Monday, September 20, 2010


If John the Baptist might smile once again
Sire I would dance better than seraphim
Tell me mother what makes you grieve
Attired as a countess at the Dauphin’s side

My heart throbbed it throbbed at his words
As I danced through the fennel listening
And embroidered lilies across a pennant
To flutter at last from the tip of his staff

Tell me for whom I’ll embroider them now
His staff blooms anew on the banks of Jordan
King Herod when your soldiers led him away
All the lilies shriveled in my garden

Come with me everyone under the quincunx
            Don’t cry delightful jester
Take this head as your cap and bells and dance
Don’t touch his brow mother it has grown cold

Sire lead the procession let the guard follow
We’ll dig a hole and bury it
We’ll plant flowers and dance in a ring
Till the hour I lose my garter
                The king his snuffbox
                The princess her rosary
                The priest his breviary

translation © Jack Hayes 2010

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