Written by Adele Gardner / Artwork by Marge Simon
The Minstrel
Bards sing before the court,
Men, mostly, hired by men;
My name is Marie
I am a minstrel

Throughout Europe,
In Britain’s court,
I ply my trade—
A man’s trade?
But I am as good as any—
I am a woman,
I can compose as well as sing;
I am Marie de France
Remember my name

My characters
My stories are not old—
Cannot be old, for their people exist
I bring them to flaming life
By blowing my song
Into the ashes of dead legends.
My characters are strong,
Strong, as a woman should be, initiating love—
Love, an achievement of equals;
Mind and soul of a woman
Who creates music,
A minstrel named Marie

Others translate my words;
My voice is loud—hear it
In Norway, England, Germany!
My song echoes onto scholars’ pages.
Do not be alarmed or forgetful:
It is no man writing this,
Though some may make that claim;
I am Marie de France—
Remember my name

"The Minstrel" first appeared in
Herspectives, Vol. 3, Iss. 3, Oct. 1991, and Vol. 5, Iss. 3, Oct. 1993.
Cat-loving cataloging librarian Adele Gardner (www.gardnercastle.com) has had over 425
poems, stories, illustrations, and essays in Strange Horizons, Deep Magic, Daily Science
Fiction, Pedestal Magazine, PodCastle, and more. Adele's poetry book, Dreaming of Days in
Astophel, though out of print with the publisher, is still available from the author. Gardner is
a Clarion West Writers Workshop graduate with master's degrees in English literature and
library science who serves as literary executor for father, mentor, and namesake Delbert R.