Heroic Crown of Sonnets: The Princess (Sensual)

I stood upon the ancient parapet,
yes, recklessly atop the castle walls
the stone was slick, and gray and still so wet
from rain that night had brought with heavy fall.
My room below was safe, and dry and pink;
a letter waited there on filmy bed;
high, high upon the wall I went to think
to clear the sighs and tangles from my head.
The letter had a seal that made me cold,
it glittered in the window’s dawny light;
I knew the ink inside would be black, bold;
unopened, it had lay there all the night.
I walked the parapet in ache and doubt;
my gown was caught by wind and blown about.
My gown was caught by wind and blown about;
I wobbled then, and grasped a jutting wall,
but let it go; yes, heedlessly I’d flout
caution’s bounds and tempt a deadly fall;
I didn’t care; my stomach thrilled inside
to see how high, how very high I stood;
I lifted chin, and arms I opened wide
and played at bird; I thought the feeling good.
I frolicked then, atop the windy stone
and felt the wind press right against my eyes;
I stumbled back to roof, too fiercely blown
but parapet I climbed again; this rise
did not concern me with its heady threat;
I gave great thought to where each foot was set.
I gave great thought to where each foot was set;
another hour I spent there in the sun,
until the stone showed not a bit of wet
and I was tired of airy, windy fun.
Then I sought out my room and letter there,
which waited still; I broke the royal seal
and thick black words then rose and grimly stared
quite heedless of the way they made me feel.
My father wrote; he ordered me away
to meet him in great castle in the east.
A bridegroom waited, in his fine array,
a mighty match was made, and mighty feast.
I packed my trunks, and trousseau and my flute,
I wore my beaded shoes along my route.
I wore my beaded shoes along my route,
they made me feel that all would turn out well;
but then the man could be a wicked brute;
we’d never met, I had no way to tell.
My father made me travel in disguise;
in abbot’s clothes I traveled with the priests,
and in this way he kept me from men’s eyes-
so few I’d seen! (They told me men were beasts.)
We traveled days; a man then joined our train;
I saw his face! I loved! My heart was hot!
I watched him through the window and in pain;
desire stirred; but this I’d never sought.
I pulled my clothes away from legs within;
the sun was bright and warmed my chilly skin.
The sun was bright and warmed my chilly skin;
the man was walking by my carriage door;
I loved the beard upon his very chin,
I felt no woman ever loved before!
We stopped the night in town with so few rooms,
and host, unknowing, bunked the man with me!
I called him to my bed, my longing womb
then told me there was something more to see…
He thought me man, so I pulled off my clothes
and offered then my troth to plight and give
or he should leave! He said, “My passion shows!
Yes! Give me ring and share the life I live!”
He taught me joy throughout that magic night!
I laughed deep, low, with sweetness of delight.
I laughed deep, low, with sweetness of delight,
we didn’t sleep at all, and glared at dawn;
and though we saw the coming of the light
we didn’t want love’s night to be all gone
so we ignored the stirring of the place
and while I sat atop my thrilling steed
the door swung open, and an old man’s face
showed shock and horror; horror yes indeed!
For Holy Abbot was not even man!
And more than that, he was a princess, high!
And more than that (he couldn’t understand!)
the princess was in bed! Her royal thighs!
Astonished, he went out the door again.
A man called Jove knew all my secret sin.
A man called Jove knew all my secret sin,
he was a knight who served my father well;
my troth was plighted, but I knew just then
the worth of that- for Jove of course would tell.
But what of journey? And the waiting groom?
It was too late- I loved- it was too late.
Unless of course, they sent my love to tomb;
my father’s anger might not hesitate.
The man I loved was high born and well made,
his name was Samuel; pleasant was his wit;
a rugged swordsman, skilled with many blades-
yes, surely surely, they’d see he was fit.
I pulled him near, and held him very tight;
the past’s black chains seemed paper in the light.
The past’s black chains seemed paper in the light;
a wedding now seemed black and full of fear
unless to he I bound with in the night;
yes, bound with well and truly, charming dear!
And still we moved through hills and moors and streams,
onward, onward, to reach my father’s halls;
but half the time I was immersed in dreams
of Samuel’s whispers and his passion calls.
I gave up costume, and let Samuel ride
in royal carriage, cuddled up to me,
but sometimes we would walk at carriage side
along stone paths, beneath the spreading trees.
I was so glad, so glad, he was my own;
I danced; my pretty steps rang out on stone.
I danced; my pretty steps rang out on stone;
he laughed and kissed, because my eyes were bright,
the knights were angry when we were alone
and kept us from each other in the night.
Yes, no one knew how Father might respond
and if this other marriage must be had,
the less that I was left to cling and bond
the less that I would think the marriage bad.
But all shook heads; no virgin now was I!
No holy prize! No lamb to shear with pride!
If diplomatic favors I would buy
far fewer now would buy this unchaste bride.
My father might have much to say to me!
The wind picked up and roared most dismally.
The wind picked up and roared most dismally,
we stayed the night with Duke in castle keep;
I tossed and turned, a restless, churning sea;
within the mighty bed I couldn’t sleep.
I called my maid and made her rub my back,
but still I sighed, and listened to the wind,
and to the castle’s groan and heave and crack;
the old rooms talked and felt like gentle friend.
At last I sent Suzanne back to her bed
and leaned my face against the window glass,
so wishing, wishing, wishing I was wed
and all the worry was already past.
While sitting in the window all alone,
I felt sweet love roar up in every bone.
I felt sweet love roar up in every bone,
and I got up, and pulled on velvet cloak,
and went right then to seek what was my own,
I found his room, himself, his kiss, his stroke…
Once more the night was spent as nights should be
and we were laughing in the candlelight.
I said, “You know you’re risking death for me…
Are you afraid it might not turn out right?”
He said, “My time with you is worth the rest;
if I should die, I die a man well loved,
and loved by you, I’d die a man well blessed;
I’ve had the joys they say they have above.”
He said, “Come stand and turn, and let me see.”
I spun, while joy was throbbing up in me.
I spun, while joy was throbbing up in me,
and he delighted in my flesh and reached
to graze the hips then turning, turning free
before he seized, and huskily, beseeched.
I gave him what he wished and loving, craved,
and softly kissed his chest, and neck and cheeks;
I paused to pray to God he would be saved-
that we would have the favor honor seeks.
I went back to my rooms through quiet halls
the guards, asleep, then never moved or stirred.
With dawn, I feared my father’s love was small
though in the past he’d praised my every word.
But then he might roar “Death!” while Samuel fell…
I knew my secret I would have to tell.
I knew my secret I would have to tell;
and we were almost there! Oh what a thing!
And yet what if instead, I had done “well”
and never told my love or traded rings,
and married other man while loving him?
Yes, surely that is sinning just as much
as telling truth. Perhaps it is more prim
to wait for priest before the wedded touch,
but if I had, no chance would then remain;
my only chance of love was love embraced.
But we were there! Would darling man be slain?
I entered court and saw my father’s face!
I trembled with a fear I couldn’t quell!
I spoke the truth, and then I fell! I fell!
I spoke the truth, and then I fell! I fell!
The bridegroom waited there, and royal priest.
My father rose and looked at Samuel well.
A perfect silence reigned- all movement ceased.
My father called my name and made me stand;
he said, “So this man pleases you, my dear?”
I said, “My heart so loves his fine command
I couldn’t bear a life without him near.”
My father said, “We’ve sought a tie for years
with Samuel’s house. The wedding is tonight.
You’ve done a thing that bribes and war and tears
could never bring to terms or friendly light.
My daughter, you have done a royal thing
with little hands, and sweetly traded rings.
I stood upon the ancient parapet,
my gown was caught by wind and blown about,
I gave great thought to where each foot was set,
I wore my beaded shoes along my route.
The sun was bright and warmed my chilly skin;
I laughed deep, low, with sweetness of delight.
a man called Jove knew all my secret sin,
the past’s black chains seemed paper in the light.
I danced; my pretty steps rang out on stone,
the wind picked up and roared most dismally;
I felt sweet love roar up in every bone,
I spun, while joy was throbbing up in me;
I knew my secret I would have to tell;
I spoke the truth, and then I fell! I fell!

