THE ENNUNMENT CANTO 8
Carvanilli Convent in Amga, Ufzu
To summarize those times, let me explain
That Barti had commissioned me to fly
To Mli, our moon, where Shandra Queen did reign.
I'd carry Ung's religion through the sky,
Inaugurate another era there
And organize an order. But I tarried
Some weeks with Shandra Queen in Vornda, where,
In retribution, Hennamarn me harried
With every manner of humiliation.
At last I was delivered, but with Vrandz
Hostilities broke out within our nation,
Though valiant victory fell in our hands.
Then Carvanilli Convent rose and stood.
Rijarli I did delegate to rule,
As abbess, this retreat in piny wood,
But she would instigate rebellion, fool.
I had returned to Nya. Again to Mli
I now must travel, wearing a disguise,
In order to investigate and see
What mischief she was seeking to devise.
Not recognizing me, she locked me up
Inside a stony cell. Then I made boid
With dagger to attack her. In my cup
They'd pour a draft of hemlock, she foretold.
With Ung's Defdéfa Convent, she denounced
A nun who'd tried in vain, moronically,
To murder her. Upon herself she'd pounced.
She did demand that Olezconia
Avenge this vile contumely with fire,
Or irrigate me with ammonia,
Or hang me on the gallows, even higher
If she elected, but the false report
Fell on deaf ears, for it was proven lies.
The sisters knew Rijarli did distort
Enormously. They'd grant her no assize.
My masquerade they couldn't know to tell,
And, hence, were mystified by the report.
How could Rijarli hold me in a cell
And still such noisome notices export?
Confusion notwithstanding, they sensed bale.
'Twas certain that the abbess was in straits.
She must have been the inmate of the jail
Rijarli held with wrath behind her gates.
Queen Barti they petitioned, with all speed
To prosecute this peril and undo
The malice, machination and misdeed
Now being meditated. Barti knew
'Twere best that Ajinblambia take charge.
Our lady King flew moonwards in a second
To vindicate the abbess now at large
And with the malefactress have it reckoned.
I've told already in this chronicle
I now compose as witness to our age,
How it was fateful and ironical
To live the life I'm sketching on this page,
For Ajinblambia had once before
Flown moonwards to defend me from a captor.
Upon a time, Ub's past I did explore.
I'd in my history include a chapter
About Qazúdistan's chronology.
Therefore, the Vríkshayas, an Ubbic clan,
Of my attentive anthropology
Became a subject, entered my book's plan.
The Vrikshayas for centuries had ruled
The continent beyond the Western Sea.
They'd governed from the shadows, whence they'd schooled
Both emperors and kings how they must be,
How they must act, what errands they must run.
They were revered as potentates and powers
Beyond compare beneath our dazzling sun,
The puppeteers who hovered o'er Ub's towers.
I'd told Queen Udi that I did suspect
That Ajinblambia and those five girls
Of Gángawar belonged unto that sect,
Aspiring to fly low her banner's furls.
That Ajinblambia had come from Mli,
The Vrikshayas millennial abode,
Correctly I'd deduced. The Queen could see
My reasoning, with evidence I showed
Corroborating it. She did arrest
All six purported Vrikshayas that day,
Dispatching me to Mli. There I addressed
Their Queen. Could she definitively say
If my hypothesis was false or true?
Queen Oa seized me, though, to ransom me.
Then Ajinblambia, it did ensue,
Asked Udi to release her, set her free
That she come wreck Queen Oa's royalty
And rescue me, returning me to Ung.
She demonstrated flawless loyalty,
Made me regret the folly of my tongue
For having made such empty accusation.
Again now must she come unto the moon
Defending me, Rijarli's usurpation
And abbacy extinguishing eftsoon.
This made me blush. I was embarrassed deeply
Recalling how, attempting to compete
With Ajinblambia, I dared so cheaply
Discredit her. Now prostrate at her feet
I lay, awaiting her redeeming hand.
