a Medieval Love Story
the broken coin exchanged,
a half for each.
Floral crown on the mantelpiece
a dark little stain on the sheets.
she waits for him to lead.
He eyes the long landscape,
she touches the froth on the trees.
Black swans drift past
but he doesn’t step forward.
He laughs and shrugs and
lifts his head.
She tenses, ready to follow.
the salad of herbs arranged like flowers
blue borage simmering with bees
the fat, hairy border of comfrey.
Two figures come close then leave.
A light rain falls and she
their everyday clothes.
All they have done is nothing.
Nothing is left in their shadow
turned upside down
He can’t meet hers.
Some black swans cry
The reek of pennyroyal
On the wooden table the spray of herbs
weighted by dew
releases its various scents.
Pricks both ends of an egg with a pin
then blows softly through
to empty the yolk, the white.
Warm water enters and exits the tiny holes.
colours half the mix with saffron
and with the finest funnel
then yellow then white
into the shell to make as if an egg
(its yolk a yellow girdle)
and heats it over the fire to set.
in the sweet trick
then started to long for an egg,
the real thing, instead.
sees her, her lovely mouth
pressed to the crown of an egg,
transparent white streaked with yellow
oozing from its end.
a tumble of tomatoes
and beside them,
four grey-skinned pumpkin
He picks the pumpkin one by one
and tomatoes in a viney bunch,
where he wipes them with a clean cloth
and sets them along the bench,
and a hare’s head out of bread
they use one ear each to dip in their soup
scooping it hungrily.
‘A present from the compost,’ he says
and they smile as she tears
the earless hare’s head in two.
her blue skirt, its damp hems
gritty against her ankles.
Her ankles, shins and feet throb with cold.
leaving the path half-cleared
half-lumpy with snow.
Inside she drops her skirt to the floor
of her husband’s trousers
ties them against her legs with leather straps.
Her husband watches her disappear.
kicks through red and orange leaves
runs down a gentle slope to a stream,
follows its silver thread.
bristling with thinly-sliced almonds,
a fat hedgehog,
they eat it sitting in chairs beside the window.
her face towards his feet.
‘I am a Fool’ she says
‘And that makes me an Ass,’ he smiles
and gently he pulls her under him.
‘There is no way to do this well,’ he says
‘let’s do it badly.’
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lynn Davidson has published two collections of poetry, Mary Shelley’s Window and Tender, and a novel, Ghost Net. Her poem ‘Illusion Foods’ is from a collection of poetry written this year as part of her MA in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters.