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from the Gilded Tarot deck by Ciro Marchetti

I’ve heard it said, and on occasion
read within the annals of the long
forgotten Swan Court of the Tuonela
that whispers of a dying king, his
words ensourced to secrecy, lend
promise and new rise to any who
would strive to build and hope and
climb anew to higher, better lands.


His susurring on feeble breath still
hovers, lordly, o’er the swampy fens
and lowlands of the Petrograd and
Kalevalan byways, though…


I dare not speak of them myself—as
yet my whisperings are coarse, their
hobnail tread, their tarry dread, the
purity of Tuonela could ne’er abide.


But as I slowly vanish from the
ill-refined, these squawking hungry
gullic realms, I shall reclaim my legacy,
the graceful long-necked whisperings
bequeathed to me by lustrous court,
sweet mythic court that sings in dreams
orchestral of expansion led by Swan
King, lord of Tuonela.

Fantasia, the Legacy-Swan of Tuonela, tone poem by Jean Sibelius

The Empress, © Elaine Stirling, 2012