Sonnet Redouble: The Gift

Sonnet Redouble: The Gift
(c) 2001 by Seanan McGuire and Batya “The Toon” Wittenberg


1. The First Slayer.
This is the Gift that only blood could buy:
Salvation in exchange for just one soul.
The Slayer does not have the right to cry,
And naught may come between her and her goal.
And this is why we don’t walk in the world:
We can’t wait for the waters to recede,
And while you say you’re just a single girl,
Sometimes a single girl is all we need.
This is the Gift that you alone can give,
Although that giving cuts you like a knife…
But sometimes only dying lets you live,
And giving Death reversed is giving Life.
……..You said you’d be a fireman — why wait?
……..This is the calm serenity of Fate.

2. Spike.
This is the calm serenity of Fate
That kills uncaringly as I once might;
No one to strike, or rage against, or hate,
No enemy that anyone could fight.
Just tears that scald like holy water’s touch,
Just choking sobs that burn like any cross;
I knew I loved, but could I love so much
That nothing’s left within me but the loss?
I told her once of her own kind’s despair,
I told her of the moment’s wish for death —
O, irony! — I told her I’d be there!…
My love for her as meaningless as breath.
……..In all the world who better knew than I
……..That every Slayer is only called to die?
3. Giles.
That every Slayer is only called to die
Is something we cannot deny or fight —
And yet I find that I still wonder why
We have to pay so much to serve the light.
Reluctant hero, called against your will
To save the world: your childhood was the cost.
I taught a little girl the way to kill,
And looked away when innocence was lost.
Forgive me for betraying what you were
To make you what your destiny demands.
I had no choice, my dear one, this was war;
I sometimes thought you didn’t understand,
……..But in the end, you didn’t hesitate —
……..This is the lesson that we learned too late.
4. Willow.
This is the lesson that we learned too late,
The hidden book we never got to read,
Why power to destroy and to create
Stands powerless against what is decreed.
My love, my friend, each lost within her mind,
Each wandering through all the myriad ways;
The desperate hope that she was there to find
Was all that led me through the lightless maze.
My love, against all chances, I have found;
My friend is gone to find a kinder hell —
And thus the final lesson is set down:
Forgive that I could not save you as well.
……..This foe, this fate, this fall, we could not share;
……..And now the future hangs in empty air.
5. Dawn.
And now the future hangs in empty air
With pain behind and greater pain ahead:
The walls between the worlds begin to tear
And will not heal again until I’m dead.
The shallow cuts that opened up my veins
I feel no more, though still they freely bleed;
The sky is torn and through it chaos rains,
My sister’s eyes are two dry wells of need.
Let lightning shriek across the tortured sky,
Let countless hells gape wide and swallow all,
Let all hope fail — she will not let me die;
I see her turn and run, and leap, and fall.
……..What power holds me here and lets her go?
……..And when did time become so very slow?
6. Tara.
And when did time become so very slow
That one could watch a thought pass like a cloud?
Big day today; there’s somewhere I should go,
Where I must go, as soon as I’m allowed.
I stumble through a fog of vague intent —
The day calls me! It’s time, it’s time and past —
Till love as pure as any sacrament
Burns fog away and brings me home at last.
And now she weeps, a world in every tear…
There is so clearly nothing I can say.
With all the lives that were not ended here
And all the hells now safely sealed away,
……..Perhaps there was no mercy left to spare;
……..They never said that destiny was fair.
7. Joyce.
They never said that destiny was fair;
I know there’s nothing more I could have done,
I just wish I could somehow have been there,
I wish I could be proud of what you’ve won.
Your sister — or, we felt as if she were,
Though she’s not real … it doesn’t matter now;
You promised me that you’d take care of her,
And so you did, and never questioned how.
They must have known about your destiny,
The ones who called you to this thankless task,
Yet never thought to warn your family —
Would that have been so very much to ask?
……..They never told us how the tale must go;
……..Perhaps they thought that we’d already know.
8. Anya.
Perhaps they thought that we’d already know
That this essential sacrifice was yours;
That in the end we’d have to let you go.
Perhaps we did — but what’s a hero for
If we must always bury them and grieve?
Too many lies and too much left unsaid —
