, I thought -- God should be capitalized here; I imagine that they believed in God. 

On last year's new-year's day -- Love this line! The repetition gives it a very musical feel. 

That still some evil lingers over you?... While it has some meter issues that I can't quite put my finger on, this stanza showcases the flowery speech that I love about this piece. 

Overall, while I'm not too familiar with Arthurian legend, I loved the romantic feel to the piece, and will be eagerly awaiting more. 
Reply
:iconlibbykeppen:
LibbyKeppen Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
OMG I love Gawain so much ah!  I am so glad this got a daily deviation, it is so deserving.  I also love the obvious influence from Gawain  and the Green Knight.  The flow of this is very appealing and I can't quite pinpoint what it is so it kept me interested throughout.  And the creative use of dialogue here was excellent too.  I am so happy for you, congrats!
Reply
:iconshadowedacolyte:
ShadowedAcolyte Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014
I think you're largely fine on the meter. There are a few hiccupy places, but almost all the old poems had those, because perfectly metered poetry actually gets mind-numbing and you lose the actual words in the meter. It wasn't choppy enough to throw me off, so that wasn't bad (except maybe "impossible" since it's a tertiary rhyme).

I would continue to read more, if it were available. Thanks for the read.
Reply
:iconsakohju:
sakohju Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014
Wow! Really rich poem~ I'd love to read the rest!
Reply
:iconayeaye12:
AyeAye12 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014  Student Writer
Please, please please do post the whole poem. This is brilliant stuff. Always good when peeps get classicalness spot on. 
Reply
:icontruthistruth:
TruthisTruth Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Congratulations on the Daily Deviation! :clap:
Reply
:iconfalconfate:
FalconFate Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow…

You should become a scholar! This is AMAZING!!
Reply
:iconkarinta:
Karinta Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014  Student General Artist
What's the form????
Reply
:icongryffgirl:
Gryffgirl Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014
Very beautiful poem--I love the Arthurian theme!  Congratulations on your DD! :clap:
Reply
:iconrobson666:
robson666 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014  Hobbyist
congratulations to the well deserved Daily Deviation Clap
Reply
:iconlintu47:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Congrats on the DD! :dalove:
Have a nice day! :party:
Reply
:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
dA hipster stamp by MirachRavaia
Congrats to the DD :D
Reply
:iconxlntwtch:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2012   Writer
:iconcongratssignplz: ...Is this a sestina? It seems like one. (I'm an ignorant prose writer...)
I know the tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight very well and enjoy seeing it brought to life again here. Thank you. :+fav:
Reply
:iconwilliamszm:
williamszm Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012  Student Writer
I don't think it's a sestina--though I'm not really familiar with that form. I stole the form from William Morris' Defence of Guenivere.

And thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)
Reply
:iconxlntwtch:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2012   Writer
a late...:iconyourewelcomesignplz:
Reply
:icondailylitdeviations:
DailyLitDeviations Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2012
Your wonderful literary work has been chosen to be featured by =DailyLitDeviations in a news article that can be found here: [link]

Be sure to check out the other artists featured and show your support by :+fav:ing the News Article. Keep writing and keep creating.
Reply
:iconwilliamszm:
williamszm Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you!
Reply
:icontheglassiris:
TheGlassIris Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Hello, I will be critiquing your piece on behalf of :icongrammarnazicritiques:. I will do my best to help by suggesting improvements that can be made and general feedback on aesthetic appeal.

First impressions of Gawain? (PTSD, trauma, hundred-yard stare, all the symptoms of shell-shock. I recommend intensive therapy without opiates or drugs of any kind)

Of his brother? (Obviously desperate to help, too young to understand his brother's circumstances, too eager to come off as more than an annoyance to Gawain, a good choice for second speaker as his concerns for his brother in the first part contribute greatly to the audience's understanding and assumptions about Gawain's circumstances.)