As ever, she, protective and benign,
Appeared in Ufzu, in Queen Shandra's land.
One of her retinue she did assign
To do surveillance of the convent's ground,
Determine if, indeed, as was surmised,
The abbess was detained, imprisoned, bound,
And of all things germane keep her apprised.
Beneath the little window of my cell,
The nun detective, skulking in the eve,
Asked me such questions as did let her tell
I was the abbess. Me she did believe.
'Twas hardly an engagement that enabled
King Ajinblambia the place to seize,
And so Rijarli's regency, disabled,
Did topple, with Rijarli on her knees.
Then Ajinblambia installed another
With my consent. Her name was Shalvanétti.
For many years as Carvanilli's mother
She'd flourish, her long tenure sure and steady.
King Ajinblambia and I again
Aboard a spaceship, Photon IV, returned
To fair Mecnita. Hours it took but ten.
Queen Udi our arrival, when she'd learned
Thereof, did meet in Póngdoir, where our ship
Put down as from the cosmos we emerged.
She placed five minutes' kisses on the lip
Our monarch offered, and her bosom surged,
But me she humored with a hurried hug,
A mandatory peck upon the cheek.
What could I do? I bore it with a shrug.
No other salutation might I seek.
Our lady King o'ertopped me by a foot,
And she was clad in velvet and brocade.
Ung's sapphire crown upon her head she'd put.
In necklaces and rings she was arrayed,
But I was gaunt and haggard from my trials.
Recovery would take me one whole season.
At least, though, thankfully, Rijarli's wiles
Had failed, and we'd observe a reign of reason.
Has it been clarified herein by me
Nya's continents are two, named Eb and Ub,
Now both pertaining to our monarchy,
Our Ung, which has Mecnita as its hub,
A city of 100,000,000 souls
At our equator, at Eb's very heart?
'Round Eldor Palace sure the kingdom rolls,
For every sea and island is a part.
Nine provinces in western Ub had joined.
Twin reclamation projects were begun.
Four million talents had Queen Udi coined
To irrigate those lands parched by the sun.
'Twas ere she did relinquish her domain
And Ajinblambia her scepter gave.
She had appointed Vinja to grow grain,
With wholesome water those vast tracts to lave.
Containment structures rose along the sea.
Desalination went ahead apace.
Marched pylons on the dunes far as eyes see.
Titanic tractors tilled that endless space,
For Vinja, too a Vrikshaya, knew how
To organize those provinces, produce
Equipment and facilities, with plow
Three million miles to farmland to reduce.
How could a girl of five and twenty years
Hold all this wisdom in her gorgeous head?
What goddess had informed her eyes and ears
And educated every word she said?
The people there were nomads recently.
Just with the annexation had they learned
To live in houses, warmly, decently,
Not by simooms and blizzards to be churned.
Sophistication Vinja did impart.
She introduced new agricultural
Procedures, engineering, craft and art,
All matters technical and cultural.
It was decided I would next be sent
To Qizilót, the projects' foremost quarter,
To institute religion, soothe dissent,
Assuage dissatisfaction, calm disorder.
The Ubbic folk were shamanists. Taboo,
Tattoo and icon, fetishes occult
Composed the stuff of their religion too.
Revering totems they had made a cult.
Could I persuade the Ubbans to embrace
Ung's up-to-date ideas, and debunk
The mountebanks and wizards of their race,
Dispensers of foul potions, worthless junk,
Mad magic, crazy voodoo, incantations
And mystic talismans? Could I revise
Their metaphysics and their meditations,
Uplifting gold and silver to their eyes,
Chryselephantine goddesses enshrine
On pedestals of malachite and onyx,
Raise myrrh in censers, goblets full of wine,
And have them quit their evil-tasting tonics?
This was the task I set me. So their tongue,
Called Óiradi, I learned to read and write.
Their speech is rare in multilingual Ung,
But I waxed fluent, poems could recite,
Rehearsing thousandfold declensions daily,
Repeating conjugations by the dozens.
