THE ENNUNMENT CANTO 3
Shrongmoil Medical Center, in Cnaizdadf
What antecedents could legitimize
The destiny befalling me anon?
Give me a minute to epitomize
The sequence of events that brought it on.
When unto Ung I’d haply made my way,
I met Queen Udi posing as if she
Had been a common student, day by day
Attending at the university.
Intrigues and jeopardies beleaguered us
For three long years, but we survived them all.
All these misfortunes I shan’t here discuss.
To do so would my nunnish tale forestall.
Suffice it rather just to let me state
That she and I eventually were wed
In year three ninety, on the fifteenth date.
I was not King, Prime Minister instead.
Queen Udi had the ancestry and wit
All by herself to turn the royal helm
And guide the argosy of state as it
Did navigate the oceans of the realm.
With fatalism, I myself resigned
Unto my ministeriality.
Far be it from the passions of my mind
To try to contravene reality.
But with the Jvashnas’ fall and Ub annexed,
The Vrikshayas sought venues fresh and new
According to the articles and text
That constitute the charter that they drew.
So Ajinblambia had come to Ung
And wooed the Queen and forced me from her bed,
Supplanting me and climbing to the rung
Atop Ung’s ladder as Ung’s highest head.
Once nominated to be royal King,
Tall Ajinblambia at once decreed
That I be cloistered in the novice wing
Of the famed nunnery, and don the weed
Of black and white that nuns are wont to wear.
A century remained me to be nun.
A century devoted to meek prayer,
While Ajinblambia would be the Sun
Of the Nyatic planet we inhabit,
She in her crimson, in her miniver,
I in my wimple, guimpe and swishing habit.
She as the King of her own Guinevere,
I as a nun’s attendant and right hand.
Who was there who could contradict her rule?
Who could her edicts glibly countermand?
There was nought for it but to mewl and pule.
At any rate, the abbess had agreed
To come by super-jet to meet the King
And speak of the ennunment, and to plead
Her cause as it concerned the tacit thing
Whereunto on the phone they did allude,
The question of my sexuality.
For in the convent for me to intrude
Were dyed with shades of illegality.
That evening I in Udi’s room was locked,
For King and Queen perhaps were warily
Aware that I might some way out concoct,
A prospect that they both viewed charily.
The morning was delightful, full of cheer.
We three ate cutlets, melons and fresh eggs.
But as the end of afternoon did near,
The Queen did bind again my arms and legs.
She placed the bit and shod me in the mask,
For Olezconia’d requested I be tied,
For she sought quickly to perform the task
Of sacring my new nunhood at her side.
’Twas fourish by our own chronometry.
We have our measures and we have our times,
Our calculus and trigonometry.
We even have our scansion and our rhymes.
So porcellanously upon my knees
I stood like to a china figurine,
My neck was lengthened and the mask did squeeze,
So taut the cords were tightened by the Queen.
The royal ladies on the chaise had sat,
And chattered as they waited for the nun.
The maid-in-waiting, Stlembi, soon thereat
Came to announce unto the royal one
A guest arrived with Thrulxmarj, the chauffeur,
Now standing just outside the office door.
“Milady, should I go without to her,
And fetch her here, O Majesty, before
Yourself and our new King. Be kind. Say whether.”
The Queen instructed Stlembi, “Yes, make haste.”
The maid-in-waiting, Stlembi, curtseyed nether,
And back into the corridor then raced.
A moment later that most awesome nun,
The abbess, Olezconia, appeared.
Her height was seven feet, a stately one
Whom everyone who knew her deeply feared.
Her face was sweet and mild. Her skin was cream.
Her lips were petals, lavender her breath.
She was a gracious goddess in a dream.
You’d never guess her limbs could have dealt death.
For underneath her habit, there was strength.
She was athletic and gymnastic too.
She, with facility, walked any length,
And could have run it if she’d wanted to.
So, to outsiders, like the King and Queen,
Her pious visage shone with grace and light
But to the nuns and postulants who’d seen
Her real nature, she embodied fright.
I never have attempted to deny
That I personified timidity;
When Olezconia would come nearby
I’d flinch and quake with pellucidity,
For I was not afraid to be afraid
Of such a formidable female foe,
Let all perceive that I my homage paid,
Appreciate that I my place did know.
The royal ladies did receive the nun
With every courtesy and all respect.
