Saturday, November 10, 2012

Boudicca (A poem)

eyes spidered with veins, she stands
a critical mass of rage
blood matting her hair, rusted dark
onto her torc of authority, which names her
queen and heir and symbol-body, her bruised skin
the link that joins them all to the thick mud beneath their feet

her daughters beside her. these children
or are they women? it's too dark to see. too dark
but their pain pulses in the night, fires the moon
and the telling of it turns all hearts wine-dark

she tells it. what was done. what will be done.
the land that will be taken, the sons and the daughters laid waste.
the circle in which they see the bands of life broken

she is enormous in what she will do.
she is without quarter. she will lead them roaring
to the razing of towns and the taking of heads
eking the price of daughter-pain in the young of others
this is a war of justice, not mercy.
ferocity without limit, but not,
it must be owned,
without cause.

and when at last cold metal is at her throat
to drink of the dreamless cup
and go into the shadows alone
rather than be paraded, barbarian-slave, for the beneficence of the great city.

I wonder what she would have made of her adoption
by that muffled time of another queen, a romantic-melancholic time
removing itself from the natural in the female human body as far as philosophy could do it?
I wonder would she have been baffled, or simply uncomprehending
when they labelled their Victoria with her name?
She who led armies to rebellion, and then their bloody end
to be twinned to the grieving queen
who could mourn a man lost not to violence, but disease,
in safety for a long lifetime.

I wonder if she knew, or ever thought
she would become folk legend, claimable
for many a purpose and many a song. or if
she flailed into her fate, driven by devils of chance and malignancy
and died with a heart of acid and a backbone of spear
not allowing the enslaving
not conniving the mythologising
simply stepping her own stars.

- Kathy, 10/11/12

This is post 10 in NaBloPoMo. 10 down, 20 to go!

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