Swordfleur Skullybed

for Kathleen Jennings
(from her Game of Squares prototype)

(Oh, this doggerel is VERY SILLY, ma belle amie–but it was so fun to play!)

Swordfleur Skullybed
Rose at her heart
Crypt at her head
Long black rapier gleaming bright
Crept to her love
On a brine-drowned night
Demoiselle La Tombstonetree
Saddled her mare
And galloped the sea
Churned those breakers white as lace
Challenged her love
To a game of chase
"Tree!" cried Fleur
"Oh, must thou fly?
Thine old gray mare is fleeing high
Had I an arrow to my name
I'd bolt her down 
And end thy game!"
"Fleur, my sapskull!"
Tree replied
"The game is this: I run and hide
And you, like brigand in full roar
Come run me down
Swordfleur Skullybed
Seized with despair
(And seeing red)
Wrapped her cloak around a breeze
And flew like a bat
To the place she pleased
(Where the crypt and the rose and the quiet reigned
Where the rain fell soft, and the glass bells rang
Where the demoiselles, all shanks and sharps
With eyes like pits and teeth like sharks
Were yet more kindly to their Fleur
Than Tombstonetree had been to her)
Demoiselle La Tombstonetree 
Wild as a wager 
And flying free
Waved farewell and galloped on
Forgot the hour
Forgot the dawn
(Forgot that the touch of the sun meant death
Would stop up her heart and rob her of breath
Would turn her to pearls, all luster and gloss
As pale as her lace, as gray as her horse
A tumble of pearls which would wash up on shore
To be gathered for garlands by faithful Fleur)
Swordfleur Skullybed
Loved by ladies
Long since dead
Gave all her garlands of pearls away
To any demoiselle
Who stayed

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