Panties and Bras







The Flight to Mli, Nya's Lone Inhabited Satellite








Dlivándor is a planet that we own.

I mean that recently it was annexed

By Udi when she governed Ung alone,

Ere the enthronement of our Monarch next,


King Ajinblambia, of whom I sing.

It’s true that she’d built spaceships for the Queen

Before she did herself become the King

And make herself the mistress of the scene.


To prospect for uranium for Ung

The spaceship Photon One now tore the sky.

Dlivándor, in the distant reaches flung,

Was where they knew deposits for to lie.


Its orbit does encircle too our sun,

A yellow dwarf named Dyo, in distant Ti,

Which of the scores of galaxies is one,

Some megaparsecs from thy friends and thee.


The Milky Way, which scarcely we in Ung

With telescopes sophisticated see,

Goes by the name of ‘Zwáfna’ in our tongue.

It’s visible in Cnáshca, faint and wee,


Like to a piece of cotton or a thistle,

Pinned unto night’s great velvet cloak of black,

Afar, afar!  Beneath my breath I whistle

To contemplate the distance there and back.


This Cnáshca I have nempt is but a suite

Of twinkling stars.  It is a constellation.

We too have given names as we found meet

To stellar clusters shining o’er our nation.


So ‘Cnáshca’ means ‘the Chevron’, for it seems

Like to a V inverted in the sky,

That is, a rafter that could carry beams,

And in its apex, Zwafna we descry.


There are some other constellations too.

There’s Pójolfs, or the Tankard, and there’s Zhrinx.

We’ve Fnóthcerd that we scarce up north can view

For in the southern hemisphere it slinks.


Another one is Tlétman, famous here,

Along with Gvalt.  There’s Dwadf, the Twins, as well,

Which not for Gemini is named I fear,

Because thereof we never have heard tell.


O’er our North Pole hangs brilliant Alpha Zhrinx,

Which we call also Órobux, not far,

A mere two light-year journey, and it shrinks

As our improving ships aim at that star.


Our aerospace facility, built new

By Ajinblambia with Udi’s fīat,

After consideration fit and due

By all the lords and ladies of our Diet,


In Dórgdid, second city, proudly stands.

Thereout a caravan of spaceships taxis,

The labor of the deftest of our hands.

Some of our ships are minis, others maxis,


But all do bear the impress of the stamp

Impalmed by Ajinblambia the Great.

They all come rolling off production’s ramp

To launching pads en route to Heaven’s gate.


As abbess of Defdéfa Convent, I,

Sought for the first time now to introduce

Into our canon, lessons from the sky,

An astronomic faith thus to produce,


For tales of saints and martyrs weren’t enough

To explicate the universe to people.

We needed to research this cosmic stuff

And not simply relax beneath our steeple,


With folded hands, like praying nuns of yore,

Intoning litany on litany,

Or contemplating parables and lore,

While drinking tea of rue or dittany.


I, therefore, took unto myself the task

To study aerospace for our sorority,

In case that anyone should haply ask,

Then I’d make answer with authority.


In fact, I had in mind a sacred book,

Illuminated like a scripture quaint,

With antiquarian, handwritten look,

All trimmed with ink and gilt and wax and paint,


That would contain the algebraic laws,

The axioms and postulates of science.

Correct to every tittle, jot and clause,

Wherein a student could invest reliance.


’Twas true I could have done it by computer,

With picture digital and image scanned.

Of this I certainly am no disputer,

But I still hoped to do the book by hand,


With all the rigor intellectual

That such an undertaking does deserve,

For elsewise, it were ineffectual.

As curio or gewgaw it might serve.


So midnight oil I burnt inside my cell

With reading and digesting learnéd tracts,

With treatises too numerous to tell

Abundant both in figures and in facts.


Experiments performing, I learned much

That to the other sisters I could teach.

My intellect was keen; I had the touch.

My vision did the universe o’erreach.