Her tallness and the Vrikshaya’s were one.
A difference one hardly could detect,
But Udi was much shorter, quite petite,
By standards of comparison in Ung.
If you could see the ladies on the street,
You’d think that aunts and niece had come among
The throngs of passers-by who walked about.
Still Udi topped me by an inch or two.
Who thus was I the governance to flout
That Olezconia’d acceded to,
Whenas those ladies doubtless rightly thought
That I was but a youngster in their midst?
Were I to show defiance, I’d be taught,
“Thou must be punished for the deeds thou didst.”
The royal pair upon the chaise remained,
While Stlembi brought a chair to place nearby,
And then departed, while the Queen explained
I had been bound when that the hour drew nigh.
The nun complained that an impediment
Encumbered my ennunment. She was loth
To muddy waters with such sediment,
Describing with immodesty to both
The problem that by nature I did pose.
Defdefa Convent had its sacred law.
“What can be done, do you, O King, suppose,
To remedy and rectify the flaw?”
I wist not that whereof the royals spoke,
For they did posit riddles, rhymes and puns.
They in the folds of pedantry did cloak
Their answers to most questions of the nun’s.
I overhead the Vrikshaya permit
Unto the nun pursuit of any course
She reckoned necessary, to commit
Me to the convent, even were it force.
I knew that guarding me tenaciously,
The nun would ineluctably prevail.
’Twere utterly inefficaciously
That I’d try flight, for surely I would fail.
So to my fate I did myself resign.
The nun seemed happy with the royal grants,
Agreeing to the general design,
To all the do’s and don’t’s and shalls and shan’t’s
That royal and religious rules required.
So Olezconia did sacre me as nun,
Adopting me, as if she’d been inspired
By highest Heaven and its dazzling Sun.
She sprinkled me with chrism, burning myrrh
And frankincense, and chanting olden prayer.
She knelt and then herself she did bestir
With an inscrutable and mystic air,
Returning to the presence of the pair
Who had invited her to be their guest.
Queen Udi called to see what hearty fare
The nearest palace kitchen could suggest.
Anon brought Pixidixia a cart,
A robot waitress with a living maid,
And she set forth a banquet with great art
Upon a table servants had conveyed
And placed before the triad of grand dames.
They supped congenially on grouse and quail,
Kept warm above a brazier with soft flames,
And wine kept chilly in an icy pail.
When supper had been eaten, Udi called
The porters, Jorbing and Omushca, to.
A stately palanquin they thither hauled
And placed it next to me without ado.
Next they upraised me and put me inside
The gold-poled sumptuous sedan they’d brought,
Without disturbing scarves about me tied,
For them the Queen most carefully had taught.
The cushions they emplaced below my knees
And underneath my ankles as before.
As if I’d been a feather in the breeze,
They bore me off from out the royal door
Into the regal corridor without,
As Sister Olezconia took charge
And strode beside, inspecting all about,
As mistress and commandress by and large.
“Room ninety-six-o-one,” she did instruct,
And Jorbing and Omushca did obey.
Unto a lift now they the litter trucked
And up we went without pause or delay.
On ninety-six, the four of us got out,
And to the foresaid room we quickly went.
This was a lavish room, without a doubt,
A room oft vacant that for guests was meant.
There Jorbing and Omushca set the coach
Upon the high-pile carpet on the floor.
No conversation did the abbess broach.
She merely smiled as they went out the door.
They left me kneeling on the costly rug
And took the palanquin by its gold poles.
Not half a millimeter might I tug
And saw but little through the mask’s wee holes.
However, Olezconia undid
My bonds and mask, and helped withdraw the bit
That in my buccal cavity was hid,
And I was free and easy just a whit.
I’d been in bonds a fleeting pair of hours,
And so retained my freshness and élan,
A measure of my customary powers.
I was nor sore nor bruised, nor ill nor wan.
Until that time, I had accepted all
That had transpired anent my lifelong nunning.
Still, I decided once again to call
Upon the royals, using wiles and cunning.
So in a second when the lofty nun
Was looking for an object in her purse,
I swiftly to the corridor did run.
A vision of escape fain did I nurse.
As by the bank of elevators, I,
On cheetah’s footpads coursing, did depress
Each button that was present to the eye,
I hoped to find one open and express
That would deliver me with all due speed
Unto another floor, but they all lagged.