I did my homework cheerfully and gayly,
For I would make the Ubbans my dear cousins.
I memorized their alphabets and runes,
Became adept at accents, tones and times.
I even sang their canticles and tunes,
Observing all their rhythms and their rhymes.
Their lore I did imbibe. Their mysteries
And medicine I was assiduous
To study, with their natŭral histories
Of evergreens and trees deciduous
That grow in their unending mile and acre.
It was as if I were one of their folk.
I sought myself as Heaven-sent to sacre,
Thereby them to our credo to convoke.
The Ubbans proved less tractable and lenient
Than I'd supposed I'd find them. It was hard
To enter in their circles, inconvenient
Conforming to the customs they did guard.
Sometimes they'd wax indignant when I'd break
Unwittingly a rule they did maintain.
At other times derisively they'd make
Outrageous jingles, jests and jokes inane.
They'd whoop in merriment, with loud guffaws,
Because I'd made an innocent mistake.
With noisy squawks and cackles, croaks and caws,
They'd raise a din a graveyard that could wake.
This frightened me somewhat, but normally,
The bedlam and the hurly-burly done,
They'd be polite, address me formally,
And hearken to my hymns unto the Sun,
Till the next time I happened into error,
Offending their uncouth society,
And made myself the victim of their terror,
Atremble with acute anxiety.
They'd no conception of the deep respect
An abbess should command. They merely deemed
Me just another person, blackly decked
In nunnish veil and cashmere skirt unseamed.
Ung's heroines and goddesses meant nought
Unto the nomads. They preferred to gather
The roots and herbs their ancestors had taught
Healed every ill. Yes, verily they'd rather
Seek remedies in sap and cures in tea
Than put their faith in pharmaceuticals
They cut corollas, clipping cuticles,
And pressing petals to extract their essence.
Suspiciously they looked on our hypnotics,
Our anesthetics, sedatives, depressants,
Emetics, stimulants, antibiotics.
Inculcating new attitudes and notions
Oft seemed completely futile and absurd.
"Let them continue with their rites and potions.
I'll go back to Defdefa," was my word.
It was taboo for men to touch a nun.
Among them, though, there was a charming witch,
Both sleek and sinewy, tanned by the sun,
With sharp red nails, long tresses black as pitch.
She was a dancer, entertained the hordes,
All uninhibited and brazen bold.
She clicked with castanets and rattled gourds,
Laughed loud, and flirted, rolling with her eyes.
One evening, when a crowd had gathered 'round,
She circled me aboard her chariot
Once and again. She mocked me as she clowned,
At last tossed o'er my head her lariat.
Then down she sprang and ordered me to prance,
To kick my legs as high as I could kick,
To swish my skirt, to arabesque and dance,
My wimple to throw off, my shawl to flick.
A silver dagger she drew from her garter,
Accessible inside her skirt of fringe.
She flew at me as swiftly as a darter.
I wist not what to do but flinch and cringe.
When she got close, reluctantly I twirled,
And, like a ballerina, did fouettés.
My habit with my motion swayed and swirled,
As Jessamina's eyes flashed merry rays.
She held the lariat about my waist.
She tugged and shrugged. The rope she whipped and skipped
To regulate the roundelays I raced.
She tipped my equilibrium. She flipped
And I went flopping on the furs they'd plopped
Upon the ground. My shoes slipped off my feet.
My skirts and petticoats flapped o'er my head.
My beads were slapped upon a pile of peat.
The nomads roared with laughter as I rose.
For Jessamina brandished her sharp blade
As if she'd amputate my ears and nose.
Hereat, I do admit, I was afraid.
I ran around their yurt with frantic shrieks,
As Jessamina's voice waxed shrill and wild.
To her this was amusement, frolic, freaks.
At last she'd had her fun, again grew mild.
For days to come nobody passed me by
Without rememb'ring this harlequinade.
They'd grin and giggle with a twinkling eye
Or sound a peal, as if mock trumpets played.