Quite often I consulted with the King,

Who put before me scholars of renown,

Professors who great lore to me did bring

Into my scrollphone’s screen as I looked down,


Next, I was making diagrams and drafts,

Thin ink on vellum carefully inscribed.

I added engineering drawing to my crafts

And up-to-date technology imbibed.


Thereafter unto other sisters, I,

Completing plats and templates, as it were,

Committed all my work before their eye

That with their patient hand they might recur,


Elaborating pages of the book.

The uttermost precision I demanded.

The illustrations perfect were to look,

For otherwise they quickly were unhanded,


Into receptacles and baskets tossed.

With microscopes and lasers did they etch

That detail and refinement not be lost.

So every speck or pinpoint did they cătch.


A thousand pages thus did they engender.

These pages were the flower of Ung’s fine art.

A gift of these I to the King did render

To see how she would like them for her part.


Our lady, Ajinblambia, rejoiced

At our inimitable draftsmanship.

Her approbation sovereign she voiced,

Beholding all our skill and craftsmanship.


For all the plates and illustrations seemed

As accurate as fine machines could yield,

Yet unmistakably the traces gleamed

With all the skill our handicraft did wield.


In Cláscar, the Museum of Mecnita,

Whose cúrator, named Jévendarl, I knew

From days before the operation Sita,

Née Ajinblambia, had carried through


At Shróngmoil, was delighted.  They displayed

The book for many months within the Flant,

One of sixteen exhibit halls that made

Museum Quadrangle’s preserve and plant.


I’d been there sev’ral times some years before,

With nuns from Holy Armalíssa’s fane.

Not yet had I been thrust from out the door

Of Udi’s chamber, when she still did reign,


Ere Ajinblambia the dais climbed.

I merely masqueraded as a nun,

With the encouragement the sisters chimed,

For they were parties to the merry fun


I then enjoyed, not realizing yet,

That my disguise foretokened what would be,

That willy-nilly I would pay the debt

I owed unto the convent three times three.


However that may be, with honor now

Unto Museum Quadrangle my fame

Resounded.  And the palace did endow

The nunnery connected with my name.


Was this the kind of nunhood foreordained

By Ajinblambia whenas to cloister

Myself within the convent, as she reigned,

She’d shut me as inside a bivalve oyster,


Ne’ermore to peep without my shell of nacre?

Was this the destiny that she’d decreed

Confining me unto Defdefa’s acre,

Committing me to don the nunnish weed?


Or was I flying higher than ’twas meet

By being fledged ‘neath Jevendarl’s wing

Behind the colonnades that flank the street

Within the Quadrangle where Muses sing?


’Midst all the hoopla and hullabaloo

Attending my successes with our book,

Dear Barti to Defdéfa Convent too

Came visiting to talk and take a look.


She was one of five Gángawaran maids

I’d met some years before in central Ub,

In Ksháddi, on the eve of all the raids

Revolving round Qazúdistan as hub.


These were the sallies of the insurrection

Convulsing the dark continent thereat.

From thence the girls would come in Ung’s direction,

To Éldor, Udi queenly reigned whereat.


They’d posed as rural damsels meek and mild,

And I had joined them in their merry games

Of tennis and ballet.  Much time we’d whiled,

With giggling and with flirting and fond names.


I was as tall as they, when they had youth.

I didn’t know above two meters they,

Like heroines or goddesses in truth,

Would tower upon a fast-approaching day.


Next it was learned that they had come from Mli,

Great Ajinblambia’s illustrious kin.

They were the cousins and the sisters she

Would lead unto such dizzy heights herein.


Embarrassment o’ertook me in the fact

She now outtopped me by a foot or more,

Especially since in my veil I lacked

That virile presence that I’d had before.


Moreover, she was clad in rich brocade,

With diamonds and gold about her throat,

And, chapleted, high majesty displayed.

How greatly did she now exult and gloat!


