THE ENNUNMENT CANTO 1
Photon One Launched
Volcanic rockets put down jets of fire
Erupting in a raging sea of flame
Engulfing the whole pad, as higher, higher
Leapt blazes full of fury nought could tame.
The silver bullet hurtled through the sky,
Now stabbing at the clouds and sundering
The fortresses of heaven, vast and high.
Stupendous and beyond all wondering!
The aerospace adventure would enlarge
Dominions subject to the firm decree
Of Udi, Queen of Ung, the one in charge
Of Nya, here in the galaxy called Ti.
The goddess Ajinblambia with grace
Had built the aerospace facility
Whence came the ship just launched towards outer space.
She was a lady of unmatched ability.
Eventually the blazes did subside.
The ship had vanished. All had settled down.
Then on the screen, irradiant with pride,
Appeared her lovely visage, golden brown.
Her shapely carmine mouth I knew so well
For having put her lipstick on her lips
Now over all the planet cast its spell,
As she described the journey of her ships.
A dress of scarlet linen I had sewn
Fit perfectly her gorgeous line and curve.
The deep vee neck permitting to be shown
Her cleavage, I’d designed with dainty verve.
About her neck a scarf of black silk crepe
Was knotted on the left, as I had taught,
And a thin sash did emphasize her shape
Within a tiny golden buckle caught.
All afternoon, she answered interviews
About Mezquaco, her titanic site,
Amid excitement at the latest news
Of Photon’s launching executed right.
Both engineers and physicists appeared
With Ajinblambia, who overshone
Them all. She was indeed to be revered,
A single lady guarding Udi’s throne.
This was her apogee, her dazzling noon,
The culmination of her brilliant fame.
The queendom’s boundaries, extended soon,
Would let be sounded near and far her name.
Had been performed by scanner, and a book
Had been composed by an academy,
An atlas whereupon the queen would look.
Here tomograms of organs, nerves and cells,
Enlarged and labelled, with companion text
That, commenting and annotating, tells
Her genius, are the evidence that’s next
To testify to her unrivalled mind.
In fact, just ere the space flight had been planned,
The atlas freshly bound, all sealed and signed
By Cocothrasp, was put into my hand.
Returning from the university,
I studied and reviewed the book a week,
Amazed at the untold diversity
Of Ajinblambia’s superb physique.
Queen Udi did peruse the atlas too,
Just at the time the mighty spaceship rose.
The volume and the launching—were they true?
Such marvels happened did she dare suppose?
“Incredible! Incredible!” she cried,
All full of awe and wonder she was filled.
Here eyes shed tears; her face was full of pride.
She seemed entranced, exhilarated, thrilled.
Next Vice Queen Ajinblambia herself
Appeared upon the threshold of the door
To Udi’s royal office. On a shelf
Queen Udi hid the book and read no more.
For Ajinblambia had not been told
A book on her anatomy was planned.
She didn’t know her secrets would unfold
Before the eyes of her of sceptered hand.
Came Ajinblambia, then Udi praised,
Rhapsodically exclaimed, “We are impressed
Indeed, astonished, overwhelmed, amazed.
Of all of Ung’s great glories, this is best!”
With her accustomed modesty and grace,
Now Ajinblambia, with blush and smile
Suffusing carmine o’er her perfect face,
Made little of her effort in the trial.
“I’ve only put to work old mysteries
Of science that have fallen in neglect,
Unearthed them from forgotten histories.
It’s not the marvel many do suspect.
However, were it not for your great heart
In granting the approval of the state,
It’s probable there would have been no start,
No empire of the planets to await.”
Continuing her gratitude, the Queen
Said, “Ajinblambia, let me confess,
In thinking, thinking, thinking of this scene
We now enact, and how best to express
My gratitude and pay my debt to you,
Requiting all the benefits bestowed
By you upon my realm, I feel it due
That I should make the palace your abode.
Surmounting with the sapphire crown of Ung
Your lovely head, repository rich
In wisdom, with its honeyed breath and tongue,
Resplendent with its tresses black as pitch.
I then would abdicate the ancient throne,
And seat you there instead, with mond in hand,
To rule and reign and monarchize alone
The queendom’s far-flung isles and boundless land.
If I propose, you will accept, I know.”
Queen Udi did conclude her little speech.
But Ajinblambia said, “No, no, no!
My wisdom and ability don’t reach.
Unto such heights I never did aspire.
