Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Cornish Giant

Bolster, Bolster, wicked giant,
Cornwall trembles at his roar.
Stay the plough, boys, guard your livestock,
tie your boats and flee the shore.
Haste men, save your wives and children;
close the shutters, bolt the door.

Bolster, Bolster, monstrous giant;
spies sweet Agnes on the hill,
dreaming of her Cornish laddie,
netting pilchards, fishing still.
Bolster's shadow falls upon her;
maiden's sun-warmed skin turns chill.

Bolster, Bolster, brutish giant;
sees the maid and feels love's dart.
"You shall be mine," Bolster bellows
"nevermore from me to part."
Agnes swoons, moon-pale with terror,
answers Bolster with a start,

"Bolster, Bolster, noble giant;
prove to me your heart is true.
Seven tasks you must perform.
Once done, I shall marry you.
Have you spirit for the challenge?"
Bolster pledges, "Yes, I do!"

Bolster, Bolster, once-proud giant;
one last task must be achieved.
Mighty deeds he has accomplished,
monsters fought and boulders heaved.
Six hard trials the Bolster's suffered,
unaware he's been deceived.

Bolster, Bolster, beaten giant,
follows Agnes wearily
to a crevice on the clifftops,
high above the foaming sea.
"Fill this small hole with your blood,"
says Agnes, "and your wife I'll be."

Bolster, Bolster, dying giant,
endlessly his dark blood flows
down the hole, through unseen cracks,
staining red the rocks below.
One last, longing gaze at Agnes,
Bolster slumps, his eyelids close.

Agnes, Agnes, Cornish saviour,
feasts prepared, and glasses raised.
Cottage doors thrown wide and open,
sheep and cattle safely graze.
"You have saved us, brave St Agnes,"
Cornish voices lift in praise.

Still today St Agnes' voice is
heard amid the ling and gorse,
soft through damping Cornish drizzle,
singing still of her remorse;
weeping on the red-stained boulders,
where the Bolster's blood once coursed.

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