The Impresario (part ten)

Posted by ractrose on 8 Oct 2019 in Art, Poems

Oil painting of rogues' retreat overlooking chateau




The Impresario

Part Ten


The keeper of his purse departs

A servile gratitude for this

answering of an urgent summons

The impresario feels

And feels enfolded in a fallen angel’s wings

Bearing the stench of cursedness; a humble plea

To all he meets for small respect. Merci.

He means to pay them each five coins of gold

Adieu, madame, adieu.

Mes pauvres, may God defend you

Scattered to the four winds of the world.

“Tortu, I will not tarry

On the next ship leaving harbor I must be—”

On the stable wall of a desolate rogues’ retreat

Tortu in an agony of sorrow

Marks a letter N and from his throat

His master hears his first word spoken


And Pierre, whom the impresario had told,

“Walk Regalus to the town and beg an audience

A convent there is dedicated to Sainte-Marguerite

The noble lady abbess, she will be so good…”

Comes back. “No, my friend, she will not be commanded.”

He holds the way against a probing arm

Another snakes about his waist, but unperturbed

Pierre tells his tale. “Your purse of gold is lighter now by half.

Discount the cost of passing through the gate

For I was stayed without, but to the warden’s house

The pious dame did order wine and bread

To salve my sinner’s conscience I must lay

Three coins beside my plate, the dowry paid

Then whistling on my way, while in my heart

Reciting ten Aves—Ah! I swear it—thus far gone

In thought I had not guessed my peril

A hand did seize me by the collar…”




Oil painting of staring-eyed man before dramatic night sea

Part Eleven

















(2017, Stephanie Foster)




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