“Down in the dungeon,” her handmaiden said
“Lies a man who had taken his fair share of heads”
Underneath her sheets, as she tried to find sleep
An idea emerged at curiosity’s peak
She crept past the guards and passed by the kitchen
With a plate on her hand and in her mind wishing
That the man who was hidden in the darkness of night
Would not mind, in the slightest, to share his own plight
With the moon and rattling of old dishes as guides
She approaches the cell, but is smart as she hides
Looking inside she sees cold, catching, blue
Just like the grand lake from her balcony view
“Who goes there?” he shouts as his shackles sound out
She steps back, she waits, and then scurries about
To the front of the bars where she enters his vision
He asks for her name and then for explanation
She bends down, her negligee sweeps at the floor
And offers the plate, asks if he would want more
He’s wary, but curious, and asks who she is
“A stranger” she answers, again offers the dish
For a fortnight it continues at witch’s hour
She’d bring him good food, with some books or some flowers
And always before the sun could rise east
Away she’d return to the parties and feasts
Then one cold winter evening as she comes with baked bread
He tells her a story of a man long thought dead
“In the woods,” he had started — so lonely, resigned
“Lived a man with his wife, and a son by his side.”
They’d been happy, content, and unwanting of more
But that was not all that cruel life had in store
One night, the boy slept, his parents outside
Woken by the sound of his mother’s loud cry
Orange, yellow and red lit up the dark evening
Loud sounds of laughter as the boy remained heaving
And later when horse hooves and men had all left
He’d gone out to see where two bodies now rest
For years it consumed him, the nightmares a hindrance
Till finally he settled to quench it with vengeance
He trained and he searched all the local town taverns
And a drunk knight had told him the deeds of his brothers
With a quiver behind him and a dagger at his side
He followed the ser and then hid in plain sight
The troops were so merry and reeking of mead
And when calm all but settled, killed them all in their sleep
The princess stood shocked. “Did that happen to you?”
He laughed, horrid chuckles, and cried “No, none were true.”
Shoulders were bunched, tears of sorrow so cruel
“I’m sorry” she said “I’ve been a naive fool”
The next time she brought him a bottled French red
But stopped in her tracks as a guard loudly said
Insults and words that were flooding with spite
“You’re dying tomorrow, useless piece of shite!”
Deep in the shadows, she feels her heart clench
The supper from earlier perhaps she could wretch
Her shallow breaths huff as the knight passes by
From deep in the dungeon loudly came out a cry
Her footsteps are heavy and her tears prick her eyes
And when she spots his agony, she can’t help despise
The weak, foolish, heart that had opened itself
To the man on death row with no future or wealth
She sets down the wine and he looks with distaste
“On a man such as I, that’s no more than a waste.”
Taking it back, she pulls up the sealed cork
Tips her head back and takes in more and more
“To the sorrow, to the pain, and the misunderstood!”
She yells and she vows that she’d do what she could
He lets out a laugh, that same bitter tingle
“There’s no way to help me, not even a little.”
Her eyes do they harden? He seemed quite surprised.
“I’m a princess. Believe me, I tell you no lies.”
He laughs even louder. Down his eyes flow the tears.
“Even that’s not enough to settle my fears.”
Taken aback, how could she not be?
Had he no faith in her capability?
He shook his head, no, it seemed that he had noticed.
“It’s stupid, instead, would you make me one promise?”
It’s her turn to fear as she quickly denies
“No, please, don’t give up. I beg, let me try!”
He approaches, a first, and the shackles they echo
“Do this, for me, a dying young fellow.”
The blue is too much, filled with much desperation
She couldn’t resist, so she nods — resignation
He offers a smile. Her existence’s new bane.
“Come with me.” He says. “To a land with no pain.”
Time stops. She stares. Did she hear him right?
“My heart cries for you, but I can no more fight.”
She stands. He grasps. Callouses comforting.
“If you feel for me then just do this one thing.”
She runs to her room, so quick on her feet.
And soon shuts the door and falls on her sheets.
She cries for the future, the throne, till she rests
For just as she left, she had whispered a “Yes”
The dream is so painful, a torturous scene
Of the man in a crown while she stands as his queen
A child runs straight to them, full of pure joy
The same striking blue on the face of the boy
He hugs her, says “Mummy!” and feels herself give
Wakes, and without it, finds no reason to live
The handmaiden comes, unaware of her strife
Her eyes land on the tray with the cheese and the knife
“Milady.” She says. “Your father asks for the princess.”
A beheading, he’d said, today she shall witness.
She dismisses the maid with an “I’ll follow you shortly.”
Looks out at the lake a stares, forlornly
The noose waits at the pew as it swings with the wind
She clutches the blade before pushing it in
Red seeps from her gown, a clang sounds from the ground
And two hours later her body is found
Life is nothing but cruel. She should have known better.
For the king’s broken heart had led to one letter
Cry of outrage and scandal, but he cared not for protest
And resigned to his room, to mourn and to rest
The man in the dungeon, whose family was lost
Understood, and then freed, but at what pricey cost?
“Is this how it feels to lose all you care for?”
His highness had asked, as he walked out the door.