Who told you we were done? Who let you leave?
Who said that you could go and join the dead?
I’ve learned of grief too recently for this.
You had to fall — who said you had to land?
Mortality is so damn hard to miss:
Some things I just don’t want to understand.
……..I didn’t know I’d have to watch you fall…
……..There are some steps that wishing won’t recall.
9. Glory.
There are some steps that wishing won’t recall;
It’s such a little sacrifice to make,
And every human dies, hon, after all…
Your gods made you too delicate. You break.
You say your sister’s waiting for the flood;
I say she’ll never come to save your soul.
The key to what I need is in your blood,
You’re just another thing I can control.
You never were the girl you claimed to be,
You only dreamed the life you thought you led.
This ritual will let us both be free —
Your death will stop the screaming in my head.
……..The life you had is over, babe; it’s gone.
……..Some lines just can’t be broken, once they’re drawn.
10. Ben.
Some lines just can’t be broken, once they’re drawn;
Some choices, made, can never be unmade.
I don’t owe her a thing, I’m just a pawn —
Why should she look at me as though betrayed?
I won’t be hers, and never asked to be,
And neither of us wanted to be born;
There’s nothing I can do — it’s her or me,
And I have drawn my conscience like a thorn.
I don’t know why I’m trying to explain,
Why I hold hope that somehow you’ll forgive;
Too much misunderstanding, too much pain,
Too little chance that both of us will live.
……..We never knew each other’s lives at all;
……..How could we know you had so far to fall?
11. Xander.
How could we know you had so far to fall
When we believed that you could almost fly?
You were the hero, always standing tall;
You were invincible! How could you die?
There is no justice here, this makes no sense,
This isn’t how the thing’s supposed to end —
What kind of world gives death as recompense
To such a hero, savior, fighter, friend?
I never could have set a nobler goal
Than being heart to your unfailing hand;
More than a team, we formed a single whole,
A whole now shattered, scattered in the sand.
……..How could the one uniting us be gone?
……..How could we know we’d lose you to the dawn?
12. Angel.
How could we know we’d lose you to the dawn
When I’m the one that flees before the day?
I always knew that one day you’d be gone;
Now tell me why it had to end this way.
I only held you twice within my arms,
But held you in my heart a thousand years;
Are there no simple lies or subtle charms
To bar this bitter news or stop my tears.
They told me we were warriors for Fate:
That if I kept you with me, you would die.
I let you go, and now I learn too late
Your death was one I never could deny.
……..This is the ending that I would refuse…
……..And yet the Chosen Ones can never choose.
13. Faith.
And yet the Chosen Ones can never choose —
They Call us and they use us ’til we’re killed.
They play us like our lives are theirs to lose,
And Call another once our blood’s been spilled.
Did you believe I wouldn’t feel you die?
We’re less than sisters, more than enemies,
And destiny has bound us, you and I,
To drown in battle’s hot and bloody seas.
We are Fate’s chosen weapon; just a blade
With which to kill, and keep their own hands pure.
It’s what we are that’s left us both betrayed…
Why can’t you take me through that final door?
……..They never let us question or refuse.
……..So far to fall. So very much to lose.
14. Buffy.
So far to fall. So very much to lose:
The world, my friends, my sister and my life.
My heart’s the only weapon I can use:
This sacrifice my last and sharpest knife.
My innocence by inches has been paid
To save us all and keep the world alive.
I won’t regret the choices that I’ve made;
I’d make them all again so you’d survive.
A final sacrifice is what we need,
So let the war and madness drop away:
I won’t regret this, even as I bleed.
This is a price that only blood can pay.
……..Please understand I loved you all — good-bye.
……..This is the Gift that only blood could buy.
15. The Gift.
This is the Gift that only blood could buy,
This is the calm serenity of Fate;
That every Slayer is only called to die,
This is the lesson that we learned too late.
And now the future hangs in empty air —
And when did time become so very slow?
They never said that destiny was fair…
Perhaps they thought that we’d already know.
There are some steps that wishing won’t recall;
Some lines just can’t be broken, once they’re drawn.
How could we know you had so far to fall?
How could we know we’d lose you to the dawn?
……..And yet the Chosen Ones can never choose.
……..So far to fall. So very much to lose.
 

