A Poetry Sporadical of Repeating Forms

A Ballade to Goodfellow Robin, Prince of Thieves

by Juleigh Howard-Hobson

They called you prince of thieves, among the rest
Of what they called you: devil, robin, green
Man of these woods. You’d think they would have guessed
That you are all these and none. I have seen
You flit among these paths. Regime Ancien.
And I have felt your presence in these trees
Above, below, surrounding what has been
And what must never be allowed to cease.

Herne the Hunter, some say you are; Best
Of their Pagan gods! Still others are keen
To call you May King, or the manifest
Of all our ancient needs from ancient genes
That have not outgrown their old routine
Of celebrating wildness and release,
Venerating everything that’s green
And what must never be allowed to cease!

Outlaw, Puck, rebel, you should contest
These titles, yet you don’t. But, still serene
You volley forth beneath these leaves, the best
Of England’s great green soul, overseen
By few merry folk these days, stuck between
These ancient woods and the antithesis
Of what you stood for, of what you still mean
And what must never be allowed to cease.

Whether you are called Rob of Loxley, Green
Man, Walteufel, hobgoblin, names like these—
We must not let go of what you have been
And what must never be allowed to cease.

[Originally published in Sommer and Other Poems (Ravenshalla Arts)]


Juleigh Howard-Hobson has simultaneously written literary fiction, formalist poetry and genre work, along with non-fiction essays and articles, purposely blunting the modern ‘brandable’ concept of artistic obligation to any single form or movement. Her work has appeared in such venues as The Lyric, 14 by 14, The Raintown Review, and Caduceus. She is the Assistant Poetry Editor of Able Muse.


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