You are the Queen I serve and I adore.
Within my heart I have no such desire.
My cup is full; why would I long for more?”
The Queen appeared dejected and morose,
As if a splendid prize she thought would whelm
Had been rejected, and what had been close
At hand, now lay afar, beyond her realm.
I too was shocked, astounded and confused,
For in the seven years that I had known
This Ajinblambia, I oft had mused
The crown was what she sought to make her own.
“The overladyship of Ung forsooth
Draws Ajinblambia headlong amain,
And has her coursing like a lynx in truth,
Pursuing the great prey she will attain,
Regardless of the measures and the means,”
I had soliloquized betimes of her,
“She will usurp the throne that is the Queen’s
And dress herself in royal ermine fur.”
Romantic overtures and kisses red,
And gifts of roses, evenings of champagne,
All that would lead her to the queenly bed,
In my mind’s eye, were obvious and plain
As just a stratagem, a clever ruse
To lead her up the steps of white brocade,
Embroidered as if by the threaden Muse,
Whereon Ung’s throne and banner are displayed.
I wondered what was next, but silence reigned.
An anxious silence reigned. The Queen looked hurt.
The features of her countenance looked pained.
To erstwhile plans she’d now have to revert.
Eventually, she smiled, and raised her eyes
More merrily and gaily than before,
And placed her dainty hands upon the thighs
Of Ajinblambia, to speak some more.
“Dear Ajinblambia,” the Queen suspired,
“If you will not be Queen, will you be King?”
“How King?” then Ajinblambia inquired.
“I’ve never heard of any suchlike thing,
For when a lady rules, they call her Queen.
Is that not so in this august domain,
As in the others I have haply seen
Where ladies over territories reign?”
“In truth, quite commonly, that is the case,
But this is Ung, the monarchy best known
Among the jigsawn realms upon the face
Of Nya, our planet, helter-skelter thrown.
Of Ungi, language of our famous realm,
As Queen, I rule the lexicography.
My sovran hand is firm upon the helm
Of all the seas of Nya’s geography.
I’m lady of the continents and isles,
The rivers and the oceans of this sphere,
The governess of acres and of miles.
So I define the words that all will hear.
A difference of perquisites and rights
Inheres in “King” and “Queen”, as nouns expressed.
I think the Ungi Dictionary cites
A number of examples that attest.
A case can so be made that sex alone
Does not explain the presence in our speech
Of these two words. We rightly thus condone
That unto kinghood may a lady reach.
But were this otherwise, I still might quash
A law forbidding women to be kings.
I could the slate of statutes simply wash
And on you fingers place the signet rings.”
Two volumes of our Dictionary lay
Upon the walnut desk the Queen presides,
Its pages lucid with the light of day
The checkerboard of windowpanes provides.
So Ajinblambia, in linen red,
In scarf of crepe and off-black stockings clad,
Stepped sideways, leaning down her gorgeous head
To read the definitions Udi had.
“Quite true it is that Kings and Queens enjoy
Distinct prerogatives and diff’rent roles,
Have varied options that they may employ.
It isn’t merely they’re a magnet’s poles
Held diametrically apart by sex.
I see you have a point, Your Highness dear.
The office of Regina and of Rex
Are dignities dissimilar. I fear
Your Majesty’s opinion is correct,
Or largely so, I modestly confess.
But sex, however slightly, does affect
The meanings the words ‘King’ and ‘Queen’ express.”
Queen Udi graciously admitted that,
In bygone times, just women had been Queens
And men alone as Kings on thrones had sat.
There’d been no opposites or in-betweens.
But she could see no reason to maintain
Traditions that of ritual were born,
Now that a nova shone above our plain
And Dyo, our Sun, illumined a new morn.
“At any rate, what do you have in mind—
That you renounce the throne, and I ascend,
But as a King, the throne you’ve left behind,
While you your way as commoner do wend?
It is the selfsame thing. You’ve changed a noun,
But elsewise everything is all the same.
You sacrifice to me your earned renown
And hand to me the honors due your name.
If that be what you are devising now,
I fear that I must utterly decline,
No party will I be, so do I vow,
To your unthroning, royal Queen of mine.
Moreover, you did state, I understand,
That, if a law existed to prevent
A woman’s kingship, you could countermand
That statute, overruling its intent.
Why have a law if all you have to do
In order to ignore it is repeal
Particulars that legislators drew
And whereupon they placed the Ungi seal?”
