Saturday, January 19, 2013

For Nigh a Millennium

Another sestina . . . 

. . . for Eleanor of Aquitaine . . .

. . . my 25th great grandmother according to Mormon mythology and numerical probability.  This is my first attempt at writing a sestina, but not the first sestina written of one beloved by troubadours.

Latin and literature entrained her mind;
Music and poetry bound the book of her heart.
Fearless on the hunt, with horse become one,
With imprinted hawk aloft her screeching soul.
A girl growing like a rose a beautiful body;
Blossoming, in a world of men, with thorns and spirit.

This granddaughter of a Dangerose spirit
And a warring troubadour's mind
Tempted princes with her lustrous body,
Captured from crusading knights their collective heart,
And released the doves from a singing serf's soul.
And the songs sung of her were more than one.

Of kings she married more than one:
Wearied of the first for his weak spirit,
Poor leadership, and ill-prepared monk's soul;
Recognized in the second an ambitious mind
To secure her land and royal heart.
Gave to both the garden of her body.

She bore and birthed ten babies from her body
And proved to be a privileged fecund one,
Yet still learned to bear a mother's broken heart,
Though it never broke her queenly spirit.
And when her king made sport with ones of lesser mind,
She became the keeper of her own soul.

And thus her king could not condemn her soul,
Though for sixteen years he imprisoned her body.
Nor could he prevent memories of music refreshing her mind
And, because her keep was not a windowless one,
Her soaring with falcons from the aerie of her spirit.
And as queen mother she never questioned the choices of her heart.

She outlived the choices of her heart
And retreated as an old soul
To an abbey to purify her spirit
And free it from her aging body
And teach it to fly to the one
Who gave it and all along enlightened her mind.

For nigh a millennium her soul has flown her body.
For nigh a millennium her heart not that of an entombed one.
For nigh a millennium her spirit inspiring the poetic mind.