Eventually, howe'er, I lived it down
And could with more decorum play the nun.
I noticed vibrant Vinja, golden brown,
From years of supervision in the sun,
And taller than a nomad ever was,
Both lovely and enchanting in her word,
Held Ubbans rapt, spoke as a siren does,
Astonishingly gorgeous thunderbird.
If I could get her to promote my cause,
Then surely I would soar upon her wing,
The future of our order in her claws.
What bounty and beatitude I'd bring!
Let me recall, some years before, by plane,
When Vinja'd come Mecnitawards to buy
Equipment for her project, would we twain
To Molonólo, Vingolílo fly.
An Ungonesian island in the sea
Lies Vingolilo southwards of Port Crelf,
A garden grown with orchid, swaying tree,
A paradise for Vinja and myself
On our stol'n holiday, our furtive tryst.
The capital is Molonolo town.
Our names were on a reservations list.
At Ekotáni Airport we put down.
The flying ladies governing the island
Bore us in baskets woven of rattan
Unto their temple in the cliffy highland
That can't be reached by quadruped or man.
Next, to a forest of cymbidiums,
Dendrobiums and cattleyas we rode.
There we could see and smell oncidiums.
We paths of fallen orchid petals trode.
A pair of langur monkeys Vinja'd bought.
She called one Popo. She one Nana named.
She had them back to Qizilot then brought.
Now they were grown, affectionately tamed.
So she and I enjoyed deep, deep rapport.
Of those five Gángawaran lasses, she,
Dear Vinja, was the one I did adore.
Besides, despite my nunhood, she loved me.
So it was easy. I was glib and facile
In asking for her auspices in Ub.
I'd build a nunnery, a limestone castle,
Convening postulants to join my club.
She was amenable. She liked my vision.
She introduced me to the tribal beys,
Who set aside their mischief and derision,
And helped me found the convent in those days.
I called the convent Tantakóram Cloister,
With floor of pine, oak threshold, cedarn sill
And walnut wainscot. 'Twas a campus moister
With water Vinja piped us from her still.
Engrailed drapes with rings in eyes of brass,
Transfixed by rods and drawn with braided cords,
O'er windows like embrasures smooth did pass
The transoms framed with joinery of boards.
A spacious hall contained the novice cells,
Immaculate, with hardwood floors that creaked
So slightly, and the doorjambs had small bells.
From azure chambray curtains sisters peeked
Upon the atrium or vale of wood
That ran athwart the cenoby, and angled
Off whither chalky mountains staidly stood,
Where cones from juniper and cypress dangled.
A pear and apple orchard soon was planted.
A bed of ginger, jonquil, jessamine did flower
in a protected spot where rafters slanted
To form an arbor, belvedere and bower.
A fountain gurgled in the open court,
And there were benches that ramadas covered,
Where, of an afternoon, a nun might sort
The pebbles. shells or seeds she had discovered.
A broad refectory stood next the gates,
With varnished oaken tables polished bright.
There pewter bowls and earthen cups and plates
Placed randomly, shone dully in the light.
Augúst cantatas, heavenly motets,
Did echo from the choir during masses,
Sublime polyphony no one forgets
Was sounded a capella by fair lasses.
I telephoned Defdefa one bright noon,
Inviting Sisters Quámla and Shanétz
To fly to Núula Airport very soon
Aboard Air Fwascren's supersonic jets,
For these two nuns were practised and rehearsed
In all the rites and rituals and rules
Regarded foremost and respected first
Among the nuns enrolled in convent schools.
They understood the art of binding books.
They fathomed physics and astronomy.
They wove, embroidered, sewed, crocheted with hooks,
Knew sacred and profane economy.
I'd tutor them in Ub's nomadic speech,
Drill them in adverb, pronoun and conjunction,
So they the local postulants could teach,
As mistresses and governesses function.
This Nuula Airport, by the way, was planned
By Ajinblambia, when she o'ersaw
The projects, ere they were in Vinja's hand,
According to the blueprints she did draw.
