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Kim Malinowski’s Robin Hood Poem Nominated



We are so proud to announce that Kim Malinowski's poem, "Robin Hood's Larder's Torn Roots" has been nominated for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association’s Rhysling Award! It was originally published in FTM in March 2023.


Kim, who is both our poetry editor and our tech coordinator, is a prodigiously talented poet and writer. The team counts itself lucky to have her and congratulates her on both the poem itself and the nomination.


Congratulations, Kim! We are happy, but not surprised, that your work is being recognized.


The poem is below.


Robin Hood’s Larder’s Torn Roots


I.


1961, 


mended Robyn of Loxeley,

Robin Hood’s Larder bared secrets away.

Hallow cavern sheltered legend,

revealed blushed history only once in harsh storm.

Edwinstowe holds fast Robyn’s love.

Mayde Marian’s bower slumbers beneath sacred loam. 

Legend echoes story echoes legend.

1266 before 1510 before 1840.

Love crooned centuries on tongue,

carried on parchment and wind.



II.

Sly. He tucks pink rose behind ear.

My eyes are his as he plucks petals 

dear to his forest.

Repurposed magenta 

blossoms snow over me,

find my collar, chest.

Spill onto war torn rock,

moss and lichen battling slate.

My eyes mute his arrows.

My winding hair combats Nottingham’s appeal.

Robin Hood could plunder, could steal, 

could learn to love.

Learn that he was magic now, 

lore more than man.

He winks—tells me I’ve been deflowered

with grin, boyish battle right.

Words echoing against breast,

belly, this is not who I am.

He knows my mind. Whispers,

“Marian, this is who you are to be.”

Love me … love me not… sighs

with each petal that falls.


III.


I lie beneath Craigleith sandstone,

Maiden, not Maryin, love not loved.

Still clover dances sunlight adventure.

Yew in hand, evergreen wafts tickle nostrils.

I could be shaft notched to bowstring,

wet fingers fanning flax into fury, 

and my love is my love is my love

if he would let me fly.


IV.


I pick Yew not too crooked or knobbed. 

Robin had done this. I can too.

I am no outlaw. 

No outcast.

Rub sinew on shaft, 

feathers to fletching,

bind silver point.

Right there, under that arch,

Robin’s hand outstretched—

ready to propel him to warm hand. 

We both fell laughing,

muddied with branches and mirth.

Forgetful moment of starving poor.

Now muddied,

I knew that there was life before this moment

and life after this moment

and in haze and muck,

I found who was real,

who was false.

The Sherriff always foe. 

Now my King.

Outlawed by love,

I abandoned my station. 

But Robin helped me back onto bridge

giggling ignoble, showing muscle and grace.

I took oath.

Double life.

Fashioned arrows instead of embroidering 

handkerchiefs and wasting time.


V. 


The Sheriff’s captive.

Knowing my hands splintered, torn by love, not

noble blood. 

Robin strode toward me

fearing no danger—

not the men that carried torches

the armored ones with long swords

the… Robin of Locklesey waltzed,

stomped, veered into the direction of the Sheriff.

The Sheriff leapt backwards to flee.

Robin Hood was not here. 

No one would be giving to the poor.

Lockesley was here for me. 

And I was here because of him.

My arrows, my letters to the King, my wisdom

not granted to me by Nottingham Palace.

Love was the worst of all. 

One of Robin’s arrows had long ago pierced me.


VI.


The forest holds secrets.

The silver arrow, disintegrated strings.

Trees that watched men sing, dance,

carry on freedom.

The man that loved too much.

The man that gave too much.

The tree that gave away its secrets.

The storm that carried away history,

bound it to legend,

whispered its sweet songs to me.


***

Note: Crook, David. Robin Hood: Legend and Reality (p. 252). Boydell & Brewer Ltd. Kindle Edition.


*names change spelling as folktales are written down over the centuries. They purposely change here as time goes forward.


The illustration is an advertisement for Douglas Fairbanks in Robin Hood, 1922.

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