Posted by: battingsecond | January 1, 2011

Poem: Breton Breeze

Breton Breeze

(Written to Celebrate Debussy’s La Mer)

Dappling mist wettens my face at Pointe du Raz on the end of Brittany.
Here is Finisterre and here is where man’s land yields to the great sea.
A light green boat has harvested lobster and crab with defiance and respect;
It chugs and bobs back into Concarneau’s harbor home.
The Bishop throws his fish back into the fountain
And Neptune hurls his trident across the waves and it comes
Back because he makes it so.

Once there was forest behind me; in Breton tongue they called it Argoat.
A band of noble knights once served a King and Arthur was his name.
The mists wend and wander by and round and beneath and through,
Through time to a time when Launcelot rode a thumping horse amidst
The solemn silent menhirs, megaliths laid down even further long before.
Gueneviere looked to the redglone horizon and saw her man against the skirling sky;
She held her breath and his in her soul.
The torches burn down and a tear flows down the stone wall.

Here in the seaside fringe of the Argoat a monk
Shares wine and bread with me. He keels into the wayside chapel and prays a
Pardon for all of us, and each one.
Bells peal and the vagabonde troupe of jugglers and actors and dancers come
For three days the village stops its work and we delight
In these poor but envied strangers with no home but everywhere.
And the Bishop eats half the fish and throws it back into the fountain.
And the next day he catches it again and it is whole.

The hero Guesclin de Bretagne fights in single combat Thomas of Canterbury and
The Englishman falls, and nexterday De Gaulle calls from England
And every son of the Ile de Seine sails across the water and they are all
Knights in a night of history.
The sons steam back and make it theirs again;
It is their Assignment in Brittany.

Drink with me now the light green muscadet wine and we have fish and bread.
Cana and Armorica wed and this light is only in Brittany.
In Breiz I’ll say God give you this day and peace be with you, friend.
Armorica, Armorica God’s grace upon thee shed.
The Bishop’s fish swims in a fountain in the sea now and
Poseidon presides in state and sleep:
We close the door of our bed and it is warm inside.

I feel the mist around me now and feel and know old things of bone.
The music rising well in me to greet and meet the seacoast crashing spray;
The mystic earth and ocean touching, one, and
The sky a luminescent magic grey.



  1. Written in 1988 when I began to research Arthurian legends originating in the Celtic languages such as Gaelic and Breton. Eventually led me to write a novel, Horse of the Emerald Isle, the story of Camelot retold from the point of an Irish horse.

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