Indeed this Barti was a Queen herself,

’Twas evident as she stood tall and proud

Inside my nunly office, next my shelf,

And spoke with dignity, not over-loud.


Intimidated and affrighted, I,

Did genuflect and curtsy, kneel and bow.

I scarce could look great Barti in the eye.

“I wonder how she looks upon me now,”


I said unto myself, “I’m so ashamed

To be a nun before this lovely tower.

Is this the girl whom everybody named

Miss Bárti Présed, now endued in power?”


Returning from Dilúlabad by train

Ten years before, in Kshaddi I was stuck,

For that a failing engine did detain

The passengers reluctant.  What bad luck!


The Gángawaran girls, then in school,

Were free on holiday that very morn,

And while mechanics did the train retool,

The five abducted me, and I was borne


Unto a distant corner of the hamlet,

And twirled upon a Maypole by the feet,

With Barti, not yet clad in plush and camlet,

As leader of conspiratresses sweet.


Thereafter, wearing stilted boots laced tight,

So I could not descend by hopping down,

I balanced first on left foot, then on right,

For the Qazúdi lasses loved a clown,


And had me play that role till they got weary,

Applauding me and cheering me with glee,

Till I got flustered and my eyes grew bleary.

They condescended then to set me free.


Now Barti was one of the royal seven

Who ruled our planet Nya (Ña) and gave us laws.

In our whole galaxy, in all of Heaven,

Is there another worthy such applause?


No lovelier, more gorgeous demoiselle

Exists.  Her sandalwood-complexioned cheeks,

Her carmine-saturated lips excel

All habitants of valleys and of peaks,


Save those perhaps of Udi, lovely Queen,

And those of Ajinblambia the King.

She is the finest beauty to be seen.

She is a gem in Paradise’s ring.


I had anticipated, cloistered, I

Would be immured in silence for an age,

Without a visitor to happen by,

As if I’d dwell within an iron cage.


But now attention was directed towards

Myself and my new college full of nuns.

I found myself invited to join boards,

At seminars to be one of the ones.


And here was Barti, Regnant Queen of Ung,

For Udi was Queen Consort, royal wife.

The balance of the planet-kingdom hung

On Barti’s fingertip as for dear life.


That great ones to my nunnery did look

Withdrew me from the silence I’d forefelt,

And into brilliant, splendid daylight took.

These were the latest cards that fortune dealt.


Was I to be the lady eighth in rank

Among Nyatic (Nigh-áttic) gynecocracy,

Alone, ’mongst them whom finery did prank,

Who wore the habit of theocracy,


The cashmere gown of black, with skirting simple,

The barbe, the guimpe, the coif of spotless white,

And over all the graceful, flowing wimple,

With neither gold nor silver in thy sight?


This Barti also as I now recall

Once levitated me with lunar sleight,

Held me in air so that I might not fall.

Eventually howe’er she let me light.


This was ere I’d been habited in black,

When that I still was working on the plows

I was designing for to score the back

Of lands according as our sun allows


For cultivation of the yams I thought

Would vie the wheat grown in the Ubbic west

By Ajinblambia.  My task was fraught

With difficulties I considered best


To query genius Barti all about.

She was a ganglion among the nerves

Of our fair realm, without the slightest doubt.

She knew the graphs and tables, charts and curves


Of agriculture and machinery.

So it made sense that I to her went first.

But as an actor in this scenery

Of such telekinesis unrehearsed


I was aghast and wist not what to do.

’Twas then she waxed oracular to say

That I’d be a religious for to coo

With other mourning doves some bonny day.


I would not study forging and annealing,

Devising disks for plows and tines for harrows.

I’d spend my years with praying and with kneeling,

A bird to fly with wagtails, tits and sparrows.


I’d smirked at this prediction. I’d said, “Pooh!”

This was absurd, ridiculous and wild.

I was pragmatic, atheistic too.

Would I wax innocent just like a child?


My skepticism notwithstanding, I,

O’erwhelmed by all the currents of the times,

Did vindicate her forecast by and by,

Borne to the convent in these western climes.