Meter issues? (I know there are some)

(a lot of year's here)
I thought you died. On last year's new-year's day
A year since you had left, they all agreed

Do you like it thus far? (very interesting, the separation of parts was a good choice)

Anything else, at all? Any comments/critiques would be so helpful! (for such a long piece your pacing is very good and your enjambment brings attention to all the right places. I'm not a fan of long ballads and Romanticist works with traditional or formal rhyme and meter, so for you to have captured my interest like that is a good sign indeed.)

He brushed his wavy hair from his pale face (a slow intro here)
Just like his horse was shaking off the flies (nice, implies tiredness)
While following behind. Their limping pace (great enjambment!)

Was slow, although the city rang with cries (a wonderful line that shows how lauded a warrior he is and how anticipated his return was)
Surprised from friends who thought that he was dead--
But still his head slumped down, and still his eyes (nice use of the double noun/verb of "still")

And clammy cheeks were flushed with streaking red, (what red? red from what? "And clammy cheeks were flushed, streaked with red,")
Though they were running, dashing to his side.
And then his young brother, half-laughing, said,

"Oh god, I thought--you know we thought you died? (the use of dashes is a nice touch)
That awful task--you left, you rode away--
And then did not come back. Oh, how I cried!

I thought you died. On last year's new-year's day
A year since you had left, they all agreed
You must have failed your quest, but I said nay-- (the implication that he had left on some great quest and then expected to return home triumphant, combines with his slouched, defeated demeanor quite nicely)

I knew my brother Gawain would succeed
Although it seemed to all impossible.
But you did not come back, and I concede (your rhyming is just remarkably smooth and lyrical)

I thought you died." And then his voice sunk low
From where it had been shouting in delight, (here it begins to slow a bit and as a reader I can tell that it's getting serious)
And then he said: "But brother, may I know--

Your hair is snarled, unkempt--your eyes are bright
As if with tears; Your horse seems wounded too.
Your awful task--was it so hard a fight (This.)

That still some evil lingers over you? (this stanza break right here is brilliant. Implying that his defeat has instilled evil within him so clearly it almost seems like you can literally see the dark, disappointed looks in his eyes, reflecting in the crowd)
And now I make it worse! I cannot know
The torments of the hells you have walked through

But surely I have sense 'nough to forgo
This questioning. Brother, please answer me!
Each second of your silence is a blow

Against my heart, which only wants to see
The brother that I love alive and well."
And all the crowd was waiting quietly

To hear Gawain's reply, to hear him tell
Of his heroic deeds, for he of old (a wonderful stanza that displays the hopefulness of the crowd and the imminent disappointment that they soon face.)
Would often sing of them. But his head fell

And he drew his limbs closer, as if cold
Was creeping up along his silver mail, (a beautifully foreboding image)
And murmured that his story he would hold

Until the King himself asked for the tale. (fantastic ending, can't wait for more)

