Peter Bolton (2nd April 1942 / Brecon)
It was in the reign of King Harmon,
A king of great pride,
Who liked it to be seen that he listened to his people.
So his throne stood high, where he could hear their pleas presented.
To have this seat of beaten gold was insufficient in his view,
So from a far off land he summoned an artist, whose works were à la mode,
Of wondrous design in mosaic tile with minerals many-hued.
Behind him, on his dais, the king would have this Ciberon create a backdrop.
One that would match the imperial splendour of his personage.
This done, King Harmon was satisfied for only a little while.
Appointed he one Ronan to clean and polish the stones of this design.
To daily rub them into a shine that reflected the rays of the sky borne fire upon his majesty.
Thus he, Ronan, the master polisher, did earn his rest and she, Misruelle, who cast her eyes with love, did wait.
There lived in that city a prophet, a man of vision, whose name was Astreea.
He came as a beggar close by Misruelle’s abode, whereby she cast him a coin and a loaf of bread.
‘For you, ’ he said, ‘I grant that one Ronan is to you bound as is the sun to the rising day.
Therefore ye shall not despair.’
This Astreea also climbed the steps to Ronan, labouring with his cloth.
‘I name you Misruelle, she is your star.
Forget not that she carries the labours of the world.’
And Ronan pondered, for he knew not who this Misruelle might be.
His work he plied with unstinting diligence, for he sought only to please,
He supposed that this Misruelle would thus herself unveil.
The mosaic, a magnum opus of its kind, did soon like marble glint.
Like glass it formed its prisms bright, translucent in its tint.
The more it shone and from its inner depths gave light,
So more it touched him that it contained his love.
Misruelle watched from behind her gauze,
For it was not given that she could seek him out,
Nor that she kneel before.
One day perchance, the vision cleared, a paradise within.
Peacocks gay, and camellias bright, cascading rosy blooms, and dancing light in Brownian motion played.
And she, the princess, called.
This princess was the fairest maid that ever was seen in any kingdom.
That is to be expected.
That is how it always will be.
Her skin was dark of the richest shade, as smooth as polished ebony.
Her hair the velvet of the night.”
But love is not enough.
Sex is but a branding iron.
Ronan looked through upon this beauteous sight, this paradise.
He knew in his heart that she was not his Misruelle
He heeded not the words of Astreea.
He put his hand to that wall of glass and through it passed.
Needless to remark, Misruelle did spy that Ronan had walked from mortal ken.
Only his chamois remained and she could not retrieve it.
There was no recourse but to follow for so had Astreea spoken.
One Jornac had ta’en up the mantle laid, chosen by the master.
But Jornac was not so industrious.
His hands did cast a smear,
Invisible to the naked eye,
Yet enough to seal that passage.
What should she do?
Perhaps she should pray.
If a man runs ablaze from a burning wreck, will it help him to pray?
This is what she did.
She spoke sweetly to this Jornac.
(Can you imagine that?
Could she not have addressed Ronan in like manner?
You must understand the laws of possibility.)
She tempted him, for her body was comely.
She likened herself to those who call down from high windows, their breasts displayed.
So Jornac would fain take her to his bed.
There was a smile on his face, and so it remained.
Such sweet dreams.
Leaving his down, she moved with grace.
Had she not tended to his needs?
Had not his sup been of honeyed chocolate rare?
Such a potion as she had mixed herself.
Taking the cloth she travelled to where the king’s throne stood high.
The guards were playing dice.
(You see, she had prayed, after all.)
This was the pattern for seven nights,
Each night she slaved so that her knuckles were white and bleeding.
To her concern the pattern darkened night-by-night until its colours each matched the blackness of the sky.
In that night, what she saw was a forest bleak and haunting.
‘Must I enter such a place? ’ she asked.
The answer came at once for, as she reached forward once more to apply the leather, she fell through into rotting black humus.
The light was dim and the fallen leaves were taller than her head.
‘Ronan, ’ she called, ‘Ronan.’
But her voice was less than the scratch of a ladybug’s foot.
So it was that she struggled forward through the debris,
Across twigs as large as trunks, with the trees so high they might have been the pillars of the moon.
Again she called out for him.
Misruelle came to where knotted roots rose high above her head,
Twisted they were like gantries torn down by the passing of a tornado,
And deeper was the shade beneath them.
Fearfully she trod the pounded soil and there the predacious beast struck her down. Its beak tore at her flesh, its jaws crunched on her bones.
Her limbs it ripped out to taste her flesh...
Do you still think she should pray?
This dismembered corpse, whose heart the monster had spat out, disgusted at its taste.
The air was still in the forest.
No sound of birds was heard for none were singing.
Out of that air, in mystic ways, a shred of carbon found,
Which linked itself to join such gases as you know form life’s measure.
The chain was stretched to contain, in exact number,
Such traces from the elements, as would spell out her need.
Misruelle’s spirit breathed, and this so constructed molecule was wafted forth on its lone mission.
Comments about this poem (Love's DNA by Peter Bolton )
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