Lament for a Faithless Prince

by Ada Hoffmann

See, I have made you a hall of ruby,
the length of it bright as blood, cold as stars,
and a white bear's skin for you to lie on.
I would sing to you there as I once did.
The wardrobe stands in your bare, dim hall
where it always stood, and I am sure my highest peals
still reach your world — Come to me!
But you will not come, you will not.

I am full of palaces and fragrant glades —
fear-frosted nights, too, for I know
your inner dark, and you know mine.
You have ridden, hounds baying, through these lands.
Silver-eyed nymphs have kissed your lips,
abased to your will, and there is more —
my love, you have not seen half of me.
But you will not return, you will not.

I have seen you call me Never Never Land
with a left-handed smile, as if to say:
There could never be a hall made of ruby.
Your lips appease the bearded scholars,
the rationalists who own you now,
but the lie goes deeper: you kissed me,
not the nymphs but the very stones,
the night you barred and locked the wardrobe.
And you will not return, you will not.

See, every door to me is a gnashing mouth.
If I could, I would gulp you down whole
and chain you with gold in my belly.
I've dreamed a thousand of you, pale ghosts,
held them in my glittering depths.
But every one has faded to glass, to smoke,
until I cannot feel them, and must call:
Come to me, love. I have made you these things.
But you will not come, you will not.

Ada Hoffmann lives in southern Ontario. Her favourite fruits are sun-warmed strawberries fresh from the vine during picking season, which in southern Ontario is usually June. You can find her on the Internet here or on Twitter.

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