A coach came, flourishing the dust from the ground.
Our feet, and the horses hooves, had been too few enough
to let our passing escape
a dust-cloud’s notice.
And the farmers here, surrounding,
would never have paid that road much notice,
not while the summer’s Sun,
responsible for these dry-banks—where winter would make us a river
made them such pleasing hay.
—And oh! How I wished for a river, to lounge upon
as I travelled, as the sail filled. A gondolier—I noted to learn
if that was the true word—sang me like Sir Dalis.
‘Here,’ said Mithril, ‘My friends would come meet you.’
Though I was not so sure,
and asked if they would like me? Still eagerly,
my eyes were watching
the black-lacquered carriage as it approached us.
I sat upon the mare Gilfrey; high above on this white,
from Mithril low-below. He placed a hand on her flank
close by my seat, and murmured ‘there, there,’
though she was calm. I thanked him quietly.
And the running horses as a team, stopped swiftly
besides us. The coach too.
A hail came from within;
‘Lord Mithril! We missed you this mornings’ breaking.
Our fast too, was not broken with much humour,
you do us much mis-service?’
I was blocked from seeing our miss-give’d voice
through milk-darkened glass,
but the familial resemblance of the banter
left no longing to wonder who was there inside.
A relative, most surely.
Now movement—begging a racing of my heart—
then one lent forward into view;
‘Now I see you entertaining a young lad.
Are we so mis-placed in your affections as?’
Said our young-seeming lass.
‘Ah but Princess, this boy you
so blithely speak of, he is an entertainer.
I asked you, just this night before
to join me down the stairs
on their humble floor. Now I do not reprise you,
—take no extra meaning in my voice—
but down in the common room, I heard him singing
and so was cultured to tend my voice.
This morning I found him,
young-lover early awakened.
In conversation most open, we asked the other to perform.
On the road it was, as we shared a travel plan,
from this, came our simple song alone.’
I suppose that was, relatively true.
As I turned to the coach from my wonderment of this master’s voice,
I found I became captured-there were no other-words will not…
She, the Princess, leaned most delicately without.
She was unsupported, it was evident, by any Earthly means.
Though this lithe, gilded creature, emergent of beauty
caused a flurry of the eyes.
It was not, I thought, her skin nor her lips nor her arms
that caught arise of my love.
It was not her silken clothing over her form,
not the ever-curving lines of gold upon her face
around her eyes.
Of course, those could all have caught my gaze,
but to float from the ground,
to be a spectre of my dreams for love…
this could be no other but my answer from above!
There was other talking but no more
did I employ my brain to their service.
The lyrics of her speech sang out to my ears
and I only listened to feel their rapture upon release.
Yet by swift currents
there was a change, and I knew that she would be leaving soon.
Only then did I see that the two of them had been speaking.
About what? I jumped! I tried to pick words from her trill.
But it was Mithril then who spoke,
‘Perhaps, my darling, we will join you.’
But she had already withdrawn.
Then the horses began again their trot, and left us waiting there
as they passed along in troop
the Princess, her coach, her horses and her retinue.
None I had seen before. Blinded as I was.
I watched after them… lost. Evermore.
A slap on the rump!
Gilfrey starting forwards, following the dusty queue along before us,
brought me from my trance.
‘You like my niece then, aye?’
Mithril asked me straightly—ah then, the resemblance was no play.
I turned and found from my perch
Mithril looking up with intently in his eyes,
turned to me as he was.
And thus more, as I broke our eyes,
trying to find a place under me
that did not share space with her uncle.
And he laughed good-naturedly at me.
* * * * *
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