The Sonnets of Edward King

 

 

 I

With wonder I recall the day we met
Three years ago on eerie Salisbury Plain,
When you yourself delivered to the set
Your Highland cattle in the pelting rain.
While you dismounted from the battered truck
You’d driven down the treacherous, muddy trail,
My heart your gaze like Cupid’s arrow struck –
Transfixed I was, as in a fairy tale.
Doubtless, the irony I realized:
That such an English countess should appear
Among the phoney business which comprised
Creation of the movie Guinevere.
++And yet my wife, King Arthur’s queen, was fierce
++When saw she me, Sir Lancelot, you pierce.

 

 

      II

For many actors based in Hollywood
Fidelity to spouse is not the norm;
But, as regards myself, I feel I should
The reason for disloyalty you inform.
In short, the so-called simulated sex –
More manifest with each successive role
My wife performed – would me in secret vex:
Certain I was she’d sold her precious soul.
With this I coped by offering for free
My body to those women keen to take,
While hoping, all the while, the light she’d see
And so such shady stardom quite forsake.
++Thus, long before we got to Salisbury Plain,
++I’d served the queen’s two rivals, called Elaine.

 

 

           III

I was of course but quipping, when I said
I’d like to see your famous green estate:
The primal wood I pictured was your bed,
Where we our fertile plot would consummate.
Happy you were, when I at once agreed
That plowing with horse and share should give a man,
Along with sowing naturally his seed,
A satisfaction few endeavors can.
Imagine my ineffable delight,
The day you called me furtively to come:
Your husband was in Muckton for the night;
I’d taste your sweet organic pear and plum.
++Sir Lancelot, it seemed, could hardly fail
++To pluck the cup of foison – Holy Grail.

 

 IV

Now, whether you intended me to mock,
Or with another cunningly contrived,
Or felt I most required a sudden shock,
Or simply lost your nerve when I arrived,
Needless to say I thought myself betrayed,
On finding out that your idea of fun
Was spreading, singly, compost you had made
Beneath the cold, evasive English sun.
Thus, far from sowing wild organic oats
And sharing with sweet Eve forbidden fruit,
I spent the day with rancid billy goats;
The night, alone, in homespun sheets of jute.
++Before I left, I heard you someone ring
++And brag you’d just unseated Edward King.

 

 

 

 V

Your words, bewitching countess, me unhinged:
It seemed the force of life within had gone;
I felt you had my very soul infringed –
The light it ere released no longer shone.
That night, when filming was at last complete,
To weird Stonehenge on foot I made my way;
We’d shot there Merlin’s monumental feat:
Maybe to his great solar god I’d pray.
Alas, at length in darkness I was lost,
The clouds obscured the radiant stars and moon;
A swath of ghostly Salisbury Plain I crossed,
Imagining that Death would meet me soon.
++At twelve o’clock, while wading through a mire,
++Bombarded all at once I was with fire.

 

   VI

It didn’t take me long to understand
I couldn’t blame Apollo for this blitz:
The army, I remembered, owns the land
And foolishly against it crimes commits.
Just when I thought I’d drawn my final breath,
A fox appeared before me in a flash;
Like in some fable she delivered me from Death,
By demonstrating where I had to dash.
So now you know why I have since become
Not only a devout ecologist
But also, to the discontent of some,
A Gandhi-oriented pacifist.
++No matter what your aim, O faithful wife,
++You helped me redirect my wayward life.

 

  VII

Perhaps I also should you now inform
My own true wife and I indeed are one;
She too has fled the unrelenting storm
Of showbiz – bringing forth instead a son.
Like yours, green gardening is her special joy:
For almost three years waged amid the fight
Against the companies which still employ
Those practices that deepen the earth’s plight.
Firmly she sues the unenlightened Bush
To combat global warming, bid for peace –
Before the swollen oceans surely push
Us from our coasts, and terror strikes increase.
++In sum this heroine, I hold so dear,
++Has shunned the tragic fate of Guinevere.

 

Jerusalem
3 October 2007