Queen Udi answered quickly to this point,
“Quite simply for that Parliament foresaw
No goddess we would as our King anoint,
Shall we obey quite senselessly their law?
I do not think that I shall have to void
A duly prómulgated statute, though.
A legion of attorneys I’ve employed
Can justify a woman King, I know.
So we’ve no let or hindrance to prevent
Us from this great enthronement I have planned.
As for the other thing you spoke anent,
I think you haply did misunderstand.
Whenas I proffered that you be the King,
I didn’t mean that you would be the Queen
In truth, the King in name alone. This thing
Is not at all the thing that I did mean.
My meaning was that you ascend the throne
As King while I remain the Queen, unchanged.
Together will our robes of state be sewn.
Together will our fortunes be arranged.”
Now Ajinblambia blushed deeply. Down
She cast her gaze. So, lovely plummy hues
Empurpled plumpish cheeks of walnut brown
When she had listened to these latest news.
She knew that Udi meant they’d rule the realm
Together as the King and Queen, of course,
With Ajinblambia behind the helm,
Enjoying Ung’s unconquerable force.
She scarcely could believe what she had heard,
I saw that she was rapturous, enthralled,
Rejoiceful and delighted at this word,
As if the syrinx of the sky had called.
Apparent was it though that she was shy,
Perhaps a little bashful, somewhat coy.
If I should guess the rhyme and reason why:
She felt she was a girl, and not a boy.
But she misunderstood the queenly mind.
It was her very bosom and her hips,
Her flawless skin, her visage sweet and kind,
The fullness and the richness of her lips,
The heavenly proportions of her form,
Her transcendental loveliness and grace,
Her soft soprano voice, her manner warm,
And all the magic beauty of her face
That Udi did adore and adulate.
It was the wondrous woman that she was
That Udi loved and would congratulate,
If she would govern as a monarch does.
Embarrassed ecstasy suffused her face
It seemed to me, as Majesty unveiled
Her vision. But the taller lady's grace
Enabled her to hide it, as if veiled.
Then thoughtful Ajinblambia replied,
"Assuming that there is no barring law,
Or if there is, you set it quite aside,
With valid argument that it foresaw
No lady who could monarchize the land
As fitly as you think that I can rule,
Supposing too I have the orb in hand
And prove to be a madcap or a fool
In matters royal, quite the blunderer,
So, having sworn to govern till I die,
I, thus misruling, am the sunderer
And shatterer of Ung so great and high,
Or just imagining that I, instead,
Prove quite the canny governess of Ung,
Fit fully to wear sapphires on my head
And form the laws and statutes with my tongue,
But nonetheless am desperately sad,
Distraught as toads of black obsidian
Or brazen apes, would you not then be mad
At every parallel, meridian
Equator, pole and tropic to maintain
My overladyship for years to come,
Imprisoning myself in grief and pain
I never would enjoy relief wherefrom?
I think these reservations do suffice
For me to answer ‘No’ to your kind gift.
But how do you opine?” In just a trice,
The Queen had made an unexpected shift
In her philosophizing, and replied
Quite simply, “That’s no problem we can’t solve.
Just rule a year, and if you’ve madly tried
Or sadly tried to rule, I shall absolve
You of all obligations to remain
Upon the throne and in the palace crowned.
Yet still, if you and I both like your reign,
Of course a lifetime you will stay around
To oversee our cities and our towns.
How now do you opine, O goddess mine?”
“I wonder at your adjectives and nouns!
The trial kingship, nonetheless, sounds fine.
With those conditions, I would fain accept,
Except that one more problem does exist.”
Queen Udi had some anxious teardrops wept,
As if another shot its mark had missed.
“What other problem do you mean?” asked she,
“I see no other problem. I see none.
No, none. What other problem can there be?
Can you state just a single problem, one?”
Then Ajinblambia did nod towards me.
Her eyeballs rolled in my direction next.
She arched her lovely eyebrows quizzically,
But showed no sign that she was irked or vexed.
“Dear Vocno is an obstacle,” she said.
“Dear Vocno?” asked the Queen, with true surprise.
She too towards me then turned her lovely head,
Perhaps with rue or sorrow in her eyes.
Queen Udi then continued her research
Into the meaning of this new demur
By asking, “Would you even think to smirch
The honor of our Vocno, such a sir?
I do not know how he can pose a threat
Or vitiate or handicap your state.
For insurrection he would not abet
Or ever seek you kingdom to abate.