 

Heroic Crown of Sonnets: The Fairy



The fairy princess chose him for a king;
she found him walking through a crowded wood,
and followed him on iridescent wing;
her heart then singing fairy music good.
He was not young, but fairies see the soul
his mind was diamond, heart was rainbowed light;
she saw where others were a mass of coal
this man, this one, was brilliant beacon bright.
She flitted then, from branch to branch, concealed
and judged the man on way and secret thought;
she saw in him some wicked ways revealed,
but basked in beauty deep within him, caught.
She feared to love; though loving would be just;
the man was fragile, born of clay and dust.

The man was fragile, born of clay and dust,
a short-lived mortal, hardly just a breath.
Though heart toward love was wildly, deeply thrust
she knew her love would only end in death.
A fairy prince would make a better king;
a thousand years would pass like seven days,
but love a man? How sharp would be the sting
when breath was gone; how short man’s spirit stays!
She shuddered then, with thought of all the loss
and yet his soul was lovelier than theirs;
no fairy prince had half his rainbow’s gloss
no fairy prince had such a light to share.
No, it was he who must and should be king.
Her fairy eyes took in the joy he’d bring.

Her fairy eyes took in the joy he’d bring,
what sweet delight his reign would mean to her;
if he, a man, were made the fairy king,
so many hearts would sing with joy and stir;
the fairy babes would each bask in his light,
and grow so strong, and brighter for his thought;
and in the dances on the moony nights
the songs would glitter with the notes he taught;
yes, all the world of fairies would rejoice
if broad-souled man would take the fairy crown;
the woods were filled by glory of his voice;
in waves of music sweetly she would drown.
And yet though love rose thrilling and robust,
her fairy heart knew better than to trust.

Her fairy heart knew better than to trust;
she knew that men are fickle, and unkind,
and yet she felt despite it all she must
reveal herself and all her fairy mind.
She sang a harmony to all his song
and when he looked, she landed at his feet,
then made herself much taller, then and strong
’til eye to eye the two of them should meet.
He saw her wings, and knew just what she was;
remembering the stories as a child;
his old heart quailed, and he stepped back because
her beauty’s force was absolutely wild.
He took her hand, but didn’t tell the truth;
he sought through her the secret rose of youth.

He sought through her the secret rose of youth;
the legends told the fairies had this thing;
he didn’t tell the fairy all the truth
because he feared just what the truth would bring.
Yet he was old, his life was nearly spent
and if this rose was in his hands indeed,
the years would fall, and time’s hold would be rent,
while he bloomed freshly as a springing seed.
He wanted this; he hungered for his strength.
What joy to stand in passion’s door again!
The fairy heard his thoughts and all their length,
and knew just what to offer to him then.
“Come with me now, your troubles will be slain;
some blooms are balms and heal men from life’s pain.”

“Some blooms are balms and heal men from life’s pain,
and I have one that counteracts the years;
why should you age, when sweet one, you could reign,
and never feel another lonely tear?
Come with me now, and take my fairy hand,
and I will give you kingdoms, and my love.
My heart is yours to have and to command,
and you will find me docile as a dove.”
She drew up then; he yearned for her embrace;
her form was lush and promised much delight;
she saw herself reflected in his face
and subtle change in vibrant rainbow light.
He wanted her, as well as rose of youth;
she sought in him an echo of her truth.

She sought in him an echo of her truth;
a fairy’s soul is always changing form;
a fairy heart retains the joy of youth,
and adds to it a passion ever warm;
a fairy sees itself in all its works;
the flowers bloomed, the stars well-shined at night,
no fairy child ever hides or shirks
because their jobs are always a delight.
She loved this man; he loved her love so well,
that they were married, in a fairy ring;
and all the fairies rang the flower bells,
and human man was crowned the fairy king.
So king and queen began their magic reign;
she lay with him and all his griefs were slain.

