In the Coarse Morn

Brown lies the landscape,
once green through the year.
In the mean market stalls
the fruit is hard and dry.
Dust must be wiped from
the scales and weights
several times each day.

On the perfect rectangles
of the palace concourse
the pages are dancing
like clockwork toys,
wound so tight their
faces are masks.

In the empty pavilions
of the King’s fairground,
the pennants fly ragged
and without repair.
The sagging canvas
of weathered tents
billows and snaps
in the random breeze.

Displaced legions fill
the public squares
by night, recounting
tales of public shame
and private tortures.

Harsh eyes and ready
tongues gather to
raise a furious toast
to the tenses of change.

In the pooling shadow rage
of the King’s attendants,
the would-be assassin
holds his silver blade
until the moment is ripe.
For chance will reign
in this monarch’s demise.

Some say the snows will
fall early this year,
cruel as the glacial seas
from which they arise.
Other cast a spring that
hails hard gales of rain,

Snow or rains aplenty,
the long chill will
pale in the warmth
of the coarse morn
and vanish in the
heat of day.

The tyrants of the
past will be burnt
and reviled.

Bruce Boston's poetry has received the Bram Stoker Award, the Asimov's Readers Award, and the Rhysling and Grand Master Awards of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. His fiction had received a Pushcart Prize and twice been a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award (novel, short story). You can reach Bruce at Read other articles by Bruce.