Castle and Mate (Reprise)


Young Lady Anne
When it began
Was heaving such a tiny little sigh

Her tight laced stays
Remained in place
Only her bodice gently rose on high

To look at them
Each dangling gem
Did any motion bodily deny

Nor did she doom
A single plume
To sway less gently than caressed the eye

Her face remained
Closely maintained
Though mayhap short of act’ual peace of mind

And if her pose
Lacked full repose
Surrounding company to it were blind

Just then, you see
She’d found that she
Would soon a privy closet need to find

No otherwhere
Might safely bare
The pearly whiteness of her fair behind

‘Twere all as well
In hill and dell
For humble serving wenches to unload

For such as she
Besought for her low functions high abode

But ere she ask
Her maids to task
Each self with her removal to the road

A moment spend
Before she end
Her currently delightful resting mode

Her pref’rence known
The trumpets blown
The tourney’s knights would disappointed look

Her ladies fair
Would gather their
Embroidery and fan and prayer book

For half an hour
Her matron dour
(For that’s how long it usually took)

Hasten to bring
Each precious thing
And tuck it safely in its special nook

And then they’d all
Behind her fall
In a gossiping and a giggling train

Clearly fain
To entertain
Each other all the trip and back again

As for her
She would prefer
August evacuation were more plain

Nor her relief
‘Gainst deep belief
Be purchased at the cost of others’ pain

They never let
Her even get
A single step without their company

Surveillance she
Knew brought to be
By some decisive parental decree

She only went
With one knee bent
As was appropriate for progeny

Without delight
In each fortnight
But once her fond progenitors to see

Their servants were
She could infer
From overhearing them in passageway

Prone to prefer
To tending her
Excursions into midnight fields to play

‘Twere just as well
They wouldn’t tell
What kind of games, when asked for, anyway

She knew her pa
Created law
But what that law might be she couldn’t say

Each way she turned
Her questions spurned
And ignorance held up virtue to be

Almost as though
She shouldn’t know
Or hear, or speak, or act, or think or see

But she knew when
There was again
The need for strong alliance speedily

No matter who
‘Twas needed to
Marry her to, right married she would be

Of men she knew
Only a few
And fewer yet could claim to share her caste

Once as a girl
She’d loved a churl
But had been made to leave that in the past

They would, she’d seen
Happy have been
But now she’d grown, and understood at last

Her hand would be
Like all the rest of her, securely fast

She wondered who
They’d give her to
All vapid seemed the young men that she knew

Too effete
To lift their feet
As her rambunctious spirit wished them to

So she might prance
Each sprightly dance
They idly abandoned her to view

If on a day
Her lute she play
And raise her voice romantic ballad to

All gathered there
Became aware
Of pressing duties they must travel to

Nothing she said
Turned any head
No matter how insightful or how true

Except to be
Reminded she
Were to her silent status thus untrue

And she should see
To stitchery
Leaving control of life others unto

Quite recently
There’d come to be
Visiting in her home a goodly man

The captain of
A ship that hove
Into their port from some far distant land

At his warm smile
The rank and file
Had seemed to her instantly to disband

He’d drilled her through
With eyes of blue
As to full lips he’d raised her willing hand

Oh, if she
Could only be
Betrothed to someone like that man had been

With energy
And also tanned and firm and tall and lean

As she had ne’er
Most anywhere
Gazing around at noble sons had seen

Yet after all
Not poor, as all
But they had so inevitably been

Or maybe she
Should vow to be
Of privilege and money unaware

And run away
Where she might play
In midnight fields with freely unbound hair

Be just a maid
Meagerly paid
To spend life fetching fans and curling hair

But free to wed
And then to bed
Some handsome man her true heart welcomed there

She didn’t know
How it would go
After the two between the sheets would slide

Married girls would
Single girls could
Not tell her what it took to be a bride

Except that it
Would hurt a bit
And humble her unseemly current pride

But she would bet
If she could get
Someone truly attractive by her side

Somehow it would
Be very good
The way that after-wedding would turn out

And somehow knew
Instinctive too
How diff’rent it would all be when some lout

Perfumed and pale
Removed her veil
Pushed into hers his own perspiring snout

Upon its brink
She couldn’t think
That this must be what life was all about

She wondered now
More fully how
It was conducted by a commoner

If asked to say
The truth, would they
Declare their status to her own prefer

Or would there be
Much flattery
As to her prejudices they’d defer?

Early and late
No answers straight
Too little information, to be sure

One thing she knew
Completely true
And though that one thing somewhat petty be

All was erased
Complete replaced
By its one rising immediacy

For if she did
No servants bid
To start her long procession speedily

Her privy to,
Increasing knew
She would torment her ladies evilly

All caused to raise
Kerchiefs of baize
Aristocratic noses gently to

While yet maintain
A light refrain
Of conversation, nor e’en glance askew

At she who had
Carelessly bad
Aromas introduced their circle to

Just once she’d like
Some snotty tyke
Bestow a jolly insult her unto

Bargaining swap
O’er countertop
Attempting a few pennies more to take

From off the price
Of some device
A household kettle, cooking pot or rake

Freely to choose,
Free, too, of shoes,
Then carry back, a humble home to make

But there would be
No luxury
Would love alone her inner yearnings slake?

But then she sighed
Her dream belied
By exigence of practicality

She must live now
No matter how
Alternatives might shine seductively

Let trumpets blow
All present know:
“My Lady must retire most privily”

And all the hoi
And the polloi
Strain peasant necks, turn merchant eyes to see,

Alerted by
The heralds’ cry
Thrilled by the fanfare’s crisply rising sound,

Her progress to
The royal loo
From every vantage near enough around

Merely the sight
Of her delight
As ’twere some precious treasure they had found

As if she float
Over the moat
Nor walked, like they themselves, on stony ground


The poet/editor of this website is physically disabled, and lives at a fraction of her nation’s poverty level. Contributions may be made at:

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