Fairy Tales

Whereupon doth very seldom an ill soul dwell in a beautiful body.
            “The Courtier”
            Castigilone

I never questioned
that the giant grew
with the muscular anger of his bad intent,
or that the dwarf’s size was
a punishment, the outward shirt
of some cramped spite.
Nothing of nuance there.
The hag at the crossroads
had been waiting forever
for the simple shepherd boy.
Squinting and warty, her crowd was all the same.
Their deeds were likenesses.
To be themselves was all they had to do.

And allegory, too, those maidens good as they were fair
in lambent towers or lingering
in the formal gardens of their courtesy.
Which of their company
could be prepared for the subtle complications,
commonplace deformities, the impertinence
of somebody’s cousin, or that ruined prince
pleading no cause but his resemblance to fact?
Poolside, she should have seen
the tarnished crown, and later
as he crossed the darkened porch
she should have been advised.

Lady, turn and run away
No fall from grace or wonder
has disfigured him. Though 
he is an impostor, this
is no disguise, and nothing
will restore him to the fiction
of your own content.
It’s now he shows to best advantage
coughing and croaking at the massive door.


“Fairy Tales” was previously published in Windhover