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Masquerade

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On the edge of civilization
A babe is born with complications.
Her darling face peeks out from a shawl,
The mother, first setting eyes on her daughter,
Examines the flawed features, and suddenly bawls.
“She is ruined, forever,” she desperately cries,
“Who brought about my poor child's demise?”
Her lips are warped, never to be kissed
Upon viewing her permanent grimace,
All lovers will desist.

Though many of life's joys were missed,
In time, the baby became a young lady.

A secluded, corner market stall,
Nestled snug against the wall,
Is run by a maiden, a thrall to her culture.
A veil enshrouds her cheeks, a gossamer guise,
Revealing only her glistening eyes.

Intricate needlework, baubles and bits,
All laid out on her table as she continues to knit.
She bargains and haggles, selling her wares, but not her heart.
Dusk is nearing. The mademoiselle begins to depart,
When she notices a man approaching her stand.

He looks as if he's street-bound,
A beggar, unquestionably.
Yet she sees past his tattered rags,
He has a proud and princely air,
While planning to ensnare
This princess he has found.

The strange fellow frequents this bazaar,
Trekking to the farthest recess of the square,
Just to spy on his damsel fair.

Once he stumbles upon her at the close of day.
Not expecting customers, she is turned away,
Combing her dark hair into a cascade,
While lying at her side is the usual façade.
She starts at the sound of footsteps,
And hastens to replace the cloth across her face.
Innocently, she wonders who lurks and cowers
In the shadows at such a late hour.

Crouching in the shadows is a noble tramp,
Taking a chance, stealing a glance.
Though her dress is modest,
He sees her as a goddess.
<i>The white drapery descending
From her ethereal form,
Is like the robe of an angel,
And her eyes, celestial orbs.
I know not who she is, or of her past,
But she will be mine, at long last.</i>

As the figure once more comes into her sight,
Stepping from the darkness into the light.
She heeds a dreamy voice, straight out of a reverie,
Asking “Will you meet me at the river tonight?”
She is shaken at his audacity,
But with a subtle nod, agrees.

The muezzin stands in the mosque's minaret,
Calling to evening prayer,
While hanging in the sky, a lunette,
Effulgent through the haze.
The girl stands in the soft moonlight,
At the twinkling stars agaze,
Waiting.

Sitting by the water's edge, the happy duo reminisce
In their own little world, a cloud of bliss.

“Show me your gorgeous smile,” said he
“I'm certain it's more stunning than any.”
In a moment, his belle's face turned pale
“I'm afraid I cannot,” she sadly conveyed.
“Surely you may, don't be so shy,”
And with that, his hand gently grasped her veil
And pulled it awry.
“How dare you!” she screamed,
Her voice piercing the night,
As she saw in his eyes, a look of fright.

She ran from the bank and into the trees,
Dropping to her knees, she fixed the shroud,
Her semblance concealed once more.

He chased after her silhouette,
An obsidian figure hindering the moon's feeble glow.
Through tangled vines and thorns he sought her,
Hoping and praying that when he caught her,
Affections between them were not eternally lost.

Deep in the woodland, a lass sits in sorrow.
Her colorless face radiates sadness,
She clutches her knees to her chest in the chill,
And her ashen cheeks are stained with woe.
<i>My tears for him do not wane,
I wept all night without refrain.
My one and only desire,
Is for him to forgive my contorted scowl,
My countenance so dire.</i>

The blanket that cloaks the heavens begins to lift,
A pinkish blush is in the clouds,
As a knight nears his coveted treasure
With gushing zest and ardor.

Huddled in a mystical grove,
He's found his perfect treasure trove.
She will not meet his searching eyes,
In shame she looks aside,
And tries to hide her stifled cries.

“I have set eyes on this frown
Etched upon your face,
But I adore you, regardless,
And this you must know.”
Then he pulled her close,
In a tender embrace.




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