She lay with him and all his griefs were slain,
such rapture there beneath her fairy wings!
Their jasper cave was lovely in the rain,
and they had joys that only love can bring.
He felt his age when stroking her smooth skin;
her strength was such he wished his own was more;
she saw these thoughts while in his arms again,
and kissed his cheek, then flew through jasper door.
Her heard her land in gravel late at night,
and in her arms she bore a glowing bloom;
it filled the cave with gentle crimson light,
and glorified the shining jasper room.
She came to him as if she’d lie and rest,
he held her close; she placed rose in his breast.

He held her close; she placed rose in his breast,
and as he slept, the years each fell away.
The rose’s scent perfumed the cave and blessed;
the rose’s bloom unworked cruel time’s decay.
When morning came; he rose a man of power,
his body twenty, or perhaps eighteen;
and how he blessed the magic of the flower
that left his skin so perfect, smooth and clean.
The fairy laughed to see the joy he took,
and held him then, to share in his heart’s bliss;
she stood far back and took another look,
and offered him another fairy kiss.
She looked, and yet her eyes were not quite dry;
his heart grew young, and yet he still could die.

His heart grew young, and yet he still could die,
his mortal form was still a frightening thought.
She loved him much, and couldn’t help but cry
because with danger his dear life was fraught.
The fairies all took counsel time to time,
and worried over his mortality,
he stood there, glowing, in his vibrant prime
but age and death would never let that be.
There was one way to give him lasting life,
too terrible to even think about;
the magic stripped from fairy wedded wife
would give him wings, while she would go without.
She lie awake against his human breast,
her fairy heart would never give her rest.

Her fairy heart would never give her rest,
she watched him walk, while flying, she danced air;
she searched old books for answers in her quest
to find a way to bring him wings to wear.
What life he’d find! What joys he’d know as king!
What beauties would his bright soul then unfold?
What good was life if his death it would bring?
What good was love if shortly dead and cold?
She loved him so; she longed to give him all,
but what of her? And how would she exist?
Her fairy heart considered such a fall,
and what it cost to love the man she kissed.
She wept, he’d never felt the gentle sky;
she longed for day that he could rise and fly.

She longed for day that he could rise and fly;
at last her heart was broken with his plight;
3,000 years she’d lived, but not known why;
but now she lived in glory of his light.
It wasn’t right that one so beautiful
should go unwinged, and have the shortest life
while she, a fairy with the eras full
should fly, uncaring, though she was his wife.
The rose would only work a single time;
she had to act to give him many years,
for why should he, a creature so sublime
feel rough, raw age, or know a dying fear?
She loved him true; and after final soar,
her fairy dust she stripped from very core.


Her fairy dust she stripped from very core;
her light went out, her wings both dried and snapped,
she pulled and pulled until there was no more,
then carried dust to where her husband napped.
She knelt beside him while her tears fell thick,
and rubbed the dust into his human skin,
she paused, head spinning, dizzy now and sick
but forced herself to rub him down again.
The dust sank in through muscle and his bone,
he woke while she was kneading his broad back;
he said, “Oh no! Oh no! This was your own!”
He looked at her, and saw her magic’s lack.
He felt his blood begin a heady roar;
he spread his wings and loved her then no more.

He spread his wings and loved her then no more;
her magic gone, she was a human queen;
the fairy king had loved her fairy core,
he’d loved her for her wings and fairy sheen,
and when she gave it all for love of him,
his love failed fast; without her flitting wings
and popping off to chase her varied whims,
her way was not a pleasure to the king.
She loved him well, as fairy and as girl,
her heart was his; they reined and ruled, and yet,
she’d once had wings; she’d hide behind her curls
and weep for flights that she could not forget.
She loved the king far more than light or flight
his glory then became her heart’s delight.

The fairy princess chose him for a king;
the man was fragile, born of clay and dust;
her fairy eyes took in the joy he’d bring;
her fairy heart knew better than to trust.
He sought through her the secret rose of youth
some blooms are balms and heal men from life’s pain;
she sought in him an echo of her truth;
she lay with him and all his griefs were slain.
He held her close; she placed rose in his breast,
his heart grew young, and yet he still could die;
her fairy heart would never give her rest
she longed for day that he could rise and fly;
her fairy dust she stripped from very core
he spread his wings and loved her then no more.

© Streambed. All rights reserved, 10 hours ago

C  
Heroic Crown of Sonnets: The Fairy

The fairy princess chose him for a king;
she found him walking through a crowded wood,
and followed him on iridescent wing;
her heart then singing fairy music good.
He was not young, but fairies see the soul
his mind was diamond, heart was rainbowed light;
she saw where others were a mass of coal
this man, this one, was brilliant beacon bright.
She flitted then, from branch to branch, concealed
and judged the man on way and secret thought;
she saw in him some wicked ways revealed,
but basked in beauty deep within him, caught.
She feared to love; though loving would be just;
the man was fragile, born of clay and dust.

The man was fragile, born of clay and dust,
a short-lived mortal, hardly just a breath.
Though heart toward love was wildly, deeply thrust
she knew her love would only end in death.
A fairy prince would make a better king;
a thousand years would pass like seven days,
but love a man? How sharp would be the sting
when breath was gone; how short man’s spirit stays!
She shuddered then, with thought of all the loss
and yet his soul was lovelier than theirs;
no fairy prince had half his rainbow’s gloss
no fairy prince had such a light to share.
No, it was he who must and should be king.
Her fairy eyes took in the joy he’d bring.

