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The Lady

The Lady

One summer day, my lover and I

walked hand in hand, around Hampton Court.

We came to the maze and entered within

following no plan, just steps without thought.

Our path was ushered by cool laurel walls,

our voices were silent, but our minds were entwined.

At each branch in the path, with arm around waist,

we chose as if one and walked as if blind.

We came to a clearing and sat on a bench.

My head on his shoulder, we dozed in the heat.

Did we dream that we heard a murmured exchange,

as a couple appeared and stood by our seat?

The lady wore pearls on fine gold brocade

while the man had a doublet with rapier at his waist.

‘My sweetest Jane, you must no longer delay’

and with the palest of cheeks, she accepted his embrace.

The breeze chilled my skin as the couple turned away

and faded from sight into corridors of green.

I looked to my love, and asked him to say

if he shared my dismay at all that we had seen.

As he kissed away the tears that ran down my cheek

my heart ran wild like a young girl betrayed.

Then his lips softly touched the nape of my neck

with the loving caress of the executioner’s blade.

Often I think of the events of that day,

and I hold my love tight in a desperate embrace.

And though we returned many times to the maze

our steps never found the path to that place.




OUP Zoom, Makarelle (pub), OUP 207

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