Now here she was reminding me that she

Had codified the genome of my future,

Deciphering each little ABC,

Each stitch within the microscopic suture


Wherewith my destiny was tightly sewn.

Was it her pleasure now to make display.

To seize me to the marrow of my bone

With goddessly enchantment, and to play


The queenly role she knew would overwhelm?

Or had she come on business for the state,

As one of the supreme ones of the realm?

Had she an earnest errand at my gate?


A novice nun served petits fours and tea,

With palm leaves of puff pastry and éclairs.

I seated Barti opposite to me

In the ornátest of the convent’s chairs.


“The King and we five Regnant Queens did watch

When you the nunnery were brightening,

When you a bolt of cloth wove from a swatch

With talent and imagination frightening.


We think it will be salutary that,

In order to religionize the Moon,

You fly to Vavlu.  Shandra will thereat

Accompany you and help you to commune


With Mlians young and old and spread the word.

Perhaps a lunar convent you can found

And with your sash the solar system gird.

Great honor and prestige to you redound!”


Queen Shandra was a Vrikshaya herself,

Of that millennial line one of but eight,

Not counting Udi, Oji and myself,

Adopted by the dynasty of late.


She was the Vrikshaya who donned the crown,

When Ajinblambia had come to Mli

To bring the monarchy of Oa down

In order me from hostageship to free.


Thereafter in Mecnita she’d appear

On two occasions   I was full of pride

That she chose me to squire her there and here,

To tour the city strutting at her side.


Piljándar Square, where swans and geese oft feed,

Lies forty miles from Eldor, but today,

Our golden comets, at half-sonic speed,

Fly in just minutes thither all the way.


Nearby, the Mall of Oracles does stand.

This is a place where fortunes are foresaid.

Queen Shandra had a mystic read her hand

And prompted me to have my tárots read.


The cards predicted I would be a nun.

“Impossible, implausible, absurd!”

I’d interjected, “This will not be done;

This never will transpire, mark my word,


For never yet has any man worn veil

To pray and sing within a nunnery,

Removed from masculinity’s travail,

A million miles from war and gunnery.”


But Shandra, always so ingenuous,

Insisted that my destiny was set.

Relying on this omen tenuous,

She said that I must surely pay the debt.


Now I would fly to Vavlu and the smile

Of triumph Shandra would greet me withal.

I’d be embarrassed by my habit’s style,

Intimidated by my mohair shawl.


“Oh, well,” I thought, “Despite this I adore

That goddess Shandra, Ufzu’s gorgeous Queen.

I hope that things stay as they were before,

That nought has changed at Ufzu’s distant scene.”


So, docile to the orders Barti spoke,

I got me ready for my flight to Mli.

Upon my shoulders I now flung my cloak,

Made baggage of some things I’d take with me.


Air Fwascren was the carrier we chose

To cross six thousand miles of western Ung.

We had a fine compartment near the nose,

But anxiously my hands I rubbed and wrung.


If nervously aboard a plane I flew,

It was no less so in the spacecraft I,

This journey now adventuring anew,

Would to our peopled satellite next fly.


Queen Barti didn’t see me to the Moon,

Committing me instead to Shandra’s hand,

From Candle Tower who would come as soon

As Photon VI was orbiting to land.


This Candle Tower, a hundred stories tall,

O'erlooking Vavlu, is the monarch’s home,

And here, behind its alabastrine wall

And underneath its golden, flaming dome,


Illustrious Queen Shandra mildly rules,

Belovèd of all Ufzu for that she,

Replacing haughty Oa and her fools,

Has made a virtual paradise of Mli.


Her height was seven feet, her fragrant hair

Hung lustrously and straight unto her waist.

Her breasts were art wrought with consummate care.

Her figure with angelic grace was traced.


Despite the fact my gender had been changed

Since last I saw this star of flashing fire,

My eyes still o’er her curved proportions ranged,

And I felt love and longing and desire.


