THE LADY IN THE POND
Repulsive smolders ever-blighted light,
Converse a harbinger in placid glass.
Where angels once bedighted sylvan glades,
Now resolute encamp phantom brigades
And wait till what must be has come to pass.
A broken lance drags crooked on the ground
Where trods a skin-bag horse replete with bones.
Upon his back a withered, armored knight
Whose eyes confess a long-escapéd might
Rides hunchbacked; weary years he’s been alone.
Wherefore the maiden fair he ardent sought
In days his arms still vigor they possessed?
The long-elusive empress of his dreams,
Primeval simulacrum, love supreme,
Existed only in a mind oppressed.
This champion of courage, truth, and heart
Still clings in vain to hope of valiant cause.
While creeping underneath his bristled maw
A quiver turns a tenant in his jaw,
For in this wood he’ll give his sojourn pause.
What incandescence throbs beyond the briar?
He arduously from his horse descends.
The steed, decaying as it stood for years,
Expires as its rider disappears,
No more to traverse land from end to end.
This intrigue he must extricate from doubt—
An enigmatic moonbeam ‘mongst the brush;
With satisfaction chiefest of his goals
The knight in muted armor wades through shoals
Of gath’ring phantoms, clouding in a crush.
Discomfit clasps limbs 'neath his metal garb,
Poor worthless warrior by his virtue weak,
And lo! Approacheth he the crystal pool
Whose waters lustrous mirror heaven's jewel—
The pure inamorata he doth seek!
That hollowed man, just as a manikin
Will crumple when its pinioned parts go slack,
Collapséd on the bank, his grasping hands
Collecting in their clutch mere mud and sand,
And died he there betrayed, though soul enrapt.
Oh, eidolons deceptive, conjurers,
Illusions to delirium drove he
Who strove to bolster hope and vanquish death
With ev'ry naïve, unprolific breath,
For all his good bespoke deformity.