WINNERS OF THE 2018 ARKANSAS SCOTTISH FESTIVAL POETRY CONTEST

 

Third Place  -  Kenton Adler, Batesville AR

The Coming of Arthur

       1)     At the Feast of Christ, a trial
               to measure men by strength and guile.
             
 Some from every kingdom came
               to try a hand, and make a name.

       2)    A tournament, by Merlin called
               to draw together great and small
               that by a test of steel on steel
               true mettle might there be revealed.

         3)    Sir Ector and his entourage
                sought a place wherein to lodge.
                His own son, Kei, though young in years
                would try himself against his peers.


         4)   Snow lay soft upon the ground
                and on the streets of London town.
                Then, weirdly, in Westminster yard
                appeared a stone that held a sword.

 

          5)    The lesser-known dukes, earls, and knights
                 each stood to prove his worth and might.
                 For he who drew that sword from stone
                 would sit upon the British throne.

 

           6)    Every noble knight assailed
                 the stone and sword, and each man failed.
                 So, leaving there the Heaven-sent,
                 they turned once more toward tournament.

 

            7)    Horses thundered.  Sword and shield
                  flashed until a foe might yield.
                  As his turn came Kei, alarmed
                  realized he’d come unarmed.

 

            8)    His weapon somehow left behind,
                  adopted brother sent to find.
                  The inn was locked.  He knocked for naught.
                   Nowhere could a sword be bought.

             

            9)   Young Wart wept open in dismay.
                   He could not aid his brother, Kei.
                   Walking empty streets, he cried,
                   Until Westminster church he spied.

           10)    A light from high above now shone
                    upon the sword thrust in a stone.
                    Caring not for consequence,
                    he grasped the hilt and pulled it hence.

 

           11)     He swung it once around his head
                    marveling at the balanced blade.
                    This sword would meet his brother’s need,

                     and so he set forth with all speed.

 

           12)     Through deserted streets and down,
                     to the crowded tilting ground.
                     Arthur did his brother greet,

                      the sword placed at the other’s feet.

 

          13)      Kei recognized at once the thing.
                      “The sword is mine,” he cried.  “I’m KING!”

                       Sir Ector said, “Upon your life!”
                      “How came you by this noble knife?”

 

           14)      Unto his father Kei spoke truth.
                      He pointed to the nearby youth.
                     “My foster brother brought it me,
                     and he by right the king ought be.”

 

           15)     Then Ector led his untried sons
                     back to where the deed was done,

                      and faithful stepson once again

                      settled sword where it had been.

 

           16)      Calling for the Bishop’s aid

                      The knights and lords once more were bade
                       return unto that holy ground

                       to test the blade where it was bound.

 

           17)       Each of them unto the last

                       attempted, but the stone held fast.
                      When all had tried, and none prevailed,
                      Ector then his ward unveiled.

 

           18)      “No blood of mine, this noble youth,”
                       the elder knight revealed forsooth,
                       but son of Uther, raised by me
                       behind a shroud of secrecy.”

 

            19)      Then at last his name was called,

                       And Arthur stood before them all.

                       There before their wondering eyes
                       he effortlessly drew the prize.

 

             20)     Sheriffs, lower kings, and earls
                       took to knee, and banners furled.
                       Some began to cry and sing,
                      “Hail to Arthur, rightful King!”

             21)     And so it was within that hour
                       chivalry began to flower.
                       The rising of an empire’s sun.
                       The age of Arthur had begun.



Second Place -  Robert McMinn - Glenlyon


Bridget and the Bagpipe

On Saturday it rained and poured,

lightning flashed and thunder roared.

She hated to be stuck inside.

“I’m bored to death,” young Bridget sighed.

 
She made a puzzle, played with blocks,

she even rearranged her socks.

She read a book, and then she drew,

but soon ran out of things to do.


To her mother, Bridget cried,

“There’s NOTHING to do, here inside.”

“Bridget, don’t be so dramatic.

Why don’t you explore the attic?”

“Up the stairs you’ll find a trunk

filled with lots of family junk--

a wealth to occupy your mind.

Who knows what you just might find?”

 

It pleased Bridget beyond measure

that she could search for hidden treasure,

buried in that dusty case

high up in the attic space.

 

She popped the lid and dug around

and just what do you think she found?

A shirt, a dress, a coat, a hat,

a collar that might fit a cat.

 

And then, to her complete surprise

something magic caught her eyes.

She gathered up and took it down

to ask her mother what she’d found.

“A bagpipe, dear,” her mother said,

as secretly she filled with dread.

“Blow Bridget, hard as you can.

Eeek!” said her mom, “We need a plan.”

  

“First you’ll learn your notes and scales

and practice very hard.

Play practice chanter in the house

And bagpipes outside in the yard.”

 

Bridget got a chanter

so she could practice every day.

Then she got a teacher

who would showed her how to play.

 

She practiced in the morning.

She practiced after school.

She practiced in the kitchen,

in her room, and by the pool.

 

She practiced playing marches.

She practiced playing airs.

She practiced walking ‘round the house

and sitting in a chair.

 

She practiced her embellishments

while lying on her bed.

She practiced ‘til her lips were chapped

and ‘til her face turned red.

 

But before she knew it,

she was playing lots of tunes

Bridget was surprised a bit

that she’d caught on so soon.

Now, Bridget is a piper.

She wears a kilt and bonnet.

She fills the bagpipe up with air

and plays great music on it.

Bridget pipes most every day

and when at last she’s done,

she thanks her mom for helping

to make her music fun

Set your mind right to it.

You can do most anything.

As with once-forgotten pipes,

a little girl made sing.



First Place - Ricky Pittman - Monroe, LA

The Murder of John the Red Comyn at Greyfriar’s Church
Feb. 10,  1306


John the Red and Robert the Bruce
Met on a cold day in Dumfries
The victory at Roslyn forgotten,
Because of pride and jealousy.

Bruce forged a plan of murder,
His  betrayal fed by greed,
With his brothers he conspired,
To commit the bloody deed.

They met at Greyfriars Churchyard,
No love lost between them,
And there before the high altar,
Bruce’s sgian-dubh stabbed Comyn.

Friars took Comyn’s confession,
Before he was dragged outside,
Bruce’s men then used their swords,
Until Red Comyn died.

An important political murder
On Bruce’s steps to the throne,
To lead the Scots to Bannockburn,
With Bruce as king alone.