It is mid-morning
and already they flock like gilded moths

Mind and heart alike
try to find the reasons why
I have stayed this long
and will be here still
as you wake every morning
yours

Dignitaries to the court of their beloved ruler line up
to present themselves for my consideration
asking for blessings and bestowing their fealty
filled with theories on neighbouring nations
and conjectures on their court companions

Only half listening to their baubled words
I am distracted with the way the roomwide flutter
of whispers and gauze remind me so strongly
sounding like the soft constant babble of the brook
we lay alongside when last we could both get away
and we met in the wet grass

My hem was already ruined
from dismounting and walking amongst the trees
so no matter if the rest of my dress
encountered the dew of an almost summer morning
The birds sung nearly as loud as my heart
when you took my hand within yours

The ground was cool beneath our salted skin.

"Mayhap, my Lady, this is but the more sufferable
of the two distressing courses that lay open:
to be completely without,
or to endure uncountably-
but still possess"
says the wise wife of a longtime loyal vassal
startling me out of my distant thoughts
with an answer to a question I had not spoken

I do not let the change show
They must know only of my virtues
and nothing of how weary I feel
without you here

Naturally I have been told her story before
but this is my first remembrance of meeting her
Sold from her green home in the pastured lowlands
where the meadows bloom fragrant in the long summers
at fifteen taken to a cold castle of rocky crags in the North
now seven years indentured to an even colder husband
more than twice her age and with half her understanding

How does she know so clearly
of the battle I carry in my chest
where no retreat or relief lasts
because the war is within my own skin

Her husband beams at her words
and I notice the proud, soft way he places
his arm about her waist
It is said that spring always rises
most unexpectedly after the long winters
in that region of the realm

So many others pass before me
all colours and shades of counsel
but I have already whispered to a hovering page
that at my hunting party's return from hawking
late afternoon tea be made ready in my quarters
with the Lady from the North.
Regardless of the differences in our lives
our hearts and thoughts speak a similar song

You said I smelled of wild honeysuckle and I laughed.

It has been days too long
since I felt the warmth of your love
the heart penetrating presence of your smile
Why do you stay so far from home sometimes
I know you are riding like a stray along the borders
trying to delay your building anxiety at knowing
how much you need to see me again
at knowing you can protect me from everything
except yourself

I carry all of this
burden on my body
sacrifice lain at your feet
When will I rise, my Lord
to look into your eyes
to stand not in our shadows
but at your side

Perhaps they will stay at court for the summer
Her eyes are a lovely shade of dark turqoise
It will aid greatly in my endurance
to have a companion in which to confide
I already find myself thinking of her like a mirror
a reflection in which to sound my sorrows
and resound my joys

And her eyes will know
why I let you still seek my bed
but refuse my hand
why I put myself and a kingdom to risk
to go to your arms
why I would rather live like this
than not live at all