Their doors slid not apart, despite my need,
And seemed to wait as if they sagged or flagged.
So I hied past, and found another door,
The entrance to a stairwell that I knew.
The door was locked. “Oh, drat!” I vainly swore.
I turned upon a heel for to review
The elevators now, if haply they,
At last, were opening, and so they were.
So I sprang in. My heart was blithe and gay,
As I pressed for the floor I did prefer.
The sliding doors were sluggish once again.
They stood immobile just a trice too long,
So Olezconia could enter then
And grasp my nape with fingers svelte but strong,
As if she’d been a pussy fetching home
Her kitten, with her teeth in cervix fur.
Thus that young cat might hardly farther roam,
But must go with the one that mothered her.
The abbess marched me right back to the room
And threw me down upon the spacious bed.
My minute of elation now was gloom.
For Olezconia her fingers wed
With mine, as if a zipper she had zipped,
And on the counterpane she pressed me hard.
With unbelievably strong hands she gripped,
And all my efforts did with ease retard.
“If one more time you misbehave or flout
The canon that I have imposed on you,
You should not entertain the slightest doubt
Your punishment will meted be as due.
I guarantee you all the way you’ll go
To Fwascren bound and gagged aboard the train.
Nor respite nor relief will you then know
Until we reach the convent on the plain.”
“But Sister Olezconia I crave
A minute with the royal Queen and King.
I really didn’t seek to misbehave.
I merely will with them discuss a thing.”
“No further conversations will there be.
Decisions have been made and they will stand.
Besides the King and Queen have gone to see
An opera in Égshirvazi planned
To be performed tonight, but you and I
Must soon lie down and get a good night’s sleep.
Quite early must we rise. The hour is nigh.
The train is an appointment we must keep.
Unto a bedpost she did lock my wrist,
Lest in the night I slip from out the room.
Just whither I would go I scarcely wist.
She’d sealed the lovely bedroom like a tomb.
Cerulean foreglimpses of bright day
Were at the window early in the morn,
And afterwards in glorious array,
Far in the orient, the Sun was born.
With all due speed I bathed and combed my hair.
Then dressed myself in habit and in veil.
The lofty nun and I ate simple fare.
Soon we went out. A cab she did not hail.
She wished to stroll the Avenue of Ung,
Or maybe one of many little lanes
That nearly parallel to it are flung,
As we went to the station and our trains.
These little lanes are pretty, some with bowers,
And there are tamarinds and peepul trees,
O’ershadowing a million, million flowers
With seas of leaves that billow in the breeze,
For there were tulips, pompoms, fleurs-de-lis,
Carnations, roses, irises and phlox
Abloom round every house that you could see
Built chock-a-block along those florid blocks,
And there were fascinating little shops,
Wee stores and tiny kiosks, row on row.
But we’d no time to make a lot of stops.
Straight on to Forgsha Station we must go.
But we could smell the wax and leather goods,
The coffee and the bread, the fresh-churned milk,
The furniture of costly foreign woods,
The fabrics made of cotton, wool and silk.
We saw a fancy stationery store.
Chic dresses here and there were on display.
Just absolutely everything and more
We saw as we walked on along our way.
Upon our planet, Forgsha Station first
And foremost of all terminals does rank.
In its vast lobbies thousands are dispersed
When exiting the gates lined in a bank
Whereunto all the scores of platforms lead.
Along the median of every one
A moving sidewalk satisfies the need
To carry passengers, while buggies run
Now hither and then thither, in a trice
Transporting people to the miles-long trains,
And escalators handily suffice
Where any platform with a bridge maintains
Connection with another platform by,
Whereon commuters over trains can climb.
A labyrinth of tunnels far and nigh
Provides more access, also saving time.
Additionally there’s a handy phone
Each hundred meters. If by chance you’re lost,
You state your destination at the tone,
Forthwith directions, given free of cost,
Will specify the markers you must seek,
Thus blazing the best trail for you to go.
Five minutes later, you again may speak
Into a phone, if more you need to know.
The lobbies there are numerous and vast.
Along the lanes and passages inlaid,
A thousand shops and restaurants are cast
All helter-skelter, quaintly disarrayed.
There are boutiques for souvenirs and books.
Hotel rooms can be had, and there are showers.
Intriguing little alcoves, tiny nooks
And stalls have lace and stamps and coins and flowers.
