Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The dream of Camelot

The musical 'Camelot' has been my favourite since the day it first hit the cinema screens.

I recently rediscovered a copy I had made of the music from the film and had forgotten about. I soon found that I remember a large proportion of the worrds of all the songs, so I feel a little sorry for anybody who has had the misfortune to hear me singing or humming them to myself during the last few days.

Enjoying the music, it occurred to me for the millionth time that we all need a Camelot. The Arthurian legend is something that is rooted so deeply in our hearts and souls that it cannot be extricated even if we know absolutely nothing about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. We don't need to know about Arthur, Guenevere, Lancelot, Galahad, Gawain, Tristram, Bedevere and their companions. We don't need to have met Merlin in order to need him.

For a start, the purpose of Camelot was to establish a kingdom where "right is might", to which, like Lancelot du Lac, I am prepared to travel long distances to reach. I need the idealism of Arthur, the Holy Grail of Galahad and the knights' enthusiasm for all that was good that bound them together as they gathered at the Round Table. I need the perception of Merlin's ability to enter the minds of others in order to see how they think and to understand their actions and reactions. The sword Excalibur was only to be drawn in the defence of the good, the true and the beautiful, never to shed blood except in the cause of all that was right.

The real Camelot might have existed largely in the imagination, coming to birth in folklore...but isn't its symbolism something that is a precious part of our existence today? When I look at the television and hear the radio, there is so much war and unnecessary bloodshed.

"Don't let it be forgot
that once there was a spot,
for one brief, shining moment,
that was known as Camelot."

God bless,
Sr. Janet