RDW's poems

8- The Prince

Lift up your visor: tell about the Prince
He has to fall in love – it’s in the script;
which is OK if they can leave the woods
but not so great if he gets tangled too

The legend doesn’t say much about those
who don’t succeed.  We know they don’t come back
They hang from briars, bleed dry, desiccate
No mention of a smell, or carrion crows

disposing of the flesh, tidying up
No mention either of how fast they die
or if they die at all.  Enchanted woods
immobilising time – they could hang there

for years – dead and alive – they could keep watch
as other Princes enter, try their luck;
as other Princes fail – and get:  hung up.
Briar Rose surrounded by her dream –

a dozen well-hung Princes – maybe more!
Why stop with twelve?  Why not hang up a score?
A gross?  A gross of corpsy swains who dance
attendance on eternal Briar Rose

A girl needs company.  You can’t expect
someone so beautiful to sleep alone.

I wonder if they vote, these swains, these corpses,
a jury voting after it’s been hung
“Shall this Prince have his way with Briar Rose,
or come with us?”  I swing with her, or them

Why take the risk?  What is it about her
that make the Princes want to risk their lives?
What has she got?  Her personality?
Hardly that if she is sound asleep

Unless they like a girl who’s not all talk –
not any talk.  And doesn’t run around.
You have to think these Princes haven’t much
upstairs.  If ever a relationship

deserved the label superficial
its these guys and their Princess Comatose,
their pinky, panting pulchritudinous corpse.
What do they see – what do I see – in her?


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