The abbess visited a library or two,
And stopped at little bookstands on the way.
She bought some lives of saints and missals too,
And books of hours illustrious and gay.
She paused once and again for cups of tea,
And looked at calendars and knitting pins.
She was exhilarated as could be,
As she peered in the showcases and bins.
’Twas seldom that the abbess came to town,
And little did she know of suchlike things.
So she went striding in her pious gown,
Her mantle and her veil afloat like wings.
Inside the largest lobby, broad and high,
In murals full of Ung’s unnumbered sights,
Its mountains, rivers, oceans, arching sky,
It’s sunny days, and starry twinkling nights,
Are handsomely depicted. Geysers, falls,
Plantations, cities, forests and plateaus
Are painted on the panoramic walls,
And with them every railroad where goes
Each massive locomotive, full of power
With thirty, forty, fifty thousand horse,
And speeds that reach three hundred miles an hour,
As over hill and dale it flies its course.
Unequalled mastery, unrivalled art
Went into all these murals that would last
A thousand years, nor ever fall apart,
Because of the constituency cast
Into all the ingredients employed,
The plaster and the pigments and the oil
In accurate amounts and parts alloyed,
With effort painstaking and tireless toil.
The nun was awed, nor was I less than she,
Although good many times thereat I’d been.
We spent some minutes there to oversee
The landscapes and the vistas drawn therein.
At length, however, she looked at her watch
And said, “Gate Ninety Three is where we must.
Come, Rogizlenia, don’t let us botch
Our schedule. You are ready, I do trust.”
Without that I could answer, she had grabbed
My wrist within her fingers lithe and strong,
Like to a lady marshal who has nabbed
A lady felon, tugging her along.
She strode but I must run to keep abreast,
Nor would her grip allow me just to lag,
For I my wrist thereout I could not wrest
However much my spirits seemed to flag.
The thousands of fine passengers looked on
To see a spectacle not oft observed
In suave Mecnita: I seemed woebegone,
Quite unsophisticated and unnerved.
Embarrassment did rouge my chubby cheeks,
For I felt all my feckless folly flush
Red corpuscles from capillary leaks
My visage for to tincture with a blush.
Gate Ninety Three did meet us, though, at last.
We boarded in a second and we found,
As we went by compartments, walking fast,
The one to which our tickets showed us bound.
We went inside. There were two berths, a seat,
A microwave, refrigerator too,
A table and some shelves, all trim and neat.
The nun the curtains on the window drew
To let the cheerful morning sun resplend
And brighten up our passage to the west.
Six thousand miles we now our way would wend.
The furnishings indeed left us impressed.
Upon the seat we two sat side by side.
We chatted but the nun herself talked most
While I just listened or inanely tried
To interject a comment or riposte.
But as she spoke, hypnotic vapors swirled.
Enchantment or bewitchment, as it were,
Encompassed and engulfed my inner world
And fastened my attentiveness on her.
Her diction was transfigured by the hour,
As if a language mystic and arcane,
Full of deep wisdom and magnetic power.
Poured from her lips as we traversed the plain.
We had already crossed the Umzid’s stream,
Of all our rivers, mightiest and first.
Through Rolaspóniu our train did scream,
Then Wávernbo and Dágomagd traversed.
Uqílso too we hurtled soon beyond.
High mountains in the distance we espied.
Behither them a forest or a pond
Flew backwards by our window just outside.
Some hours elapsed before we did arrive
At Zhíginards, a city on the way,
Metropolis as busy as a hive,
Foremost in electronics of the day.
There solid color astrofax machines
In awesome plants rolled off assembly lines,
And there were phones with telescoping screens,
And elements in numberless designs,
To serve communication needs throughout
The country and the corners of the world.
Sophisticated satellites about
The planet in the troposphere that whirled
Came into being in a factory
In Zhiginards that specialized in work
With the materials, refractory
To heat, renitent to each jolt and jerk,
Required to build the telephonic moons.
Identifying, biographic chips
Computers ciphered would appear eftsoons
To put the nation’s ears before your lips.
Our train drew in and we two nuns got out.
Into the station we both spryly walked
To watch the other riders gad about,
To listen as in wrist-phones they all talked.
Some fingered earring phones and freckle chips,
Which could be planted underneath the skin.
Some others were attachable with clips
On ruffs and collars easy for to pin.
Devices audio and video and more
In limitless profusion were on sale.