Quite oppositely does he think, in fact,
For he admires, adores and worships you,
In every deed you do, and act you act.
For you to let him stop you I would rue.”
And then the royal lady turned to me,
And said, “Is what I’ve uttered false or true?
She is the one you worship, isn’t she?
She is the one you mostly look unto?”
She had a stern, commanding look and mien,
As if to say I’d better second her,
In her esteem and love of her Vice Queen.
Although grandiloquence would not occur
To me in normal conversation, still,
Since Udi pressed me with her sternest face,
I thought it best to bend unto her will,
And conjured up sweet praises full of grace.
“Our Ajinblambia of course I love,
Adore and honor, lady most august.
Not here in Ung or in the sky above
Is there another whom so fain I’d trust
If that she had the scepter in her palm.
She would enrich the continents and land,
Seditions and disturbances becalm,
Bestowing bounties with a lavish hand.”
The Queen was plainly satisfied with me,
And, smiling with approval as she turned
To Ajinblambia, she said, “You see?
Dear Vocno sings the praises you have earned.
How can you say he constitutes a bar
Obstructing your ascent to royalty,
When he looks up to you as to a star,
His bosom full of faith and loyalty?”
“It’s gallant of dear Vocno thus to pay
Respects, nor do I doubt that he’s sincere,
For he and I do on this very day
Enjoy rapport. Yes, he is very dear.
But after all he’s made of flesh and blood,
And when he sees that you and I do reign
As King and Queen, and he remains a bud
That never bloomed, no doubt he will feel pain.
He therefore may eventually regret
Acceptance and approval lent at first.
It’s understandable and likely yet
That he would grow to think himself accursed.
Such jealousies and rivalries would harm
The framework of the edifice you raise,
And this is something that should wake alarm
Within your heart, regardless of his praise.
In such a case, I think I would decline.
Far be it from me to impair the state
You govern. Such intention is not mine.”
She spoke as if to terminate debate.
Again did Udi cast her eyes adown,
As if despondent, sorely grieved, upset.
Did I perceive the slightest little frown?
Did yet another tear her cheeks now wet?
Another silence lasted for a while.
The three of us were anxious and perplexed.
Perhaps, I thought, the Queen has some new wile
She now is contemplating. What was next?
The Queen’s exordium was in this wise,
“So shall I take it that you do refuse,
No if’s or but’s, however’s, still’s or why’s?”
She looked as if expecting sorry news.
But Ajinblambia replied, “Oh, no!
Oh, no, no, no! I rather merely meant
That if out of Mecnita he could go,
If to a distant place he could be sent,
At least throughout the proving period
That so magnanimously you proposed,
I speculate that all the myriad
Of problems whither we would be exposed
If he remained would readily be solved.
In such a case then I might deem it fit
To undertake the task that you’ve resolved
I should, obeying your decree and writ.
If for a year dear Vocno could retire
To some resort, perhaps a country seat,
Returning when the twelvemonth should expire,
I think the trial kingship would be meet.”
On hearing this, the Queen was overjoyed.
Her pleasure on her cheeks exultant shone,
She was in seventh heaven, unalloyed
Nirvana, utter zenith’s highest zone.
She turned to me, “Dear Vocno,” she began,
“You’ve worked as capably and zealously
As anybody, any other man.
All look on your attainments jealously.
“Enough is quite enough, I think. Don’t you?
You owe yourself some respite, a vacation.
Will you select a cottage with a view
In some remote but lovely little nation
In Ub, or maybe even here in Eb,
Perhaps some seaside village, lush and warm,
Relaxing and forgetting this big web
Of duties, tasks and errands you perform?”
Now Ajinblambia joined in to ask,
“Does Vocno have some hobbies that he likes,
Some sports to play, or in the sun to bask,
To jog or camp or swim or go on hikes?
Perhaps he hunts or fishes or climbs peaks.
If that be so, then haply we can choose
Locales where he will find the things he seeks
In order for his instincts to amuse.”
“Oh, Vocno has his pastimes and his games,
Of those you itemized not even one.
He’s more a sedentary soul who aims
For joys less daring and for safer fun.”
So Ajinblambia did query how
I spent my leisure hours, unless engrossed
In entertainments such as those just now
She’d named, for she had specified them most.
Queen Udi beamed with keen delight, I trow,
“Well, Vocno is accomplished at couture,
And he can spin and weave and knit and sew.