“Dear Vocno,” she addressed me by the name

I once had used, “You haven’t changed a cent.

I told you the nun’s habit you became,

That day unto Piljándar when we went.


Don’t you remember when you plucked the Nun

From out the deck of fortune-telling cards?

I did explain that you indeed were one

To spend your life enclosed in convents’ yards.”


I blushed recalling how I had demurred

When Shandra had perceived the cards spoke sooth,

She’d coaxed me to hark well unto their word

And understand the tárot to mean truth.


A strange coincidence took place that day,

For Shandra’d urged me for to buy some raiment.

She pressed and importuned.  What could I say?

Of course I had the money to make payment.


She did me very urgently entreat

Until that I agreed without delay

To purchase garments on the very street

Along which we were pacing out our way.


“Will you at the next clothier that we see

Perform the purchases as you’ve agreed?”

I did surrender, “Yes! Oh, yes!”  And she

Insisted I, as I had vowed, proceed.


So you can well imagine my chagrin

When the next clothier proved to be prestigious,

In the metropolis that we were in,

For selling biliments to the religious.


Hers was a shop that specialized in garb

For nuns of various orders and degrees.

She had both guimpe and wimple, coif and barbe,

With habits and with mantles to the knees.


Queen Shandra saw in this coincidence

High heaven’s finger pointing my direction.

This was another of the incidents

Sung in the odes of goddessly confection.


So, as a joke or game, I bought the weeds

And had them sent to me at Eldor Palace.

Almost immediately I must needs,

Within the soft aurora borealis


Shone by the walls and ovals that composed

That mansion, don the habit I had bought,

For haply Armalíssa’s nuns proposed

I go with them to learn what could be taught


At the Museum, but I must disguise

Myself, for it were uncanonical

For nuns to go with men.  It were unwise.

This outcome surely was ironical,


For that I’d made my purchase just before.

Now Shandra, ever mischievous and merry,

Would tease me till my ego should wax sore.

She found this so amusing, oh so very!


At last, though, after mirth and giddy glee,

We grew quite sober, went to Candle Tower

And started making plans for her and me,

How I would take advantage of her power.


This was entirely unlike my previous jaunts,

When we had ridden to the woods to hunt

For grouse and capercaillie in their haunts,

Both mounted on an ibex that did grunt


To bear two riders, though he was a giant.

’Twas keenest joy to sit between her thighs,

And hear her words perfumed and diction riant,

Secure in her embrace, with her great size.


What nun may go out to the forest regions

With bow and arrow to impale game birds

That fly the skies of Vavlu in vast legions,

As if she worked with weapons, not with words?


Those days were gone forever, I daresay.

Still we could find some other little pleasures,

Amuse ourselves with concert and ballet,

And marvel at the showcases of treasures


Queen Shandra’d gathered from the many lands

That make up the giraffe-hide map of Mli,

Like Líscarn, Pédgu, Ólotuts and Vrandz,

Zanfánting, Shwéa, Ádmino and Twi.


Stuffed birds that taxidermists had prepared,

Along with fossil specimens and bones,

Her shelves and glass compartments shared.

And there were minerals and precious stones.


Some artefacts from archeologists

Did occupy a place of honor too,

As did the plats made by geologists.

Adjacent were aquarium and zoo.


This was unlike Mecnita’s massive Flants,

More modest, less sophisticated, yes,

But interesting with its beasts and plants

Exotic, little known on Nya, I guess.


Outside, a grove of banyan trees spilled wood

From gnarled branches down to blackish soil,

And on their boughs white doves in number stood,

With glossy, round, resplendent leaves as foil.


Within a pergola the Queen and I

Betook ourselves to sit and eat our lunch.

Scarce any cloudlets scudded in the sky

As we did chatter, giggle, sip and munch.


Her fragrance was narcotic, musky, royal.

Her lips were pomegranates of deepest red.