You’d say that Zhiginards was one vast store
Compared with which all others seemed to pale.
Some thirty minutes, by an earthly clock,
Or one-fifth hour, as here on Nya we say,
Passed quickly and we passengers did flock
Once more to board the train and go our way.
We went to our compartment, she and I,
Continuing our chat congenially.
Great concord and rapport came by and by.
She told me I had sinned but venially
In the impersonation I did frame
When that, at first, into the convent borne,
Pretending that the nunhood were my aim,
Defdefa’s lifelong vows I’d glibly sworn.
“However,” she explained, “those vows are firm.
There is no way to fail them to fulfil.
So perpetuity remains the term
Of your confinement, whe’r or not you will.
For this is not a humanly decree,
Injunction or commandment you can flout.
This is the law of Nature. Don’t you see?
It’s not affected by belief or doubt.
That’s why your sin is venial, for, forsooth,
Your vows you’ll keep in any case at all.
It matters not you meant deceit or truth,
Your name has been inscribed upon the wall.”
This frightened me but seemed to be the case,
For, willy-nilly, I was on my way
To execute the promises apace
That I’d made insincerely of a day.
Back to Defdefa Convent I would go
As certainly as night does follow day.
No other mode of living would I know.
No other role could I expect to play.
This understanding sank into my soul
And put down roots, just like a banyan fig,
That would implant themselves throughout the whole
Of my incarnate being and grow big.
Yes, it was true. I could not flee the vows
I’d made in my impersonation then.
Some mystic nunnery my spirit housed
And bound me to Defdefa once again.
Our train raced onward swifter than a gale
Nor could I even think to run away,
When that at our next stop along the rail
We should detrain to rest upon our way,
For Sister Olezconia would not permit
That farther than her arm’s length I be found
Within the stationhouse, nor could I flit
Like to the other passengers around.
Soon we arrived in Zládnropol, midway
Between Mecnita and the city we
Awaited, Fwascren, rolling for a day
To cross six thousand miles of knoll and lea.
This town was curious and gay and quaint
With crooked little streets and cobbled lanes,
With shops of stone with trimmings in red paint,
With signs like coats-of-arms, and leaded panes.
Big slabs of gingerbread and almond cake,
Fresh popcorn and grilled sausages and toast
Were being sold like hotcakes, but our break
Was but for fifteen minutes at the most.
Right in the station, a bazaar progressed,
And there we looked about a little while.
A painting of a heron in its nest,
A queen done in majolica blue tile,
An elephant of brass, and olden coins,
With silhouettes of long dead dukes or earls,
An arch in miniature with sandstone quoins,
An olden silver bracelet set with pearls,
A love letter now yellowing with age
And with’ring like an asphodel grown old,
The ink now evanescent on the page—
All these and more were being bought and sold.
Anon, though, we could hear the trainman cry,
“The Fwascren train departs in minutes three!”
So we betook ourselves, nor did we buy
The merchandise that we did haply see.
Again in our compartment, our rapport
Waxed even greater as the regal nun
Enchanted me more raptly than before,
Becoming thus for me the golden one.
Her fingers danced before my eyes like flames,
Her touch was opium, her breath was mint,
Her lips were peonies. How many names
Might I invent for every hue and tint
Of her complexion and her azure eyes?
Her words were chimes and carillons and bells.
I hung on every pause and all her sighs,
Her bosom’s rhythmic recesses and swells,
And her immaculate apparel black,
With attar heady and nepenthe sweet.
I felt her palms that pressed against my back
And drew me to her, nor could I retreat.
This was an interlude of pure delight.
I had had no idea that this nun,
Whom I had deemed synonymous with fright,
Could radiate and dazzle like the sun.
An hour elapsed. Somehow upon her lap
I’d risen, clinging to her like a child.
Her mantle she around me then did wrap.
Her hugs were very gentle, truly mild.
Profoundly I forefelt that I my niche
Had found as the companion of the nun.
I had a vision fabulous and rich
That I’d become her dearly favored one.
Night fell, and I slept right in her embrace.
At dawn, celestial dreams still filled my head.
It took a gorgeous morning to erase
Nocturnal fantasies, as from my bed,
From Olezconia’s black folds I rose.
I was expecting in an hour or two,
The locomotive would our train transpose
Unto our station, whence we two would do
The twenty-mile-long pilgrimage afoot
Conventual tradition on the nuns
Arriving at Mubunur Station put.