As you have seen, he’s gifted at coiffure.
He has a lot of dolls that fill his hours.
He dresses them according to the modes,
And he sings little love songs, presses flowers,
Collecting butterflies, inditing odes
And doing suchlike deeds, day in, day out.”
Now Ajinblambia herself did grin,
Her eyes chatoyant, “Quite a turnabout!
When did this change of attitude begin?
I meant to ask in private interview
If you had ever asked him to be King,
As I’d have been unwilling to endue
Myself in robes and wear the signet ring,
If I had felt that you had passed him by,
When after all he may have well deserved
The lordship of the continents to try
But for that you from common sense had swerved.
Now do I see he thus would govern ill,
But too I wonder rather, since as King
He doesn’t have the wisdom and the will,
Did you ask Vocno the reginal thing,
Did you invite him to become joint Queen,
Your sister and companion on the throne,
Thus for to speak, if you see what I mean?”
Her eyes with merry mischief gaily shone.
“I never asked dear Vocno to be Queen,
Though I can see the tenor of your jest.
For surely he does have a lady’s mien.
At girlish work he’s always full of zest.
It ne’er occurred to me to dizen him
In corset and corsage and veil of tulle,
In petticoats and skirts with flouncy trim,
And crown him as a regnant Queen to rule.
Unto a nunnery I led him though,
And as a novice nun three months he served.”
Now Ajinblambia surprise did show.
Her sable eyebrows upward archly curved.
“Bizarre coincidence he served as nun!
For recently somebody said she’d seen
Dear Vocno clad in habit, as if one
Of half a dozen sisters at a scene
Near Holy Armalissa Convent there
In the Piljandar District near the Mall
Of Oracles. As I recall ‘twas where
The nuns reside. He also wore a shawl,
For it was cool. Then little did I heed
The story of the sighting, for meseemed
Perhaps a lady dressed in nunnish weed
Resembled Vocno slightly. Who’d have dreamed
That he appeared in public as a nun?
A lot of maidens have that sissy face
And rosy little mouth that have begun
To show on Vocno lately and erase
All evidence of masculinity.
Yes, verily, could he go habited
In counterfeited femininity
With other sisters as they rabbited
Together on the sidewalk, clustering,
To hinder the chill air that haply blew
And then subsided before blustering
Once more. So Vocno is a nun, it’s true?”
The Queen replied, “No, no, ‘twas long ago
That Vocno to Defdefa, an initiate
Into their olden sacred rite, did go
To undergo his year’s novitiate.
This must be something other than the thing
Your interlocutor told you whereof,
The recent wimpled sighting you did bring
To my attention, and which I just love.”
The Vrikshaya looked puzzled. She inquired,
“Our Vocno was a postulant, you say?
Is this career the one that he desired?
Please tell about it all without delay.”
Queen Udi fetched a book of russet hide
With leaves with gilded edges from a shelf
Of polished oak a pace or two beside
Her massive desk, a book she’d penned herself
About our travels. It was longhand writ,
A diary or journal she’d composed.
So glancing at her book, her eyes did flit
About the pages wherein she supposed
She’d find her notes about my cloistered times.
This was an aid to help her to recall
The sequence of events, misdeeds and crimes
That locked me in the convent’s lofty wall.
“Aha! I’ve found my record of that day.
When Plubac’s xenophobes had kidnapped me
And I’d escaped, we understood our stay
Here in the capital would risky be,
For those conspirators were sworn to hunt
Us down for Jilndij, that usurping band
Aspiring my just queenship to affront
And seize the worldwide scepter from my hand.
Yes, we could not remain here unassailed.
Instead we opted to make haste to fly,
Lest with the villains’ javelins impaled
We both spill out our blood and early die.
Unfortunate it was that train and plane
Were the conveyances we had to choose
Wherefrom, for we well understood with pain,
At terminals, that it were hard to lose
Surveillants that might follow us along.
We deemed it likely they would not advance
Upon us in the daylight, for a throng
Of passengers would be around perchance.
Yet they might in the shadows lurk and stalk,
And when we’d boarded plane or train, they too
Would board, and thus see where we two would walk,
When we our destination came unto.
Thereat, they could attack us as they’d planned.
So how were we to fly the city then
That no one where we went would understand,
And we would not be slain by Plubac’s men?
We pondered and conferred, we thought and talked.