Her skin was chocolate, with costly oil,

Her lap a satin pillow on a bed.


Her lustrous, radiant black tresses fell

In graceful waves down to her very thighs,

Where rectus femoris and gracilis did swell

In lovely muscularity and size,


All visibly beneath her short, suede skirt.

Her hands, wrought by a sculptress, did inspire

A sense of wonder, and her eyes did flirt,

Awakening my envy and desire.


“Shall we again to Vornda sail to see

The prophetess named Hennamarn, who told

Before it happened what would come to be,

How Ajinblambia would soon enfold


The planet Nya within her ermine stole?

Do you remember how we went before,

And how you scoffed with all your heart and soul

At Hennamarn’s predictions and her lore?


You said it wouldn’t happen, you recall?

But see?  It has indeed now taken place.

And Hennamarn was right about it all.

For you this all must be a loss of face.


Now mustn’t it?”  Queen Shandra loved to tease.

She acted as if I had still remained

A merry, happy, silly one.  “Oh, please,

Dear Shandra,” said I, as if I’d been pained.


But she had spoken fairly.  It was true.

Five years before we had to Líscarn sailed.

The capital is Vórnda, famous too,

For that its prophetess was widely hailed,


In Mlian countries, as a delphic sage.

She had forecast that in the coming year

A King would climb the throne and for an age

Reign over Ung’s dominions far and near.


She’d scared me with her prophecy malign.

So when I did return to Ung again,

I flew forthwith on Fulumóa’s line

To see if Tufiatáni with, “Amen!,”


Would write a postscript to the eery letter

Writ by the Vorndan hand, and so she did.

I simply should have comprehended better

The nature of the powers I was amid.


“Queen Udi shall continue on the throne,”

Quoth Tufiatani to the quest of mine.

So I concluded she would reign alone,

As had five thousand others of her line.


Continue, yes, she did.  A King appeared,

As well.  So both the sibyls had been right.

Apologies to Hennamarn I feared

I owed, because of the implicit slight.


I was embarrassed but Queen Shandra pressed,

Remonstrating with me with earnest speech

Wherein her sense of triumph was expressed,

And I unto her shapely breasts did reach,


As if cajoling and caressing would divert

Our conversation and deflect her eyes.

I lowered my two hands below her skirt

And with my fingers stroked her naked thighs.


This was as sweet as it had ever been,

Just like the days before my operation,

But now it was a virtue not a sin,

According to the customs of our nation.


“Just born to be a lesbian were you,”

Queen Shandra giggled, flattered by my love,

“But please keep flirting.  I adore it too.

You touch is lace.  Your cooing is a dove.”


My gaze besought.  My lips stilly implored.

I spoke nor letter, syllable, nor word.

My countenance revealed that I adored,

And Shandra the unspoken clearly heard.


Her arms extending, she encompassed me

With éxquisite embraces all around.

Eftsoons I found myself upon her knee,

My wrists within her fingers snugly bound.


If ever there had been a time to coo,

It was that interlude beneath the Sun.

This was an afternoon I’d never rue,

A rendezvous with Ufzu’s fairest one.


“Shall we again aboard the festive boat

To visit Hennamarn in Vornda sail?

Perhaps the interval when that we float

You’ll fill with history and holy tale


About Defdefa Convent and your order.

These things are new and novel in my eyes.

No doubt you are an accurate reporter

To answer all my wherefore’s and my why’s.”


So we got on the clipper, tall and proud,

But sailing was a pastime, for the realm

Possessed great engines and a teeming crowd

Of high-speed launches, each with powered helm.


We shared a suite capacious near the bow,

Nor was I dressed to sit upon the deck,

Relaxing leisurely.  My weeds did not allow.

My barbe I still had on about my neck.


So poised on tufted wing chairs we conversed,

Immured within our state room till midday,

Our speech and our demeanor unrehearsed

With interludes of business and of play.


In afternoon, we’d calmly stroll around,

With arm in arm, a dynast and her kin.