Of many pious acts this was but one.
Around mid-morning I expected, hence,
We’d reach great Fwascren, if we were on time,
For it requires a day, and then from thence
We’d start our homeward trek in this new clime.
I heard the trainman calling out again,
“Cnaizdádf! Cnaizdadf!” Cnaizdadf a city is,
Eastward of Fwascren’s limit miles but ten.
The home and hearthstone of a million ‘tis.
Then Olezconia commanded, “Rise!
Cnaizdadf is where we will be getting out.”
“Cnaizdadf? Cnaizdadf?” I queried with surprise.
My ears were full of disbelief and doubt.
As I had heard, our order owned just one,
A single nunnery, Defdefa named,
Within Dwesfesco, where the olden nun,
Our Sister Mevandolia, still famed,
Did build our cloister centuries ago.
There were a dozen chapels here and there
Within the realm where we might rarely go,
A nunciature to which we were the heir
With quarters in the palace of the King,
In Eldor Palace in the Holy See,
The city spreading o’er the world its wing
Mecnita, capital of land and sea,
But nothing else. That was the order’s sum
Of landed property, of real estate.
Wherefore, therefore, would we be stepping from
Our train here in Cnaizdadf? We’d then be late.
“But this is just Cnaizdadf,” I fecklessly
Objected to the nun, who smartly tugged
Upon my sleeve, as if she recklessly
Would pull me bodily, but I just shrugged
In fatalistic helplessness, and quailed,
All docile to the order that she’d made
That I talk less, walk more. So I just trailed
My skirt along behind in a glissade,
As out the gate into the street we went.
I’d never visited Cnaizdadf before.
No ear had I unto its fanfare lent,
Except, like others, I could not ignore
The medical renown that did redound
To that fair city in the breadth and length
Of Ung’s expanse and all the world around.
Of Shrongmoil University the strength
Lay in its hospital of many towers,
Whose reputation did outshine the rest.
This was the center of all healing powers,
Ranked widely as the best among the best.
Elsewise ‘twas nought I fairly knew thereof.
So whither were we heading I did wonder.
I looked unto the cirrus clouds above
And asked them if perhaps this was a blunder.
I did not speak aloud, for I recalled
That I should walk, and not presume to talk.
I followed the great abbess, half-enthralled,
For to a spacious avenue to walk.
“Cnaizdadf Plaisance,” a street sign did declare.
An island ran the median along,
And on it eucalyptus took their air,
Their fragrance in the breezes rendered strong.
Now here, now there, a footbridge made of chrome,
Crossed walkers from one sidewalk to the next.
I felt at ease, but longed just to go home,
And not with deviations to be vexed.
Camellias red and angel’s trumpets gold
Did garland the broad sidewalks, which were ledged
With flowerpots, urns and planters, carven bold,
And which with box and holly crisp were hedged.
Both crocuses and irises I spied,
And lilies-of-the-valley whitely bloomed.
At length, though, we had come unto the side
Of Shrongmoil Drive. The hospital now loomed.
I'd thought about the medical review,
A checkup that the abbess had explained
To King and Queen canonically was due
For every nun the nunnery contained.
I’d guessed that in Dwesfesco I’d be led
Unto a village doctor who my knee
Would tap. Perhaps some blood I would be bled,
So he could say O, A, B or AB.
A stethoscope and maybe a sphygmometer
He’d grope my breast and zone my arm withal.
While in my mouth a glass thermometer
He’d stick, and on a pad of paper scrawl
My pressure and my temper’ture as well.
Perhaps for impetigo he would check
And whether éczema was present tell,
Or look for vitiligo on my neck.
Some thirty minutes later he’d be done
And sign a waiver, a clean bill of health,
And thence I’d be conducted by the nun,
All open and aboveboard, without stealth.
For surely this routine is known to all
Who ever have a check-up undergone
At a physician’s place, or made a call
About a cold to which they’d say, “Begone!”
How was it then to Shrongmoil we had come,
To Ung’s most famous health facility?
There were no surgeons or physicians from
Our village here, for their ability
Would not have qualified them for those heights.
The doctors here were eminent and rich.
The kingdom their accomplishments recites.
A bust of each stands proud within a niche.
Most surely they’d not cursorily check
And write a quick certificate for me.