Then I recalled Defdefa Nunnery,
Just north of Fwascren whither sisters walked,
Far from conspirators’ mad gunnery,
Whenas, arriving in Mubunur Station,
Downtown in Fwascren, they showed piety
In twenty miles of meek perambulation,
Returning to their habited society.
I said, ‘Dear Vocno, let’s don nunnish weeds,
Accompanying some two hundred nuns
Returning to Defdefa and their beads,
For thus we may elude the evil ones,
Quite unobserved among the wimpled crowd,
When we pass through the station to the train.’
In truth I was just uttering aloud
The plan already fashioned in my brain.
Though scandalized and timorous at first,
Dear Vocno did eventually perceive,
Since our predicament was at its worst,
My plan it would be prudent to receive.
We did as I’d suggested, donning veils
And cashmere habits all in black, with skirts
Unto the floor. So dressed, we rode the rails
To Fwascren, tense, and mindful of alerts
That signs and circumstance would haply give.
Among two hundred sisters did we ride.
Detraining we would walk to where they live,
Dwesfesco, northwards, twenty miles outside.
Arriving at the city limits, we,
That is, the nuns and Vocno dear and I,
Continued ’cross a prairie bare of tree
Until the convent’s walls stood tall and nigh.
This juncture was the time I stole away
And hid myself behind a barn to wait
For him to follow, ah, but rue the day!
His stars had writ for him another fate.
A sister captured him when she caught sight
Of how he sidled to the roadside, tripped
Upon his habit’s skirt, and cried in fright.
His plan for flight, thus, in the bud she nipped.
She led him with duress unto the gates
Of that famed nunnery, and she confined
Him in the novice quarters with his mates,
The other postulants whom vows did bind.”
I interrupted, challenging a point
The tale the Queen related told in error,
“O Ajinblambia, four nuns conjoint
Did capture me and held me fast in terror.
’Twas not a single nun, as Udi claimed.”
The Queen said, “Vocno, it was just one nun,
She Sister Jinnamazdia was named,
A smallish lady. It was one on one.”
“No, no,” I cried, “it took four to subdue
And lead me willy-nilly to the gate.”
Here Ajinblambia did interview
The Queen if she the number did misstate.
“No, it was one,” Queen Udi did repeat.
“Please Udi…,” I to contradict now sought.
But Ajinblambia did blithely treat
My earnest words, explaining that she thought
It unimportant whether four or one
Had kidnapped me and tight had cloistered me.
Quoth she, “Perhaps there was a single nun,
Perhaps four nuns, or maybe two or three.
How does it matter when we know for sure
A single nun could do it easily?”
She smiled from ear to ear, in humor pure,
Both jabbering and chatting breezily.
Continuing, she said, “What shall we do?
Where shall we send dear Vocno for a year?”
Replying, Udi said, out of the blue,
“Well, he could fly to Ufzu to be near
Queen Shandra, resident in Candle Tower.
She’d be his chaperone and doting friend.
Perhaps he’d be a partner in her power,
Attending her wherever she might wend.
Alternatively, unto western Ub,
Where Vinja irrigates the endless land
From Qizilot, the awesome projects’ hub,
Might he betake himself to lend a hand.
Within the buttoned pocket of her skirt,
He’d be secure and safe and far away.
There with his heroine he’d woo and flirt
And, love-struck, say, ‘Ah, me!’, and, ‘Well-a-day!’”
“Oh, Udi, you’re so silly with your puns,
Yet it might be a good idea still,
But since we’ve spoken of those cloistered nuns,
And things religious, maybe he could fill
My regnal year by making a retreat.”
At this Queen Udi turned to me and said,
“Dear Vocno, won’t you with your maker meet,
Conversing with the living and the dead,
And contemplating verities and truth,
Communing with the spirits and the souls
Of the eternal commonwealth in sooth,
Upon a rural monastery’s knolls?”
Amazed I was the realistic Queen
Would talk of things angelic and divine.
The royal lady’d said she’d never seen
A reason souls existed to opine.
But Ajinblambia hereat conversed,
“Why can’t dear Vocno to Defdefa go,
There to retreat, in prayer and psalm immersed?
The convent has facilities, I know.”
“No, no,” I interrupted, “They don’t host
Retreating laymen. Just religious dwell
Within the walls, five thousand at the most.
For visitors, they’ve not a single cell.”
“If that be so, he can as a religious
Serve out his year far from the bustling throng
Surrounding us in Eldor so prestigious.”