E'en earlier had I been supervisor,
Mismanaging the reclamation site,
Until that Vrikshaya, more skilful, wiser,
Queen Udi to replace me did invite.
'Twas then that I began to spin my web,
Concocting the conspiracies i'd write
To publish in the capital of Eb,
Exposing Mli's dark daughters to the light.
At any rate, the airport's runways sprawl
A length of twenty miles, for our jumbo,
A jet that spans 2000 feet in all,
As manufactured by the plant in Blúmbo,
Requires that goodly distance for to land,
Arriving at 2000 miles an hour,
With having flown o'er ocean, isle and sand
To get to Nuula's tall controlling tower.
But Quamla and Shanetz had flown before,
Though normally they rode the rails. They rolled,
Then pilgrimaged the prairie to our door,
Uplifting just a bit their habits' fold,
As they advanced upon the dusty lane,
Bazdunia. From Nuula Airport, though,
'Twas forty miles to Tantakoram's fane.
This was too far for nuns on foot to go,
So I and Vinja went in her long car,
One she reserved for any special guest,
To fetch the wimpled nuns come from afar
To oversee the cloister in Ub's west.
Like to a shining eagle swooped the plane,
With landing smoother than machinery.
The Vrikshaya and I beheld the twain
As they appeared and viewed our scenery,
Descending daintily the boarding ramp,
For airbridges had not yet been emplaced.
The buses throngs of passengers did cramp
But for a moment, as their way they traced
Unto the terminal. Then came the vans
With kilotons of baggage from the plane.
An electronic eye there quickly scans.
No long procedures are there to detain.
Anon the four of us had taken seats
In Vinja's limousine and sped away.
The highway first, then Qizilot's broad streets
We drove along, beneath the eye of day.
Another highway we would then traverse,
As Tantakoram's out of town twelve miles.
Throughout the trip, we blithely did converse,
Exchanging hugs and sharing merry smiles.
Shanetz and Quamla were impressed indeed
That with such speed the convent we'd erected.
Too, we'd anticipated all they'd need
To settle in the quarters they selected.
Fine statuary filled the tranquil spots
That separated buildings from high walls.
Red rhododendrons, roses in stone pots
Carved in relief, lined terraces and malls.
Both lemon and persimmon whitely bloomed,
While bougainvillea climbed peepul trees,
And tulips, in neat lines and circles groomed,
Displayed a million colors to the breeze.
A tablecloth of gingham red and white,
With checks of half an inch, was quickly spread
Upon a picinic table. I'd invite
With me the nuns and Vinja to break bread.
Lay maids brought baked potatoes from our stoves,
With onion and tomato, bean and pea.
They sliced with steely knives two leavened loaves,
And poured us cups of ice-cold carob tea.
The new-come nuns could scarce believe their eyes,
Astonished and amazed they both did stare,
When I explained that all these wheats and ryes,
Leguminous and solanaceous fare
Were grown with water from the Eastern Ocean
Desalinized by Vinja in reactors
That rose like giant founts and poured in motion
Broad rivers irrigating where her tractors,
Leviathans one hundred meters wide,
Could corrugate the earth and make it sprout
With grains in quantities to keep supplied
Three billion souls the continent throughout,
That there were gardens, orchards and plantations
Where every fruit and vegĕtable was grown,
That cities had sprung up, entire nations,
Now nourished by the seed that Vinja'd sown.
For this, had Ajinblambia designed
Her Photon One, which made its way to Dli
To see how much uranium they'd find
To bring to Nya's big project by the sea.
To undertake the aerospace endeavor,
She'd put the reclamation in the hands
Of Vinja, whom to equal there has never
Appeared another in Nyatic lands.
Two hundred installations stud the shore.
Each runs a forty-gigawatt machine
That cleans pelagic water, and, what's more,
Provides the volts that energize our scene.
There cattle too are bred and that explains
The butter, milk and cheese upon the table.