Great Olezconia now took me by the neck
And we approached the gate, as I could see.
The motto “Stũglâ” underneath a shield
Depicting delphic serpents circling staves
Emblazoned argent on an azure field
Composed the coat-of-arms with crisscrossed glaives.
This word means “Healthy Commonwealth” in Ung.
I cringed before such grandeur and éclat.
How many poetesses may have sung
The glory of this hospital and spa?
But as we entered on the endless lawn,
A treeless campus velveted in green,
Extending acres, acres, acres on,
With only bone-white sidewalks in between,
I was dumbfounded, overwhelmed with awe.
I was astonished, totally amazed.
I felt a sinking feeling when I saw
The battery of skyscrapers upraised
In massed formation, standing side by side,
In shades of copper, rather tan than red,
In muted hues, upon the fairway wide.
A bronzen citadel far, far ahead.
Some of the towers were cylinders and cones,
While others parallelepipeds were,
Or pyramids and prisms, that in tones
’Twixt clayish bronze and copper matte did err.
A hundred stories at the very least
They up the cloudless firmament did rise.
They ranged both south and north, and west and east,
A heaven-built machine of awesome size.
We trode a bone-white, nonskid sidewalk on,
Like pumice or like loofah petrified,
That bisected the manicured green lawn,
Which rose in swells, subsiding like the tide.
This was too grand, too awesome, too superb.
I nearly fainted at the wondrous sight.
Some minutes later we had reached the curb
That circled round a tower great in height.
The upper stories cantilevered o’er
The lower, to provide a covered mall,
A portico three meters broad or more
Providing access to a width of wall
Wherein revolving doors turned smoothly round,
A dozen, to let patients in and out,
Admitting staff and visitors who’d found
Their way on errands they would see about.
When Olezconia and I approached,
I, full of apprehension, shivering,
By her with mild encouragement was coached,
As if advice she were delivering.
The lobby was an acre of waxed floor,
Lit softly by cylindrical bronze lamps,
Each lamp looked like the tower in its décor,
With bronzen shade the glare that softly damps.
A hundred meters thence a desk was seen.
Behind it sat a lady clad in white.
This must have been Reception I did ween.
But I said nought, not certain that I might.
As Sister Olezconia and I walked to,
The lady, of complexion golden brown,
With raven tress that hung her waist unto,
Looked up with carmine smile. We two looked down.
“I was to ask for Deribandi here,”
Said Olezconia, who from her purse,
Withdrew a leathern wallet. I did hear
The cheerful answer of the lovely nurse.
“Yes, I am Deribandi, here to serve.
How may I now assist you?” she replied.
The nun a card reached forth, I did observe.
But in her mien such presence did reside
That it declared her stature and her rank
More eloquently than a card could do.
So Deribandi just did glance and thank
The great new visitor as was her due.
She spoke unto a wrist-phone that she wore,
“O Arcuvelvia will you come to,
With Ornaluna. We shall not need more.
Remember the instructions I gave you?
Now is the time to put them to the test.”
Two minutes passed. Two student nurses came.
Both lovely but athletic, Shrongmoil’s best.
“Here’s Sister Rogizlenia, by name,
Do you recall the case I spoke whereof?
She now is ready to go to her room.
Will you escort this novice up above?
She’s ridden far and she herself would groom.
She’ll bathe and sup as well and sleep all night.”
Each student nurse then took me by a wrist.
With Ornaluna’s left fist 'round my right,
My left in Arcuvelvia’s right fist.
All three of us in one direction faced,
But I was shocked that they gripped me with force,
As if perhaps from them I might have raced.
I knew nor why nor whither, though, of course.
“How odd! How very singular!” I thought,
And then in one bright flash I did perceive
The reason for preparedness. I fought
But vainly their strong custody to leave.
I did foreglimpse that which awaited me,
Quite something other than a hasty check.
Now that it was too late I did foresee
The card that was withdrawn from out the deck.
Unto a stainless steel and brazen door
That opened to an elevator car
The student nurses guided me before.
Inside they pressed a button on a bar.
And up we went to level eighty-three.
A corridor they ushered me along.
Room eighty-three thirteen was meant for me
And I was safely locked inside ere long.
I looked around a second. It was fine,
A pretty chamber done in shades of pink,
With closet with chemises in a line
With slippers made of simulated mink.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=408583039&size=o
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