Jane Pearn: Beowulf Goes To The Cinema

So! Landless but this night their leader
I take my throne; followers, the faithful three,
Athwart and abaft. Arms we scorn
But in the rubber-footed steel-sheath
Fashioned by the far-folk we set forth.

We take no easy road, choosing the Reivers' way,
The winding path, the widow-maker.
Across the sky a rain-carriage drives and rivers run.
Wipers slash their swords against the waters.

A road-knot slows our course, my foot slams sharp.
What is it that has stayed us, wishes harm?
A cursed monster, offspring of the moon?
Some taloned creeping creature of the night?

No. Before us on the darkened stone-stream
A blood-boltered bunny, blameless, lifeless lies.
The air is thick with grief, with Graham's groans,
The shrieks of Sheila, Tanya's tears.

Onward I say, do not succumb to sorrow.
Be resolute and fearless, for we must reach the place
Where serfs, churls and nobles, undefined by rank,
Sit alongside in pleasant seats of plush,
Where giants tell on silver screen their tales,
And stories of heroes, horrible to hear,
Thunder through the high-roofed watching-room.

On we must plough our patient course
Before the chiming of the eighth, last, bell
To the hall the people call – Pavilion.