All this was done in regions void of rains
That only stations nuclear enable.
We ate our luncheon, took our ease an hour.
Then Quamla and Shanetz went to their cells.
In each a vase was stood with lovely flower,
With canna, calla, crocus and blue bells.
I'd left some little grammars i'd compiled,
With tables of declensions, spelling rules,
In cabinets with paper, neatly filed,
With pen and ink and other writing tools.
We set up schools, and little children came,
Attending cheerful classes we did start.
We taught them reading, writing, made a game
Of history, arithmetic and art.
Shanetz and Quamla also taught young nuns
To etch and sketch, to weave, make bobbin lace,
To carve relief, to fashion moons and suns
As sequins for georgette, to turn a vase
Upon a potter's wheel, or to engrave
Heraldic emblem, or design bright banner,
To fleece the sheep, the wool to card and lave,
Unwind cocoons, with every other manner
Of handicraft and skill, with each vocation.
They introduced piano, tutored lyre,
Taught harmony and rhythm snd notation,
And music composition did inspire.
'Twas certain, in the countless stores and fairs
In far-flung zones of all-embracing Ung,
One could obtain a million, million wares
Assembly lines in such profusion flung,
But connoisseurs, collectors, esthetes, buffs
Preferred our handmade statuettes and medals.
They loved our rainbow shawls and scalloped ruffs,
Rattan and wicker, our pressed flower petals,
Our cameos, galloon, faïence, parquet,
For these we did display at our bazaars,
Now that from dawn to sunset went our day
And that our night was measured by the stars,
Now that construction's numerous delays
And half-built porticoes had had their day,
Now that the scaffolds, falsework, wooden stays
And shoring had been razed and hauled away.
The miracles Shanetz and Quamla worked
Delighted me. I saw that I could trust
That pair of sisters. They no effort shirked
Administ'ring all matters as they must.
The Vrikshayas observed the nuns' success
At Tantakoram Cloister with great pleasure.
So Ajinblambia myself did press
To take in hand another weighty measure.
As I have noted, Ungonesia's isles
Lie scattered in the endless Southern Ocean.
The archipelago's ten thousand miles
From east to west, aswirl in tidal motion,
Five thousand miles extending north to south,
Accessible from Gáutsma or Port Crelf,
Metropolis that straddles Úmzid's mouth.
I'd been to Ungonesia thrice myself.
In fact, I and Queen Udi thither traveled
In days before I was transformed to nun,
Before my masculinity unraveled
And my new life as sister I'd begun.
There, she'd explained upon a time to me,
Were wonders and phenomena galore,
Sights to behold and spectacles to see,
Unlike aught ever happ'ning on Eb's shore,
Like crocodiles thirty meters long,
Domesticated whales that people rode,
Men who broke trunks of trees they were so strong,
And flying women in their steep abode,
Like cities underground and babies talking,
And palms carnivorous that ate baboons,
Like quicksand islands where there is no walking,
And hurricanes, tsunamis and monsoons.
One of the marvels most intriguing me
Was Fulumóa, whither plane and ship
Negotiated the enormous sea,
An isle eight hundred miles from tip to tip.
This Fulumoa was the only isle
In Ungonesia that had railroad tracks,
Where one could take a train in decent style,
As wheels struck splices with hypnotic clacks.
The capital, Badáko, on the sea,
Is relatively modern and untangled.
Howe'er, as you leave town, immediãtely
You're in the jungle's vines and branches strangled.
A village, Lobiláka, huddles east
Some fifteen miles by proboscidean.
Along the muddy road the lumb'ring beast
From daybreak till past hours meridian
Will haul you in a howdah for a fee,
For elephants are Fulumoa's cabs,
If the interior you would dare see
Afar from where the trainman pokes and stabs.
One Tamufála is the village chief,
The tallest of the giant Fúlus there.
He looks upon the region as his fief.
To lordship of this realm is he the heir.
