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by Isabelle Kenyon

Once upon a time, one thousand years ago,
A tyrannical ruler sank his city in the blood of virgins.
Masochism blinded sensibility, his rule fuelled by fear...

When, candy-wrapped, the prize of the land
stands serenely at his door,
She martyrs her body in marriage.
Behind silver-sheened silks
and eyes the colour of liquid chocolate,
she possesses a formidable weapon,
A power bestowed upon her from birth: Behold
the sharp-witted story-weaver,
golden-tongued orchestrator of words.

Though dark clouds hang heavy
on the night of her wedding,
And the wind howls in early mourning
for the sun’s first rays,
when people will gather at the palace gates
like faceless blocks of colour to see her head hang...
Morning will break with silence
and not the bones of Scheherezade’s neck.

She lies pencil-straight and,
before his first snore,
Begins a story
Of princes, princesses, fire-breathing lizards
and cunning wizards,
Crafted so carefully that the King
His lust for her head on a platter,
The end of the story now the only thing of matter.
Scheherezade was wise:
a new story every night to cuckold the King,
and on the thousandth and one night,
He admitted his sin.


Copyright © 2017 by Isabelle Kenyon
Artrwork by Sophie Anderson (1823-1903)
photo by the New Art Gallery Walsall

Proceed to Challenge 740...

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