The Impresario (part two)

Posted by ractrose on 20 Aug 2019 in Art, Poems

Oil painting of rat on tower block overlooking medieval Cathedral




The Impresario

Part Two


In his dreaming calculations lying wakeful

He recalls himself, in this bed built for a dying wife

Never so alive with fear for his charges

He had always paid the roustabouts

To guard the wagon, warned Tortu

Whose wise and solemn eyes obey

To take a crown and buy them cakes

To keep his creatures cloaked and masked

Until the day

Now answering in kind he follows clues

Wordless, the distance tightening

Until the rigid half-circle they’d sketched

Became a letter G

Through the seat of commerce with his spine contracted

By an unexpected terror of its shadowed lanes

He searched for symbols, charcoaled, and at length

Traced a pathway marked in cornerstones

Blacked atop with compass lines

Arrows pointing east

And when he came to a butcher’s stall

Where piglets hung like tally marks, in chords

He ducked behind and found a row of houses

Counted on his left an open courtyard

Counted on his right…one, two, three, four


She had swallowed a wasp on Saint Thomas’s day

Eleven months undelivered

A log of wood burst with a shocking report

Spewing sparks that caught fire among the rushes


A heated swarm escaped

The household in a frenzy as the maid

Had at that moment touched a goblet to her mistress’s lip

All is deathly calm now, the rooms unlit

A wine butt holds the offspring born

Turned inside-out

He has been shown this, cautiously, the lid pried loose

His host with timorous courtesies had laid

His board with a fair day’s bounty

“Yes,” he’d said to the impresario, “if I might not tempt the devil

By showing gold, I would reward you for this kindness.

You deliver me, no less

In taking her from my house.”




Oil painting of timbered houses and dancing woman, spectators wearing medieval clothing

Part Three















(2016, Stephanie Foster)




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