Mocking The Raven

Written by: deb radke

When I was young, I would mock the raven,
Never dreaming her harsh call was a cry
Across the water to the castle of her brother
King Bram, the Raven, ruler of the British Isles.
Never did I dream of the destruction 
That would follow this desperate plea
Sent upon the wings of a blackened crow.

When I was young, I thought childhood
Would last forever; secure in my father's care,
Content in the loving arms of my mother,
Never did I dream of the devastating war
That would follow this messenger of our doom
Carried across the seas to inflict upon our land
A war of vengeful purpose and contempt.

When I was young, peace prevailed in our land;
Our King was just and beloved by his people.
Then came a marriage, an alliance between
Ireland and England.  Queen Branwen;
Discontent, lonely, hungry for power,
Hated by her court for the intrigue
And bloody sanctions imposed upon all
Who did not obey her sanctimonious whim;
Queen Branwen, beautiful daughter of England.

When I was young, I stood beneath
The blasted pine, looking up at the black bird
As she screamed out her litany of wrongs,
Watching as she lifted her wings to soar across the water.
My father, general of Ireland, fell upon the shores
Fighting to repel Bran's vengeful warriors;
My mother, condemned by her beauty
Fell among the vanquished women.

When I was young, I did not fear the raven;
Now I live in the court of the Raven King,
He, who conquered my people for naught as his sister
Queen Branwen, the White Raven, took her life
And walks now, shriven and pale, among the graves
Of the fallen warriors; forever singing her lament
Of sorrow and regret; far too late, far too late.

When I was young, I believed in the goodness of men.
Now I am old; my raven hair is streaked with silver.
The voice of Bran echoes through this palace
As he cries out exhortations to his conquering soldiers;
As he cries for peace and fellowship in his land.
When I was young, I would mock the raven;
Now I am old and have harnessed the power
Of the raven's call.  I cry to my people for vengeance;
I wait for their rescue, as I haunt the halls of the Raven King.



[Loosely based on the legend of Bran, the Raven King of England 
and Branwen, his sister, who was married to the king of Ireland.  
It is said that King Bran speaks still in England through the cries of the raven.]


{by Deb Radke -- written for the contest 'Among the Dead'}