Selected Written Works by Alisandre Oliphant

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Lest We Forget

I don’t think this was published anywhere, but it was one of my first pieces of calligraphy. I gave it to Jan at a Lion’s tourney, years before we were married.

As Grail was shown to Galahad, the Dream is offered thee.
The disillusions of thy “game” have naught to do with me.
I am the pure, untarnished fire of all the Dream can mean;
My gift, the true nobility so rare and seldom seen.
I do not lead thee to acclaim – clear honor is my goal,
So few and proud, those who drink deep to feel me in their soul.
My voice too often goes unheard ‘midst details of thy play,
But some will heed, and for the rest illuminate the way.
So let the worth within thy heart rise up to meet my light,
And let thy taste for honor make thee worthy in my sight;
Hold thee this Dream so cherished, close – yield not to false desire –
And all who seek the higher goals in thee shall find my fire.


The Bond of the Apprentice

I wrote this in honor of my laurel, Aureliane Rioghail. It was published in Tournaments Illuminated #87, Spring 1988.
In Issue #90, Spring 1989, Mistress Rosanore of Redthorn (from another kingdom; I never met her) wrote a matching piece called “The Bond of the Master” in response.

May my work always win your approval.
May my actions reflect honor upon you.
May I never do you the injustice of expecting perfection.
May I always pay you the honor due a teacher.
May my homage be rooted in friendship.
May our friendship never lessen my respect and admiration.
May I never spark the anger in your eyes.
May I sometimes bring a smile or lift the mood.
May my pride in you stand me straighter.
May I justify your pride in me.
May I never shame your faith in me.
And may someday your hand place my wreath.


Reverie Upon My Love while Studying

I’m pretty sure that this was published in Tournaments Illuminated, too – Issue #109, Winter 1993. It starts with a quote from Marlowe, so I gave the citation as a footnote.

Oh, thou art fairer than the evening air,
Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars!

Not all jewels are set in gold;

This one, print doth frame and hold.
Marlowe wrought these words, not I,
Yet gems, picked up from where they lie,
Impartially alike adorn
Whoe’er may choose to put them on –
So beauty thus may not be bound
By authorship. This jewel I found,
A prize to bear, my love, to you.

Granted, this to casual view,

Like other blooms of rhetoric,
Seems over-scented, sweet and thick
And redolent upon the page,
These roses of another age.
The spheres are lightly thus assigned
The meaner grasp of humankind,
Celestial grace ‘neath human state;
Another bloom, grotesque of weight.

Still, these words transfixed my heart,

Stopped me short, and yet impart
An awe that this, my mother tongue,
Through ages has such beauty sung.
Why? I searched, and came to see
Its truth unfolds a truth in me.
Aye, truth, I say, for all its claim:
Within my heart, love speaks the same.

Air was vapid, grey of taint;

Stars there were, but dim and faint;
Life was just an exercise
Before I looked into your eyes,
And now each breath is pure and sweet
While diamonds stud the heavens’ sweep.
Whence came this beauty, save from you?
And so I know the words are true;
For if you had enough of grace
To grant such beauty to this place
And yet so still enchant the eye,
Then yes, the fairer are thereby.

Even unto death, believe

That rather would I to you cleave,
Abjure another taste of air,
Than breathe a breath you do not share,
For you would take that which you lent:
The splendor of the firmament.
None of life could ever be
So fair as when you lived with me,
For all life’s beauty was your loan,
Never seen, else by you shown.

Still, if I must live apart,

Reft from beauty, from my heart,
One cause only can I find
Not to leave this dearth behind:
Ne’er to let the world forget
Stars went begging in your debt.


The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, Act 5, Scene 1, lines 111-112. Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593).


This was written in memory of Ragnar Ulfgarsson, legend of Bjornsborg and Ansteorra.

Shadows fall.
Walking first
Bright the gold
Safe: his brothers
A loved place,
He passes.

A scop wanders.
to find his wealth,
in shining braids.
brave protect her.
but not his place.

Companions here,

These are warriors,
These are leaders
The watcher smiles,
The sweet mead
A strong place,
He passes.

a council meet.
weapon friends;
followed long.
salutes their strengths.
grows sweeter.
but not his place.

Fire bloom
Tales long crafted
Word-fame won
Speakers bold
Shapers all,
The listener smiles,
A struggling voice
A good place,
He passes.

and stories flow.
told anew,
by war and wit.
or speakers shy,
they share his craft.
lends his lore;
grows stronger.
but not his place.

The hall is tall,
Bright the laughter,
A bench waits,
A hall is hushed
Raised to speak
Sable stars
The wanderer smiles,
Horns are raised
A blessed place,
He enters.

the heroes many,
bright the mead.
a horn brims,
to hear his voice
of spirits bold,
and snowy bears.
welcomed in.
to hail him.
and now his place.


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