They say he was beautiful, like the rain in spring.
And his hands had long fingers.
His movement was the gentleness of clouds
and he was our King.

He dwelt among us, or so they sing
and have always sung, for as long as we remember.
Although he was not proud of us,
we were proud of him.
His beauty was not like ours:
perhaps we are not beautiful?
They say he was cool, and ruthless,
with a power like the sea.
It is hard to love someone who gives
no love in return –
and yet he made love easy.
His tower was high, and the sky
came to feed from it, like doves to a dovecote.
And we crowded to him, and clung to him,
and round him cling –
or round his memory:
because he was our King.

They say he was a strange one,
but in his strangeness lay his charm.
He haunts our dreams,
even if we don’t dream them.
Among our words he moves slowly
like silver dripping through an ore.
He was easy to love, or so they say.
And he was easy to betray.

We tore him down and all his kind –
the lovely ones, those close to him.
Killing is easy, or so they say: begin
with what is near to you, with what lies
within your reach.
Kill what you touch, and what you see –
that part is easy.
But don’t expect to sleep again,
or if you sleep, then not to dream.
In dreams he comes, as in dreams he lived –
that part, you see, cannot be killed.
And if you wear a silver ring, prepare
to be haunted.

Even in these words he comes,
oozing like metal through an ore.
You cannot kill what never lived
and never dies.
And even in these words we sing
he moves, and breathes, and is haunting.
They say he was beautiful as the rain in spring.
And he is our King.


Excerpt from Mask [ii], Volume 10 of Dustless

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