Wednesday, March 23, 2011


A Sudden Call
By Cincinnatus Carvain

Arrows are not quick-witted. They may appear so to the noble on his glowing balcony or the artist painting the beggar (fast asleep in his golden gutter), but such characters see but a single quip; one meditated long before the show.

Lords too are slower than the noble perception of them (though faster over rooftops, cloaked by dusk and cowl), their endearing witticisms conceived not on thrones or ball rooms but rather throughout lonely nights in bed with wives (a stage likely shared by the couple on the shaded bench, smiling facades).

Knights, men of honour, prefer blushes to codes; one in particular accepting those of some young maidens watching his evening swim (he gives no thrusts tonight, at least). These are the hecklers; the drunkards shouting insults at jests and walking red-faced from the shades of gardens and gowns. Whose hair (now plastered to a pale back) flows with the wind and gleams like their armour. Swimming is the image the royal ladies swoon to.

The cowled one perches with royal grace on the edge of the tavern and rehearses in his mind as a poet mounts the fountain and recites to the pond. The knight continues splashing, the couple clap their praise and brandy-bound townsfolk gather. Compliments, aahs and the odd jeer echo in the pauses (for breath and effect) and the unnoticed cowl bobs then settles, prepared, and listens for his cue.

“...a painful life I ready am to leave.” A crow caws from the town wall. “Wherefore, in mercy, Lord, my soul receive.”

Applause and the cowl lets loose his joke, retreating from the stage as the punch line sinks in with a thunk and a splash. Artist, noble, crowd and crow become silent, in awe of the cerebral pun.

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I am a kindergarten teacher and avid antique collector with a love for fantasy.


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