Oh Guinevere

“. . . therefore all ye that be lovers call unto your remembrance the month of May, like as did Queen Guenever, for whom I make here a little mention, that while she lived she was a true lover, and therefore she had a good end.”
(1485) Thomas Malory, Le Morte d’Arthur

* * * * *

Oh Guinevere,
I love that you woke up that magnificent May morning
and knew the time had finally come
to let your heart lead you
and not your queenly head.

Oh Guenièvre,
J’aime que tu te sois réveillée en ce magnifique matin de mai,
sachant qu’enfin le temps venu
ta tête haute dépouillée de sa couronne
tu suivrais le chemin de ton cœur.

Oh Guinevere,
I love that you held your breath
while your ladies-in-waiting dressed you
and wove colourful spring flowers in your hair;
but then left them to titter
when you ran out still barefoot–
(though your feet barely touched
the cold stone steps
as you flew round and down the spiraled turret
and out the secret castle door).

Oh Guenièvre,
J’aime qu’en retenant ton souffle,
tes dames d’honneurs t’habillaient
tressant dans tes cheveux des fleurs printanières de toutes les couleurs,
et que furtivement tu les quittas
les pieds encore nus (touchant à peine les pierres froides des marches en spirales descendantes de la tourelle vers la porte secrète du château).

Oh Guinevere,
I love that you hurried along the path
through the green and sun dappled woods
to meet your lusty knight,
and that your beautifully stitched yellow silk gown
trailed along behind you on the muddy mossy ground.

Oh Guenièvre,
J’aime ta course folle sur le sentier
a travers la forest tachetée de reflets verts et ensoleillés 
pour rencontrer ton chevalier d’amour,
laissant à la traîne derrière toi dans la mousse boueuse 
ta belle robe de soie jaune aux fines coutures.

Oh Guinevere,
I love that when you reached that hidden place,
you threw yourself down on your back
on the damp fertile earth
and turned your face up to the morning sun,
and that you felt your body sink deeper,
crushing the tiny bluebells beneath you.
And I love that you let him undress you
so you could feel his sweet kisses
on your neck and shoulders,
and his warm breath whisper
in the hollow between your breasts.

Oh Guenièvre,
J’aime que lorsque tu atteignis ce lieu secret,
tu t’es laissée tomber sur le dos
sur la terre humide et fertile,
ton visage tourné vers le soleil du matin
laissant ton corps creuser la terre,
et, écrasées sous ton poids de mignonnes jacinthes des bois.
Et J’aime que tu t’es laissée dévêtir par lui,
pour sentir sur ton cou et tes épaules
ses doux baisers 
et, dans la vallée de tes seins 
un soupçon de son souffle.

Oh Guinevere,
I love that you lifted your hips
to the sapphire blue sky
on that fateful day.
I love
that you let him love you–
come what may.

Oh Guenièvre,
J’aime que tes hanches soulevaient
vers le ciel sapphire
en ce jour fatidique,
le laissant ainsi t’aimer,
quoi qu’il arrive
en ce mois de mai.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Watercolour painting and translation by: The beautiful and talented artist Elyse-Catherine Bisson. © Mon amie, tu es Guinevere! 

And then there is this:

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