We’d pause to list the river’s gentle sound,

And watch as wave on wave came rolling in.


’Twas opportune; our friendship we renewed

And planned our strategies and our campaigns.

’Twas an exhilarating interlude,

But clearly it was she who held the reins.


Queen Shandra led; I meekly followed her,

Too shy and coy for gambits and offense.

Unto her waters I would just recur

Nor any sudden topic dare commence.


The queen enjoyed this inequality.

She did expect suchlike disparity.

This was a tenet of her polity,

Despite our gay familiarity.


In Liscarnese our ship was Zwaku called.

And for our voyage garlands had been hung,

Festoons and swags of roses were installed,

And wreaths of lilies on the rigging swung.


An evening came and went.  Rife were the stars.

Nya, like a mighty moon, rolled in the sky.

Repeated meteors, like distant cars,

Blazed gilded trails as they went shooting by.


Unto our state room we ourselves betook,

And there we sat another hour or two,

The Queen perused some pages from my book,

And o’er the text her graceful fingers drew.


“It’s difficult to comprehend the way

A reticent religious like yourself

Has authored such an almanac.  I’d say

A galaxy of sisters, on the shelf


Enabled you to stand a volume rich

In lore as this one is.  I have no doubt

This book will prove the foremost in the niche

Of books that in our kingdom have come out.”


She read and offered praises, and, at length,

We lay in sweet embraces on the bed.

Her supple limbs endowered were with strength.

Her hair was like a cloud about her head.


Ere long, we were asleep, but with the dawn,

We sprang from out our counterpane to see,

The golden orb of morning tangent on

The sill of our square window o’er the sea.


Was there a throng of towers erect afar?

Was Vornda looming gallantly aprow?

Could I descry beyond the oaken spar

A city in the distance rising now?


We moored and walked the gangplank to the shore.

The port was small but elegant and neat.

Before we knew it, we were at the door

Of Vornda’s temple, treading on bare feet.


At once did Hennamarn show recognition,

As if I hadn’t changed the slightest bit.

“Dear Vocno, see? There was no deposition,

Yet does a King in Eldor Palace sit,


Just as I did preságe, do you recall?

You were so skeptical.  You sneered and scoffed.

But as the mighty often have a fall,

No longer do you proudly soar aloft.


No longer as prime minister do you,

Clad in galloon and camlet, full of power,

Go swaggering about, but on your pew,

You sit in meditation by the hour.


You should have hearkened when I said the sooth,

Though Heaven knows ’twas scarcely in your reach

To sway the Fates, but maybe with less ruth

You’d listen to this lesson I now teach.”


This was a reprimand, a sharp reproof,

For that I had been scornful of her word

Five years before.  Both haughty and aloof,

Her prophecy I’d mocked and called absurd.


Now I was full of meek apology,

Contrition humble and vermilion shame.

No longer frivolous astrology

Did I see as the basis of her fame.


“How did you do it?  Tell me how you knew

That Ajinblambia would grasp the mond,

Inaugurate an era fair and new,

And brandish over all of Ung her wand.”


“Your face was like the tea leaves in a cup.

It told the tale entire and complete.

Your visage was a child’s when you looked up.

’Twas legible as writing on a sheet.


I saw that you were born to be a nun.

Therefore your tenure as prime minister

Was certain to be presently undone.

Perhaps you had regarded this as sinister,


Had you but known.  So, anyway, I wondered

Which personage would fill the void you’d leave,

Who would unite the bonds that you had sundered.

Thus Ajinblambia you wore upon your sleeve.


Not only I, but anyone could see

The day that was a-borning in that season.

You’d need no ouija board upon your knee,

But just two eyes and but a pinch of reason.”


“Dear Hennamarn, will you teach me the way?

I’d like to add your talents to my own.

Will you instruct me fortunes for to say?

Perhaps I can be useful to Ung’s throne.”


