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By. LindaAnn LoSchiavo

I
Cut cruel instead of just, a mate who opposed
Those lives he should protect (as Leofric,
The Earl of Mercia and Chester) — — knows
His noble bride, her restless candlestick
Outlining fat upholstering his form.
He squeezes hearts as if to be re-born
By disconnecting his humanity.
— — “They must have bread, not taxes! He’ll agree!”
She vows and prays her fortitude won’t sway,
This teen whose innocence met misery,
One more pale boundary finely washed away.

 

II
Unfairness gripping her, the Lady chose
To pass the night rehearsing rhetoric
To rouse his sympathy, or shame impose.
So short a life of honor makes her sick.
All hunched in blankets, hairy his old form,
Who frightens servants with his facial storms,
A predator aroused by agony — —
Tenacious that grip, no apologies,
Assimilator of mice,.loving prey.
Godiva rides out dawn in Coventry,
One more pale boundary finely washed away.

III
June’s globe of light garbs better than her clothes,
Wild beauty flying all flags, hair so thick
It can’t unmake men’s awe. It helps expose
Her fully to bald lusts of Leofric.
— — “Come, do your duty, wife!” Called to perform,
Godiva spots her chance for tax reform.
— — “Our people will starve from such penalties!
Milord, hear me!” He yanks her from her knees.
— — “On one condition — — this then you shall weigh….”
About to hear, she’s full of Coventry,
One more pale boundary finely washed away.

IV
Godiva‘s cheeks went pale, then color rose.
In bargaining, no longer would she lick
His ironclad complicity, exposed
To his blood’s “loyalties.” — — “Milady’s quick
To criticize. Ride out some morning shorn
Of jewels, embroidered gown, yourself adorned
Like naked truth, full nude — — then I’ll agree.”
Nobility of cause scales modesty.
Instead of blushing, she consents, names a day.
Her presence looms like one unbought, fresh tree,
One more pale boundary finely washed away.

V
Her husband snores, phlegm mustaching his nose.
Unloosening her braids, Godiva flicks
Her brush through tumbling tresses — — this day’s “clothes” — —
Dark, waterfalling, lifelong waves that pick
Their way ’round youthful curves of purest form.
July the tenth rubs off on muscles warmed,
Her braincells like a sugar orchard’s bees
Discovering new food: capacity
For good on empty-handed land where they
Will build the monasteries she foresees,
One more pale boundary finely washed away.

ENVOY
Unmounted, she romanced God’s employees,
Her key to fame (not just a mane). First, clothes-free,
This lady, Southam-bound, rode by surveyed
By grateful country folks of Coventry,
One more pale boundary finely washed away.
.
.
.
*** On July 10, 1040, Lady Godiva made her famous ride through Coventry, England.
Around Southam, an annual pageant still marks this occasion
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Native New Yorker LindaAnn LoSchiavo, a dramatist and poet, is currently completing her second documentary film.

Dead Recipe is a band from Austin, Texas.