Adam Veal

Adam Veal teaches in San Diego. He has been published in Conjunctions, LIT, and SpringGun.

And a lusty fellow he looked, the lord of that place

from Marie Borroff’s translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

And well-suited he seemed in Sir Gawain’s sight
To be a master of men in a mighty keep.

                   As the wine goes to his head.
                   The knight grows wondrous gay

                   Who shares his converse, sure
                   Shall learn loves’ language true.

They made as much merriment as any men might
                   Joy surpassed all measure
                   When the two men met that night,

He embraces his broad neck with both his arms,
                   Awaits the master’s pleasure;

There were brisk lads about with blazing torches
To see them safe to bed,
Tend to their tackle,
Leap lightly astride, lay hold of their bridles,
Master and men were mounted and ready,

Boning them from beneath,
With hard strokes
He brings forth the brawn,
                   Divides the crotch in two,
Bares his bright sword, and boldly advances;
                   He thought it long indeed

Of the great length and girth,
He hammered down hard, yet harmed him no whit,
Shoves it home to the hilt,
Then, foaming
                   come where none can spy;
Most grim when he grunted
Abruptly the brawny man breaks off the stroke,
And a little blood lightly leapt to the earth,

I hold you polished as a pearl, as pure and as bright.