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A Blind Fool This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

The king sat on his iron dais,
His hands would steeple, then draw apart.
Frigid walls stared back with a stony gaze,
As he listened to his beating heart.

As twilight darkened and night befell,
The king still sat, a face inert.
Only when Silence was broken by the clock’s twelfth bell,
Did his attention grow alert.

Doors of silver opened slowly,
To admit a wizened, crippled man.
But in those eyes, those silver eyes, so holy,
An unspoken power, a depth so vast, began.

On staggering and uneven feet he came,
But even this could not hide in his eyes,
The honor and dignity of wisdom’s flame,
That burned strong despite the body’s demise.

Not a word the old man spoke.
Neither did he bow his back.
And as gazes met, they did provoke,
An ugly struggle as wills attacked.

The king considered this man of old,
His cold gaze turned inward with deep thought.
The king broke Silence first as he told,
“Tell me, Beggar, what Beauty have you brought?”

To the question, the old man stayed mute.
But then a breeze began to rifle his beard.
And then through the gloom pierced a warmth so acute,
That the chill of the castle all but disappeared.

A shower of glowing embers then descended,
As a brilliant, red sun erupted above.
Without touching the floor in the air they expanded,
Unfolding to become an orchid, a rose, a foxglove.

These splendid flowers then floated down.
Where they touched the stone there was a burst of fire.
Burning velvet petals blew across the ground.
Morphing into blooms of even more beautiful attire.

Golden cannas, paint-speckled with cerise,
Pink cherry blossoms of Far Eastern lands,
White-violet columbines spoke of nature’s caprice,
While Our Lady’s Tears were woven from snowy strands.

And within each downy petal,
There rested a single, watery pearl.
In whose crystalline surface did settle,
Every magnificent image, every wonder of the world.

But the king only frowned,
And all Beauty ceased to exist.
And when he spoke yet again, it was a chilling sound,
“Beguile me, Beggar,” he said. “Put me in Serenity’s midst.”

The old man still uttered not a word,
But merely looked from whence he came.
And as the king followed his gaze, he then heard,
The mewling of a cat, old and lame.

The king looked back and saw,
His castle, illusioned to look like a barn.
Buckets and ladders stood by bales of straw,
In the corner lay tangled a ragged ball of yarn.

The cat waddled his way past,
Stopping under a shard of sunlight.
Here he blinked, and to the ground his body cast,
With a sigh that seemed heavy with contrite.

Within a minute, the old feline lay asleep,
Curled, with his tail lightly brushing his nose.
His slumbering was quiet, his breathing deep,
As he lay still in his afternoon repose.

The smell of warmth pervaded the room.
The sharp music of a cicada began.
It seemed that summer was in its fullest bloom,
And not a single soul was working near at hand.

But the king merely rapped his knuckles against wood,
The illusion broke, straw once again became iron ore.
With a question on his lips, the king stood,
“Show me, Beggar,” he said. “What is human Kindness at its core?”

Still the old man said nothing.
The king once again reclined.
He waited, twisting his jeweled ring,
His black eyes never revealing what was on his mind.

One moment, there was desolate stone,
But then the great chamber shimmered, shifted.
And in its place, there came to be shown,
A wide expanse of water, a river drifted.

But it wasn’t water that flowed between its banks,
It wasn’t water that churned in its depths.
It was Memories that interwove the river’s ranks,
And compromised its ever changing breadth.

Reflections of these Memories glowed in the king’s dark eyes,
They all were human Kindness in its many forms.
And despite that some were hidden under an artful guise,
Each was filled at its core with love to warm.

A boy frolicked with a black and white collie,
A mother tucked her child in for the night,
Old women laughing at their childhood follies,
An infant’s laughter, so contagious in its delight.

No fire, no sun was needed for this heat.
The Memories alone warmed the soul.
But just as it seemed the frost would forever be defeat,
The king grimaced, and all returned to its previous role.

Nothing stirred, and into bones seeped that dreaded cold.
The old man saw the white cloud of his chilled breath.
The king still sat, a sight to behold,
His face the uncaring mask of Death.

A single royal finger lifted, then,
Pointed disdainfully to the door.
His voice: “I don’t wish to see you again,
I’ve heard all these lies before.”

The king sneered. “What is Serenity, or Beauty, or Kindness?
Not one of them holds true.
They are all elements of human blindness,
A disease that manifests in those like you.”


The old man shook his head slowly,
But still held his tongue.
But in those eyes, those silver eyes, so holy,
Regret, anger, and a certain sadness hung.

He gripped his cane more tightly.
Shuffled away from those black eyes, so cruel.
But before shutting the door, he paused, just slightly,
And softly to the king he whispered, “You fool.”

The door shut, but the king still sat on his iron dais.
His hands would steeple, then draw apart.
Frigid walls stared back with a stony gaze,
All was silent, except for his beating heart.





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