Jeux de Pages
by Marly Youmans
The pages thunder in the armory,
Storming the dust to air, clashing old greaves,
Loosing breast-plate, hounskull, frog-mouth, codpiece,
Spaulder, every ancient piece of armor,
And when the Fool comes asking what is meant,
They crown his head with a vast kettle hat
And shout, Barbarians are at the gate!
Their look is not like us, they worship gods
In stone and moon and say that we are wrong
When they are wrong, as any fool can see—
No harm intended, Fool! The Fool shrugs off
The kettle hat and lets it clang on slate.
Alone, the Fool arrays his battle gear:
A flower to shake pollen on his foes,
A bowl of agates to entrance their eyes,
A precious wentletrap to lift to ears
That never heard its song of endlessness.