The Impresario: an alphabet (part twenty-five)

Part Twenty-Five

 

Part Twenty-Five

 

Three long blasts and a short to summon

The captain of the Bishop’s horse

The foot-guard lustily bash heads

Gaspard’s men eagerly make arrest

For every fine collected is a feather for their nest

Tortu’s sturdy back unaided must draw the sledge

The wax-man’s mass umbrellaed

‘Neath a hat’s broad brim, plows as the boulder rolls

With heedless certainty, his voice its own authority

And Madame knows the upper hand belongs

More surely to the nimble than the strong

She darts through legs in combat stance

The Dauphin leaps and kicks, his acrobatics

Baffling to those who only fight with fists

And Pierre seizes cudgels in both hands

So the performers cordon off their fallen man

All the while, the horsemen drive their circling mounts

Swing swaths with lances, yawn in their saddles, speculate

In shouts to one another, upon the midday meal

A petitioner presses, urgent, towards the dais

“Good reverend sir, if it please you, hear my case!”

 

“All this,” the vintner speaks, as silence grows, “is harvest,

of that crop my own sin sowed. This one here,

if his life be spared, may fairly make demand of mine.

What, if a man induce another man to evil,

Is the crime? Who, with unworthy aim in mind,

do offer what he knows full well is food

to the poor man’s appetite, has not done the baser thing?

Both tempter, reverend lord, and miscreant!”

 

The Bishop, heir to the Herzogthum of K——

Has new acquired this office, a prince’s gratitude

For his father’s aid. He understands but some

Of what is said.

The vintner ushers forth the figure,

before the gasping women who remain

Of one small and vanquished fighter

With a gentle word unmasks her

 

Part Twenty-Six

 

(copyright 2017 Stephanie Foster)

 

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