Courtly Love For The Battlefield

 

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.

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