Lady Israel

Beautiful past eloquence and ornament.

Lady Israel

Lady Israel is my inamorata, my paramour,

my Beatrice and my Roxanne,

she to whom I dedicate my poems of obeisance,

at the foot of whose pedestal I kneel in despair,

whom I belabour with fruitless petitions,

in whose courtyard I wander aimlessly

seeking admittance to her dwelling,

under whose balcony I strum in ridiculous devotion,

whose mailbox bulges with my unread billets-doux,

whose doorstep is strewn with my unwatered roses,

who is wayward and fickle and haughty and inaccessible,

who scorns the tribute of affectionate counsel

and turns her back on the supplicant

with a shrug of disdain so complete

we can measure the infinite by it,

she is the Lady

who gives herself always to the wrong suitors

and submits to the flattery of those who would defile her,

who sleeps with ghosts,

who dreams of Messiah and lusts after idols,

who is the crown of the world and the thorn in its side,

who is bruised with knowledge and healed by suffering,

who is beautiful past eloquence and ornament,

who is dusky as almonds and delicate as apricots

and yet insensible as a stone underfoot

and smug as a pomegranate,

O I am in love with Lady Israel

who is the bane of my existence and my hopeless adoration,

who is my donna angelicata,

who sends me to live in partibus infidelium,

who drives me to speak the language of the apostate,

who treats my gifts with suspicion and contempt,

who is cool with indifference,

who is hot with multiple fevers,

who is seduced by demons,

who is kind to the snake,

who tramples on her own,

who has bitten the poisoned apple

and slumbered in a fairy tale,

who awakens to unexpected nightmare,

who rejects the Prince who would wed her to happiness,

who is brave and deluded,

who is desirable beyond the Song of Songs,

who is she without whom.