But I cried out, “No, you are in the wrong,
For every inmate is a nun. Nor priest
Nor monk nor bishop is allowed inside.”
I thought by explicating this, at least
The thought of a retreat to brush aside.
But she said, “Well, so what? You did it once.
It’s certain you could do it once again,”
As if I’d been a nitwit and a dunce
Objecting to a second nunhood then.
Then looking to the Queen, she took the word,
“Well, we could settle this all later on,
But if dear Vocno, like a migrant bird,
Would leave Mecnita and a year be gone
It would facilitate the royal change.”
At last the Queen, who’d pondered quite a while,
Replied, “I think that fitly to arrange
The matter of his absence and your trial,
I have the best idea. Please reply.
If I enable you to mount the throne
To see if you can rule us, if you try
And if you will, then I shall fain condone
That you decide where Vocno dear be sent,
To Ufzu or to Ub or a resort,
Or any other place we spoke anent.
The choice would with your royalty comport.
In such a circumstance would you agree
To govern tentatively my domain
As King while I of Queen keep the degree?”
She spoke with rhetoric legerdemain,
As brilliant ladies have the gift to speak,
Intoning, stressing every syllable
In diction eloquent and language chic,
A cornucopia refillable
Of sweet persuasion and convincing reasons.
“If you do tender such an offer, yes,
I surely do accept for one year’s seasons,
At least, and maybe always, as I guess.”
“Then I do tender.” “Then I do accept.”
“All hail, King Ajinblambia of Ung."
Queen Udi with a golden crown then leapt
From where she’d sat, when she these words had sung.
Atop the raving beauty’s regal head
She set the cirque of majesty. “Today,
I crown you King of Ungia,” she said,
“The mistress of black night and azure day.”
Of course, this was a merry, gay charade.
A modest coronation would be staged,
Soon in the royal chapel. To parade
In Eldor Palace courtiers would be paged.
However, the two ladies had concurred
To hold a coronation regally
Just if, a year thereafter, with her word,
The King a lifetime promised legally.
This private pageant ended and the two
Relaxed, but I began to work in haste.
A purse of combs and articles a few,
With lipstick and with rouge, hung from my waist.
Withdrawing first a brush for spot and speck,
I straightened and renewed the linen dress
The King had on, retying at her neck
Her scarf of crepe. Then her rich raven tress
I combed and brushed with silver-handled brush,
Delighting in the electricity
That tingled in my fingers. Then her blush
I barely rouged with authenticity
Both subtle and superb. I did remark
That her black stocking had a tiny run.
But I had new ones, beige and nude and dark,
Inside my purse. Removing, one by one,
Her present stockings, I drew new ones on,
Adjusting the smart garters ’round her thighs.
I posed no threat for I’d foreseen to don
Chaste sash and virgin girdle of my size.
Upon her carmine mouth I placed a trace
Of costly lipstick I had blent myself
From creams and rouge and oil in a vase,
Like those of cosmeticians, from my shelf.
She laid a finger ’cross her gorgeous lips,
Thus signifying I was not to talk,
While turning e’er so slightly her full hips,
She moved her foot as if she meant to walk.
But this was just a gesture that I knew
Meant I should now replace her pumps of black.
I understood that I should check them too
And scented, fresh and spotless put them back.
But Udi interrupted to instruct
That I must always kneel before the King,
Possessoress of Ung’s great usufruct,
Whose middle finger wore the signet ring.
But thinking that an even greater show
Of honor would be fair, before I knelt
I bowed and curtseyed, then I laid me low
In meek prostration that was meet I felt.
Then kissing both her feet, I slipped her shoes,
Upon her feet and rose into a kneel.
The ladies talked some more about the news,
The launching and the law they might repeal.
So it had been established that as King,
Great Ajinblambia would have the right
To forebespeak each time, each place, each thing
Whereto my eyes would always cast their sight.
She would decide my station and my rank,
My habitation and my occupation,
The quantity of gold inside my bank,
My name and title, my nobilitation.
I would be just a chessman in her hand,
A figure painted on her fan of lace,
A mere obedient she could command,
A pencilled signature she could erase.
It looked as if our contest had been won
In triumph irreversible and bold,
By this almighty goddess, lady sun,
Who in her palm our lands and isles did hold.
Now she would rule the planet, and above,
If her new Photon One should pass its test,
And I would be her nuthatch or her dove,
With but a tiny lacy ribbon jessed.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kennymiller/536653708/
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