Hope this helps.
Reply
:iconwilliamszm:
williamszm Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2012  Student Writer
Thanks! I'm so glad to took the time to critique this so thoroughly--I really appreciate it!
Reply
:iconxxbleedingstars:
xXbleedingstars Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2012
I read Gawain and the Green Knight and I enjoyed reading this
Reply
:iconwilliamszm:
williamszm Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you!
Reply
:iconmirachravaia:
MirachRavaia Featured By Owner May 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Hello, I linked to your piece here -> [link]
#dALinkSystem
Have a nice day! :wave:
Reply
:iconwilliamszm:
williamszm Featured By Owner May 8, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you! :)
Reply
:iconladyofgaerdon:
LadyofGaerdon Featured By Owner May 1, 2012  Professional Writer
:wave: Hi! Your piece has been featured by The Favorites Project at #LITplease!
Reply
:iconwilliamszm:
williamszm Featured By Owner May 2, 2012  Student Writer
Wow, thank you so much!
Reply
:iconladyofgaerdon:
LadyofGaerdon Featured By Owner May 2, 2012  Professional Writer
You're very welcome. :)
Reply
:iconinsomaniac55:
insomaniac55 Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2012   Writer
This is pretty good. It's tough to write epic poems in general, but you pulled it off. The one thing that did bother me was in how the dialogue between Gawain and his brother was shown. I think it would help to italicize the dialogue in order for the reader to know explicitly that the two are talking to each other. Don't get it wrong, The despair in the words coming from Gawain's brother and the worry in Gawain's own words were on point.
Reply
:iconwilliamszm:
williamszm Featured By Owner May 1, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you for the helpful critique!
Reply
:iconnight-ice:
Night-Ice Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Wow, great piece. :D I liked this poem a lot even though I have almost zero knowledge of the tales or Arthur and his knights- although you've inspired me to go look some up. The ending really struck me, although I know it's just the start of something more.
Reply
:iconwilliamszm:
williamszm Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you! It took me awhile to figure out where I should cut it off to post it here, so I'm glad you think I picked a good spot.:) I am also happy to here that even people who don't know the story are able to enjoy this!
Reply
:iconinknalcohol:
inknalcohol Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012   Writer
You've been featured in #WritersInk's Weekly Roundup: [link]
Reply
:iconwilliamszm:
williamszm Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012  Student Writer
Wow, thank you so much!
Reply
:iconmonstroooo:
monstroooo Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I really enjoyed this. I have a passing knowledge of Arthurian legend, although I confess I'd forgotten Gawain's tale (I've had to have a little refresher).

What I really like about this - it struck me on the first read, and holds true of Gawain's story - is the way Gawain returns in shame and humility from his quest. The contrast between Gawain and his talkative brother is strong, and it really shows how Gawain's adventures have influenced him. I also like how Gawain doesn't say a single word - his final dialogue isn't transcribed, as if to accentuate the impression that he barely said anything at all.

Very fine work - I'd be most interested to read more!
Reply
:iconwilliamszm:
williamszm Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you! I was hoping that contrast would be noticed. :)
Reply
:iconvigilo:
Vigilo Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2012  Student Writer
This is lovely! I love your rhyming here - it's beautifully free, and not stilted sounding at all. (I'm not so good on the metre, but it seems fine to me!). I enjoyed it very much so far. My first impression of Gawain was of a subdued man, and his brother a cheerful guy who becomes more serious as he takes in Gawain's attitude. (Knowing the story, I know why he's subdued - or I think I do, at any rate!)

Two really small things (that are only suggestions and really small things and can be ignored):
"last year's new-year's" - I understood what you mean here, but I stumbled a bit at the repetition. I'm afraid I can't find any suggestions to change it, especially considering I don't know which metre you're using. Maybe using the word "yesteryear" or even "twelvemonth" somehow?

"I concede / I thought you died" Maybe a comma (or a colon, depending on your intent) after concede? I stumbled a bit because I didn't realise that Gawain's brother was addressing Gawain at first.

I love your ending. The rhyme really outdoes itself there, near the end - "And he drew his limbs closer" is a very nice image, of a sort of huddling knight, and I like it a lot, and the last line. Very well done - thank you for sharing. :heart:
Reply
:iconwilliamszm:
williamszm Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you for the compliments, and the helpful suggestions. :) I really appreciate it!
Reply
:iconvigilo:
Vigilo Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2012  Student Writer
It was my pleasure utterly! :heart:
Reply
:iconeloradust:
EloraDust Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2012
This is incredible so far! I didn't really get too much about Gawain from my first read-through, though it seemed almost like he had lost his eyes because of "..still his eyes/ And clammy cheeks were flushed with streaking red". I'm not sure if that's what you meant to portray or not ^.^ Apart from that, it was apparent that he had experienced a great change from how he used to be.
Nothing really stuck out too much with the meter, it all flowed quite smoothly when I read it.
Overall, it sounds awesome! It would be great to read the whole thing sometime if you ever did post it ^.^
Reply
:iconwilliamszm:
williamszm Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you! And no, I didn't mean he had lost his eyes--though I now see how it might be read like that!

Thanks again. :)
Reply
:iconeloradust:
EloraDust Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2012
no problem =)
Reply
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