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And so begins the leafless season
limbs laid bare
like the countess of St. Petersburg
whose feathered masks
and cleaving skills distracted
from her business of
transferring gold and rubies till
no hint of former grandeur
in her prey remained
and yet
is she the less extravagant
with boughs outstretched
no ruffling sleeves?

For all her past, no breeze
or gale is now capable
of shaking what’s deep-rooted
or denuding her of royalty serene

The carpet at her feet contains
all she will need to spring again

The leafless season, though
to human minds prolonged
is but the gentle closing
of the treasure house
for all within
to rest their feet
and count
the diadems and rings.


© Elaine Stirling, 2015