The lovely lady, dark, mysterious

Did pace her sanctum for a quarter hour,

As though debating something serious,

As though deciding if to share her power.


Her sanctum had black drapes with eyes of fire.

Chatoyant sapphires black as jet or coal.

Beyond, I heard the strains of mellow lyre,

Accompanied by iron bells’ grave toll.


It was macabre.  This was her mystique.

Fumes of rich incense rose from out a censer

Suspended by gold chains.  Scrolls seemed to speak.

They seemed to be concealed truths’ dispenser.


I shuddered slightly, but supposed I knew

There was no real danger in her fane.

I had Queen Shandra’s affirmations too.

My equanimity did I maintain.


At last, as if reviving from a trance,

Dark Hennamarn asked if I’d there remain,

First as initiate, perhaps then to advance

Through rite and ritual to higher plane


Of mystic wisdom and uncanny lore.

Yes I would be her protégée and ward,

Her pupil and disciple.  Deep rapport

I would develop supping at her board.


Inquisitively glanced I at the Queen

To see what with her look she’d recommend.

In her approving smile, ’twas quickly seen

That she her full encouragement did lend


Unto my stay in Liscarn for a season,

The guest of Vornda’s sibyl, for to learn,

Of mantic utterance the rhyme and reason,

And thereupon to Ufzu to return.


A million miles from Ung, from Ufzu too

A goodly distance, apprehensively

I did agree this internship to do,

To study and to train intensively.


I would require renewed humility,

For having grown accustomed to preside,

I’d now be bounden to docility

As I stood at the prophetess’s side.


Thereafter shortly Shandra sailed off.

And Hennamarn assigned me to a cell.

The cell was tiny.  Scarce my clothes I’d doff

Without collapsing in a dizzy spell.


Moreover from outside was barred the door

Each night by Hennamarn.  This was her rule.

Was she requiting what had happed before,

Or was this just a statute of her school?


At least, I had no duties to perform

Except to read and study and recite,

And to the temple’s canon to conform,

Still in my habit and my veil bedight.


A number of weird mantras I did sound,

Inhaling fumes that from a cresset rose.

Therein a priestess heady leaves had ground.

New verities the incense did disclose,


As if some opium had drugged me deep,

And wafted me into a higher realm,

Where lying in my sempiternal sleep,

I let the seas of heaven overwhelm


Each conscious molecule within my brain,

Each ganglion and nerve, narcotically,

Diffusing all sensations, lulling pain,

Entrancing me almost hypnotically.


Was this a real world, this new dimension?

Or was it some vain fancy that would fleet?

Was this a thing I dared in public mention?

Was this a thing to broach upon the street?


Then Hennamarn would come and chant and speak

All manner of strange epigram and saw.

Sometimes I wist not whether for to seek

In her mad mutterings a higher law,


Or rather to discount it just as raving,

But suddenly I would recall the sooth

She’d said five years before, when misbehaving,

I did dismiss it rashly as untruth.


Apparently, the lady saw the world

And things of plain experience as letters

In mystagogic alphabets unfurled

On scrolls---illegible but to my betters---


From uttermost dominions of the sky.

The letters constituted cryptic words

In texts she could peruse with inner eye.

I saw this vase divine, she said, as sherds,


But presently like her I’d see it whole.

From out the vase, elixir amply flowed

And with it wisdom would engulf my soul.

Then I would understand the óccult code.


Her words were solid, three-dimensional,

As if I could impalm them with my hand.

Their carven impact, certainly intentional,

Was like the raised relief upon the band


Of an entablature, or like to marquetry,

Where wooden block is superposed on block,

Or maybe diagrams in parquetry,

Or florentining on metallic stock.


Assuming that the spell would fade away,

The swoon wherein I had been swept would pass

And to the usualities of day

I’d presently return—Alack! Alas!—


Both warily and charily I caught

My breath in tremulous anticipation.

This magic catechism I’d been taught

I thought would vanish like evaporation.

(5721 Words)




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