The Impresario Part Twenty-Four

Part Twenty-Four

 

Behind leathern masks are the fighters’ faces hid

To make livelier sport for the pleasure of the mob

For to lose the sight of an eye, or have a nose cut off

Cuts short the combat, those on tiptoes at the back

Do not strain themselves to witness a moment’s dispatch

And a fallen man who lies below their vantage

Bleed to death

The contestants are not armored, nor bear shields

That personage

In tunic and cape of or and gules, honors the house

As the rumor flies, of a prince of Anvers.

In his left hand holds a club, for the parrying of blows

In his right, a poniard, this his own, the gossips say

The hilt’s T hollowed round a splinter of the Cross

Yet this Boniface disappoints, his puniness draws rude noise

“Someone plays a joke”; the jeer beings to thunder

Voice added to voice

The prisoner is thrust through a gauntlet of spears

Loudly they boo, for he totters alike, and the weight of his weapons

Saps the sum of his might.

 

The impresario from the blackness of his cell

Comes pale into daylight, numb now to the bites

Of fleas and lice, haggard with fever that preys upon his eyes.

So he supposes.

Those that meet his own are not the troubadour’s

They are the eyes he’d begged of Heaven to gaze upon once more

The crowd is chanting, urging him to strike

Rather he sinks to fainting knees, his wish

This specter weeping over him in the guise of love

May bare its master’s claw and make an end

The Bishop’s guard holds back the throng.

Armed with bad eggs and wormy apples,

Mud balled round handfuls of loose pebbles,

They begin to hurl their missiles.

A breach parts the line and the mob runs riot

***

Copyright 2017 Stephanie Foster

 

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