Courtly Love for the Battlefield
by Noah Wellington
ATTRACTION TO THE LADY, USUALLY VIA GLANCE
eyes Petrarch-weak from battle, what were you to do when you saw him shining?
like being struck, is this not what the poets poured their blood out in ink over?
as with a spear, you are run through to the core
what an excellent knight, to kill with a glance
WORSHIP OF THE LADY FROM AFAR
you are careful not to stray too close,
you let yourself toe the line of death to see his whirling strength
and bend your eye away when his head turns and his eyes hold yours.
he is no less deadly, from a distance.
DECLARATION OF PASSIONATE DEVOTION
fires burn where your fingers graze the inside of a captivating wrist
sparks flood between glances when they meet, and meet again
his banner is lodged between your ribs
and you are sure he senses it there.
VIRTUOUS REJECTION BY THE LADY
you kiss him, and it feels like the fireside songs
you kiss him, and hear the poets sing
you kiss him, and he bolts without a glance
you kiss him, and you are left alone.
RENEWED WOOING WITH OATHS OF VIRTUE AND ETERNAL FEALTY
you hesitate, just as you are not supposed to in battle
slowly, you circle closer
you catch his eye, and hold it
you do not have the luxury of indifference
MOANS OF APPROACHING DEATH FROM UNSATISFIED DESIRE
(AND OTHER PHYSICAL MANIFESTATIONS OF LOVESICKNESS)
if what they have told you of love is true, you always expected to ache,
but when each part of you floods with fire
and waves crash through your stomach,
you call him killer once more and groan for one touch.
HEROIC DEEDS OF VALOUR WHICH WIN THE LADY’S HEART
with the taste of copper between your teeth
you flee Hell with your world heavy in your arms,
bearing him from the battlefield
as Lot from Sodom, brimstone at your back and fire in your heart.
CONSUMMATION OF THE SECRET LOVE
you are both formed and born of battles
you are ringing swords and dripping blood and clashing shields
reared in war and born to bleed
when you collide and feel peace, the feeling is foreign.
ENDLESS ADVENTURES AND SUBTERFUGES AVOIDING DETECTION
you chase each other over battlefields until they paint you side by side
and adhere to Capellanus as to God; love rarely lasts when revealed.
the home of love is every shadow-dripping corridor and fear of footsteps
you will go to ruin for this and think Troy fell for less.