Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE BARDS, by ROBERT RANKE GRAVES



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THE BARDS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The bards falter in shame, their running verse
Last Line: To stir his black pots and to bed on straw.
Subject(s): Bards; Poetry & Poets


The bards falter in shame, their running verse
Stumbles, with marrow-bones the drunken diners
Pelt them for their delay.
It is a something fearful in the song
Plagues them—an unknown grief that like a churl
Goes common-place in cowskin
And bursts unheralded, crowing and coughing,
An unpilled holly-club twirled in his hand,
Into their many-shielded, samite-curtained,
Jewel-bright hall where twelve kings sit at chess
Over the white-bronze pieces and the gold;
And by a gross enchantment
Flails down the rafters and leads off the queens—
The wild-swan-breasted, the rose-ruddy-cheeked,
Raven-haired daughters of their admiration—
To stir his black pots and to bed on straw.





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