Her fairy eyes took in the joy he’d bring,
what sweet delight his reign would mean to her;
if he, a man, were made the fairy king,
so many hearts would sing with joy and stir;
the fairy babes would each bask in his light,
and grow so strong, and brighter for his thought;
and in the dances on the moony nights
the songs would glitter with the notes he taught;
yes, all the world of fairies would rejoice
if broad-souled man would take the fairy crown;
the woods were filled by glory of his voice;
in waves of music sweetly she would drown.
And yet though love rose thrilling and robust,
her fairy heart knew better than to trust.

Her fairy heart knew better than to trust;
she knew that men are fickle, and unkind,
and yet she felt despite it all she must
reveal herself and all her fairy mind.
She sang a harmony to all his song
and when he looked, she landed at his feet,
then made herself much taller, then and strong
’til eye to eye the two of them should meet.
He saw her wings, and knew just what she was;
remembering the stories as a child;
his old heart quailed, and he stepped back because
her beauty’s force was absolutely wild.
He took her hand, but didn’t tell the truth;
he sought through her the secret rose of youth.

He sought through her the secret rose of youth;
the legends told the fairies had this thing;
he didn’t tell the fairy all the truth
because he feared just what the truth would bring.
Yet he was old, his life was nearly spent
and if this rose was in his hands indeed,
the years would fall, and time’s hold would be rent,
while he bloomed freshly as a springing seed.
He wanted this; he hungered for his strength.
What joy to stand in passion’s door again!
The fairy heard his thoughts and all their length,
and knew just what to offer to him then.
“Come with me now, your troubles will be slain;
some blooms are balms and heal men from life’s pain.”

“Some blooms are balms and heal men from life’s pain,
and I have one that counteracts the years;
why should you age, when sweet one, you could reign,
and never feel another lonely tear?
Come with me now, and take my fairy hand,
and I will give you kingdoms, and my love.
My heart is yours to have and to command,
and you will find me docile as a dove.”
She drew up then; he yearned for her embrace;
her form was lush and promised much delight;
she saw herself reflected in his face
and subtle change in vibrant rainbow light.
He wanted her, as well as rose of youth;
she sought in him an echo of her truth.

She sought in him an echo of her truth;
a fairy’s soul is always changing form;
a fairy heart retains the joy of youth,
and adds to it a passion ever warm;
a fairy sees itself in all its works;
the flowers bloomed, the stars well-shined at night,
no fairy child ever hides or shirks
because their jobs are always a delight.
She loved this man; he loved her love so well,
that they were married, in a fairy ring;
and all the fairies rang the flower bells,
and human man was crowned the fairy king.
So king and queen began their magic reign;
she lay with him and all his griefs were slain.

She lay with him and all his griefs were slain,
such rapture there beneath her fairy wings!
Their jasper cave was lovely in the rain,
and they had joys that only love can bring.
He felt his age when stroking her smooth skin;
her strength was such he wished his own was more;
she saw these thoughts while in his arms again,
and kissed his cheek, then flew through jasper door.
Her heard her land in gravel late at night,
and in her arms she bore a glowing bloom;
it filled the cave with gentle crimson light,
and glorified the shining jasper room.
She came to him as if she’d lie and rest,
he held her close; she placed rose in his breast.

He held her close; she placed rose in his breast,
and as he slept, the years each fell away.
The rose’s scent perfumed the cave and blessed;
the rose’s bloom unworked cruel time’s decay.
When morning came; he rose a man of power,
his body twenty, or perhaps eighteen;
and how he blessed the magic of the flower
that left his skin so perfect, smooth and clean.
The fairy laughed to see the joy he took,
and held him then, to share in his heart’s bliss;
she stood far back and took another look,
and offered him another fairy kiss.
She looked, and yet her eyes were not quite dry;
his heart grew young, and yet he still could die.

His heart grew young, and yet he still could die,
his mortal form was still a frightening thought.
She loved him much, and couldn’t help but cry
because with danger his dear life was fraught.
The fairies all took counsel time to time,
and worried over his mortality,
he stood there, glowing, in his vibrant prime
but age and death would never let that be.
There was one way to give him lasting life,
too terrible to even think about;
the magic stripped from fairy wedded wife
would give him wings, while she would go without.
She lie awake against his human breast,
her fairy heart would never give her rest.

Her fairy heart would never give her rest,
she watched him walk, while flying, she danced air;
she searched old books for answers in her quest
to find a way to bring him wings to wear.
What life he’d find! What joys he’d know as king!
What beauties would his bright soul then unfold?
What good was life if his death it would bring?
What good was love if shortly dead and cold?
She loved him so; she longed to give him all,
but what of her? And how would she exist?
Her fairy heart considered such a fall,
and what it cost to love the man she kissed.
She wept, he’d never felt the gentle sky;
she longed for day that he could rise and fly.

She longed for day that he could rise and fly;
at last her heart was broken with his plight;
3,000 years she’d lived, but not known why;
but now she lived in glory of his light.
It wasn’t right that one so beautiful
should go unwinged, and have the shortest life
while she, a fairy with the eras full
should fly, uncaring, though she was his wife.
The rose would only work a single time;
she had to act to give him many years,
for why should he, a creature so sublime
feel rough, raw age, or know a dying fear?
She loved him true; and after final soar,
her fairy dust she stripped from very core.


