Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Contemplating Helen

Run your fingers through the dusky wool, Lady,
colored rich purple by the death of snails
combed soft and fine,
oiled with the best
to wrap around your distaff
and pull into a fine thread
by the twirling of your golden spindle.

Royal purple, the color of congealed blood -
do you think of him sometimes,
the beautiful man who stole you away,
and how the blood streamed down his throat
from the arrow's flight?

Royal purple - you know the cost of its weight.
As you look upon the man who would not let you go,
who turned the world upside down
for the green hills of your birth,
where he sits, content,
king of the country he received as a wedding gift,
does the purple make you remember
the spilled blood,
the smell of fire and the sound of tears
wailed into the afterworld?

I watch your kohl-rimmed eyes,
and see your shining hair,
and your smile revealing nothing as you drop your spindle,
pull down the thread,
and I wonder what tale your own lips would give
if you, and not the poets,
had recorded your adventure.

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