His height's nine feet plus maybe sev'ral inches,
His arms like trunks mahogany or teak.
To raise him would require a pair of winches.
All solid muscle is his huge physique.
When Udi and myself had come this way,
We lost each other in the jungle's glade.
The Fulus caught and caged me. I did sway
Suspended by agave ropes they'd made.
My cage they'd tied unto a ceiba bough.
'Twas made of canes connected with hemp strands.
In desperation, i've forgotten how,
I worked the canes apart with teeth and hands.
Past midnight, when the Fulus were asleep,
I cut myself severely on the spines
Protruding from the trunk, as I did creep
Down to the undergrowth of roots and vines.
Come morning, I did hear the whoops and cries
Of an advancing party of young braves.
As they approached, I scarce believed my eyes,
For Udi rode a litter made of staves,
As if she'd been a goddess or an idol
They would escort unto their savage shrine
To honor and to worship. I did sidle
From out my covert, offering a sign
Of greeting to the group as near they walked,
Because I understood that I'd been saved.
Queen Udi fluently, I heard her, talked
In Fulumoa's language. How they raved!
For she had told them she'd been sent from Heaven
By Tolamótu, deity supreme
Within the Fulus' pantheon of seven,
According to their mythologic scheme.
She'd studied Fulu in her college day.
Mecnita University's well-known
For its philology. Far and away,
Was Udi its best student, she alone.
Advising Tamufala of his error,
The Queen exalted me with precious praise.
The chief repented and relaxed his terror,
So he and I made peace in those fine days.
How many times have I been saved by ladies?
Were it not for the gentle sex's rescue,
My spirit would be moldering in Hades,
My bones beneath the darnel and the fescue.
The only question in my mind was if,
When I returned to Lobilaka town,
Chief Tamufala would be cold and stiff,
Or frivolous and merry as a clown,
As was his custom, when he wasn't wroth,
Provided that he recognized at all
My face and figure clad in jet-black cloth,
In flowing biliments and draping shawl.
Our lady King had asked me to convert
The Fulus to the Ungian religion.
Did I into the jungle dare revert,
Among the condors as a mourning pigeon?
I flew Air Fulumoa's mini-jet.
Air traffic to the island wasn't heavy.
The maxis only major cities get,
To minimize the taxes that we levy.
I paid a little visit 'cross the straits
To Tufĭatáni, oracle and friend,
Residing in a hut with bamboo gates,
Stone walls, thatched roof, where palm trees sway and bend.
She greeted me with, "Vocno, why in black
Do you go habited like to a nun?
Is this your new direction, latest tack,
Or are you masquerading just for fun?"
After a round of hugs and pleasantry,
Right back to Fulumoa did I raft,
Aboard a boat manned by the peasantry,
A cutter with its rigging fore and aft.
Atop an elephant I next returned
To Lobilaka, to address the chief.
At once, however, anxiously I learned
Of Tamufala's death and kinsmen's grief.
Pokóka, a new chief, now ran the village.
He was severe and sullen, made his living
By mounting raids and by collecting pillage.
His way was always taking, never giving.
At once they seized my baggage and my beads,
My relics, mantle, wimple, coif and guimpe,
My purse and my black cashmere nunnish weeds,
Confined me with their oxen in a camp.
I was attired in panties and chemise,
With but a heap of leaves to make my bed.
To be my house I'd just the boughs of trees,
Since my corral had neither shack nor shed.
Sometimes they brought me food, at others not.
I drank from water flowing in a brook.
'Twas fortunate I gathered quite a lot
Of fruit and nuts. Of course, I couldn't cook.
I dared not try escape, for miles fifteen,
With mud, lianas, vines and stagnant ponds,
I'd have to travel barefoot, sight unseen,
To reach Badako, and thus loose my bonds.
So in my pen I languished in despair,
Abandoning all happiness and hope,
Respiring but the fev'rish, fetid air,
With twigs for combs and soapberry for soap.