Her fairy dust she stripped from very core;
her light went out, her wings both dried and snapped,
she pulled and pulled until there was no more,
then carried dust to where her husband napped.
She knelt beside him while her tears fell thick,
and rubbed the dust into his human skin,
she paused, head spinning, dizzy now and sick
but forced herself to rub him down again.
The dust sank in through muscle and his bone,
he woke while she was kneading his broad back;
he said, “Oh no! Oh no! This was your own!”
He looked at her, and saw her magic’s lack.
He felt his blood begin a heady roar;
he spread his wings and loved her then no more.

He spread his wings and loved her then no more;
her magic gone, she was a human queen;
the fairy king had loved her fairy core,
he’d loved her for her wings and fairy sheen,
and when she gave it all for love of him,
his love failed fast; without her flitting wings
and popping off to chase her varied whims,
her way was not a pleasure to the king.
She loved him well, as fairy and as girl,
her heart was his; they reined and ruled, and yet,
she’d once had wings; she’d hide behind her curls
and weep for flights that she could not forget.
She loved the king far more than light or flight
his glory then became her heart’s delight.

The fairy princess chose him for a king;
the man was fragile, born of clay and dust;
her fairy eyes took in the joy he’d bring;
her fairy heart knew better than to trust.
He sought through her the secret rose of youth
some blooms are balms and heal men from life’s pain;
she sought in him an echo of her truth;
she lay with him and all his griefs were slain.
He held her close; she placed rose in his breast,
his heart grew young, and yet he still could die;
her fairy heart would never give her rest
she longed for day that he could rise and fly;
her fairy dust she stripped from very core
he spread his wings and loved her then no more.

© Streambed.  Feb. 2014

This is the most beautiful such composition I have ever read.  _Larry Eberhart

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England (Sonnet Redoubled)

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England IBorn Catalina, regal child of Spain,
to two joint sovereigns of great renown,
she’d study various subjects and would train
in household arts where she could hold her own.Her father Ferdinand by stroke of fate
inherited the crown of Aragon.
Her mother Isabel, an equal mate,
was ruling queen of Castile and Leon.
This union started Spanish unity.
Iberian Moors and Jews were then expelled.
Columbus sailed to famed discovery.
The empire burgeoned while its coffers swelled.
But Spain was never meant for Catherine.
She was destined to be the English queen.

¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England II

She was destined to be the English queen.
A treaty signed when she was only three
pledged the infanta to the Englishmen:
to wed Prince Arthur, heir and king-to-be.
Stuck four days in Corunna, weather struck;
the ships were damaged badly, one was lost.
Repairs for six weeks: what a stressful luck!
They sailed for three months to the British coast.
And now the English people were rejoiced.
The quay was teeming when they were to land.
The church bells chimed; felicities were voiced
by locals and by foreigners on hand.
The people loved the princess out of Spain.
All England cheered the prospect of her reign.

¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England IIIAll England cheered the prospect of her reign. 
She traveled through the English countryside.
A Negro trumpeter among her train 
announced her presence, quite a novel ride.
To Dogmersfield King Henry VII went
to see the princess earlier than he should.
So did Prince Arthur; everybody spent
the night in dancing, all in festive mood.
In London, trumpet blares and cannon booms
marked royally the couple’s wedding day.
The king dispatched to Wales both groom and groom’s 
enchanting bride — the people’s hearts to sway.
The princess stirred and charmed, whenever seen,
that strange new land she reached at age fifteen.¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸


Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England IV
That strange new land she reached at age fifteen
was suddenly transformed from joy to gloom.
A sweating sickness fell upon the scene
and took the Prince of Wales in youthful bloom.
The princess too was ailed but she survived.
Her illness kept her bound to bed for weeks.
With special care she later on revived,
The rosy hue refound upon her cheeks.
Her marriage ended in a luckless lurch,
a teenage widow left without a child.
She was so true to God and to the church:
why was she now deprived as though exiled?
The king would marry her, which Spain denied.
First Arthur’s, she became his brother’s bride.*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England VFirst Arthur’s, she became his brother’s bride.
But first a papal bull should be secured.
“A man”, a canon law specified,
“can’t wed his brother’s widow” — in a word.
It was argued that Catherine remained
a virgin through her marriage, quickly ceased.
This meant it was not valid; she retained
the right to marry Henry, this was stressed.
The pope’s decision was favorable;
She was now free to be young Henry’s wife.
Till then her household stayed miserable
with not enough funds in support of life.
Old Henry journeyed to the Great Unknown.
Young Henry just ascended to the throne.¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England VI

Young Henry just ascended to the throne.
Reforms enacted made him most revered.
He freed the jailed; officials of his own
replaced the ones whom folks abhorred and feared.
His father left a hefty treasury.
The gifted son had varied interests:
Sports, music, writing, arts and industry. 
The English navy bloomed and faced its tests.
It was their happy time of married life:
A dozen years or so of mutual love.
The king was as religious as his wife;
Their partnership seemed blessed by God above.
Her royal pedigree was Europe-wide.
The Tudors’ right to rule solidified.

¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England VIIThe Tudors’ right to rule solidified,
Helped to a great extent by Catherine.
She was blue-blooded through and through beside
Her skills and virtues, fitting for a queen.
She even acted as ambassador 
Of Spain to England — five successful years.
Each winter she provided for the poor:
Clothes, fuel, money, food and goodly cheers.
To her the king confided, at the start.
There was no sign of any stress or threat.
He proudly jousted as Sir Loyal Heart:
He wore her scarf, his trophies at her feet.
The queen herself had claim upon the throne
Through her superior bloodline, little known.¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England VIII

Through her superior bloodline, widely known,
Queen Catherine had royal English root.

From John of Gaunt she came down, on her own,
through two unquestioned royal lines to boot.
Her offspring then would have a solid lock
upon the English throne by right of birth.
Thus when a son was born, the land would rock
with celebrations, full of joy and mirth.
Alas, the Prince of Wales was not destined
to bring about a lasting happiness.
Child Henry died ere two months passed, unsinned:
a brief bliss, then an era of distress.
That she was luckless couldn’t be so true.
She gave birth to six children, quite a few.

¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England IXShe gave birth to six children, quite a few. 
On her third pregnancy, King Henry sailed

to fight a war in France; and to pursue
his claim upon the French throne, but he failed.
He won some battles though and thereby seized
some cities — thus regaining English pride.
But while away French allied Scotsmen squeezed
upon the border, movement quickly spied.
The queen was left as regent, so as head
she readied England for the looming fight.
At Flodden Field, the Earl of Surrey led
the English troops and put the Scots to flight.
With her six children, Tudor blood should thrive.
But three sons died, a daughter would survive.¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England X

But three sons died, a daughter would survive.
That could well serve as fitting epithet
for Catherine whom Fate would soon deprive
of happiness despite her queenly feat.
To further establish the Tudor line,
The king was greatly anxious for a son.
Though rival claims had ceased or in decline,
New trouble might erupt if he were gone.
The king began to treat her dismally;
with people though, she kept her love affair.
The queen engrossed herself with charity
and raising daughter Mary as an heir.
For all her worth, she didn’t get her due.
The king diminished her in public view.¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸ 

 

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England XIThe king diminished her in public view
but Catherine remained quite popular.
He sought a male heir (with somebody new)
as to avert another civil war.
Since England never had a ruling queen,
so Mary’s prospect was a risky thing.
He asked annulment but then Catherine
rejected such proposal by the king.
His envoys now scoured Europe for support,
the pope’s assent most crucial to obtain.
And then the queen was banished from the court,
her old rooms occupied by Anne Boleyn.
‘Twas sad how so low would her fortunes dive.
But she behaved quite queenly while alive.¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England XII

But she behaved quite queenly while alive
though fate and fortune shook her up and down.
In gracious times her queenly traits would thrive;
the bad times showed that she deserved her crown.
The people faithfully supported her
(while Anne Boleyn was vilified and mocked).
When riding out, the crowds would wildly cheer
that left the king and privy council shocked.
“Inciting to rebellion!” she was warned
with threats to move from London and her child.
The king had willed, the people’s wish be darned,
to void their tie through forceful means or mild.
She wouldn’t give up for material gain.
One final painful blow would yet remain.

¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*•

 ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England XIIIOne final painful blow would yet remain.
She couldn’t just renounce her legal right

and that of Mary — oh, the mother’s pain!
Her means constricted, she pursued the fight.
Those siding with the king received rewards:
appointments, money and the monarch’s grace.
Those siding with the queen soon afterwards
were jailed, dismissed or barred to see her face.
The king’s “great matter” reached its peak at home
when Anne got pregnant, an affair of state.
The Church of England broke away from Rome
so that the child be born legitimate.
But ere the break,a secret wedded twain:
The king in secret married Anne Boleyn.¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸

Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England XIV

The king in secret married Anne Boleyn,
his powers soon would span religion’s scope.
And thus began Britannia’s willful reign
that answered to no overlord nor pope.
But Catherine was just as quick and tough:
she’d writ both pope and holy emperor
that no war should be waged on her behalf.
She wrote not after schism — but before!
Her health declined with her diminished lot:
she’d moved to lesser castles, seldom seen.
Though she was buried in an abby plot,
the people still regarded her as queen.
The height of queenliness she did attain.
Born Catalina, regal child of Spain.¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸

 Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England XV
Born Catalina, regal child of Spain,
She was destined to be the English queen.
All England cheered the prospect of her reign.
That strange new land she reached at age fifteen
First Arthur’s, she became his brother’s bride.
Young Henry just ascended to the throne.
The Tudors’ right to rule solidified,
Through her superior bloodline, widely known,
She gave birth to six children, quite a few.
But three sons died, ONE daughter would survive.
The king diminished her in public view
But she behaved quite queenly while alive
One final painful blow would yet remain.
The king in secret married Anne Boleyn.
¨*•.¸¸¸¸.•*¨*• ..•*» ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸
(c) Lawrence R. Eberhart and Jose M. Rizal Reyes -November 2013