Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AVELINGLAS, by GORDON BOTTOMLEY



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AVELINGLAS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Now whether land or water win
Last Line: Who built his palace here?


NOW whether land or water win,
The sky will still be drear;
There's no place for King Avelin
Who built his palace here.

Between the river and the tide
Only one street may stand,
But once the streets were seven and wide
Before men came to the sand.

King Avelin steered out of the North,
In the time of the swans' flight;
And whence his dark ships issued forth
None knew but a fog-bank white.

"This lonely haven is deep and clear,
This land will hold my folk;
And I shall build my palace here,
Beyond the Hairfair's yoke."

His daughter had a golden gown
That left her young neck bare,
And in the tower among the town
She washed her golden hair:

Through the window-hole she bowed
And dropped it in the sky;
She dried it till that waving cloud
Could make men's hearts beat high.

She washed her hair, she combed her hair
By night as well as day;
She swung it on the midnight air
To meet the rising spray.

She combed, and wrought the waking spell
Of the oldest wind on the sea --
"For then," she said, "the sea's swell
Will bring a lover to me."

The sea grew, the sky sank;
Streets made the long waves fret;
The river ran without a bank;
The housewives' knees were wet.

Tower and town, pine-wood and willow
Melted as though by rain;
And once the trough of a piling billow
Was paved with a golden mane.

King Avelin, King Avelin
Won to no kingly bier:
Ah, where is now King Avelin
Who built his palace here?





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