Just why the Fulus let me live I wonder,
For easily they might have murdered me.
Their choice to spare me was a fatal blunder
For reasons they could scarcely then foresee.
Let me tell how the story did unfold,
As if I'd been there as things were occurring.
'Twas only afterwards, when all'd been told,
I learned the facts whereto I'm now referring.
At any rate, some weeks elapsed thereafter.
Queen Udi of myself had seen no trace.
I hadn't called with mirth and merry laughter.
Her vision phone had not displayed my face.
King Ajinblambia herself flew down
To Fulumoa for investigation.
Nuns are seen seldom in Badako town,
So with ten minutes of interrogation,
She heard about the cutter and the visit
I'd made to Tufĭatani's hut of stone.
With fine detective work, precise, exquísite,
She found her way to Chief Pokoka's throne,
For Tufĭatani'd met the former chief,
That Tamufala who had passed away.
She knew about Pokoka, ruthless thief.
The Vrikshaya learned all within a day.
And here she was, confronting the great savage,
Who stood nine feet while she stood only seven.
You'd surely think that he could slay or ravage
The mistress of the continents and Heaven.
When she inquired, he brazenly did boast
That, yes, he held me captive in a pen,
And said with condescension uttermost
My visage she would never see again.
He had no use for royalty from Ung.
Nobody ever told him what to do.
Before her, hempen mats he vainly flung,
And bade her kneel, pronouncing homage too.
Then Ajinblambia her head did nod
Just slightly as a token of respect,
Refusing, nonetheless, upon the sod
To kowtow, kneel, fall prone or genuflect.
Moreover, she demanded that he free
Myself without a minute of delay,
For elsewise she herself would rescue me
Regardless what resistance he'd display.
Pokoka laughed in scorn. How dared she talk
To him as if some kind of threat she posed?
For he would kill her soon as she should walk
Towards the corral where I had been enclosed.
Our lady King tried patiently to reason,
Addressed the chief in Fulu fluently,
Assevering the time was not his season
To stray from Ung's dominion truantly.
He grabbed her wrist with muscles like an ape,
But acrobatically she did contrive
To get away. Then throwing off her cape,
With prowess she triumphantly did strive
Against Pokoka's bold brutality
And brawny biceps, fists of ferric force.
She vexed his vigor and vitality
As if she tamed a mettlesome wild horse.
The fight did last some minutes, but at length
Pokoka lay unconscious on the mats
He'd tossed for her to kneel upon, his strength
Undone. Around his head flew flies and gnats.
The other Fulus had recoiled in fright
On seeing that their chief was hurt and humbled.
It was a shameful scandal in their sight
To witness how their leader had been tumbled.
I too was full of awe and holy dread.
What kind of woman was this lunar wonder,
Who could have had the savage chieftain's head,
Who could have plucked his skeleton asunder?
Then Ajinblambia addressed the tribe.
With apprehension and docility
They harked her word, how it did fitly gibe
With her great deed. They showed servility
Lest they experience the selfsame thing
Their chief had met in holding in contempt
The person and the presence of our King,
The only lady ever thus benempt.
She tutored them in words to the effect
That I was there to teach them modern lore,
That they were bounden to show me respect
As if I'd been herself they were before.
They promised to pay heed whene'er I spoke,
To listen to my lessons with all tact,
And never to belittle, never joke,
And never contumaciously to act.
She said that I would call her every day,
Reporting briefly how the mission went.
If circumstance should cause a long delay,
To Lobilaka, for to learn anent
The reason for the pause, she'd fleetly fly.
They'd better ascertain she'd not perceive
They'd been remiss, emboldened to defy
The rule she had enounced, thus to aggrieve
Authority Queen Udi had ordained
And vested in herself. They'd have to pay
A penalty. They'd duly be arraigned.
There'd be a reckoning upon a day.
These done, our lady King did board a jet
And flew back to Mecnita in two hours.
It's just four thousand miles. There she was met
In person by Queen Udi bearing flowers.
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