Daily Draw September 5th, 2008
From the Book of Silk I randomly picked the title page of Chapter 3, India’s Woven Winds, with the Queen of Swords from the Victoria Regina Tarot. This card depicts Queen Victoria at her husband’s funeral; Albert, the Prince Consort died from typhoid fever at the age of 42. She remained in mourning for him the rest of her life.
I feel a poem coming on. I picked 3 word tickets and a paint colour chip to use: Aquamarine, Italian, Sevastopol, Hunting Coat Red. I think my word tickets must have known of the Crimean War–one of those odd occurrences when using cards–synchronicity.
THE WOVEN WINDS OF INDIA
© 2008 Judith A. Johnston
In life, within the Italian house you designed,
We stood by the kolam tracery, safe.
I bathed in the light of Indies aquamarine,
Smelled distant sandalwood and monsoon rain.
You shone through an exhibition, crystalline,
Dispelled the shiver of black sea siege in Sevastopol,
A lamp of knowledge in darkness and ignorance,
Now swathed and smothered in your typhoid casket.
When I kissed your clothes in the chamber of death,
A blue room of dying kings filled with flowers,
I heard the hot rustle of saffron and India blue silk,
From different shrines.
I would have you instead picked clean to bones,
Placed on a mount for carrion of Zoroaster
Overlooking the Ghats and the sacred Ganges,
Near markets of spice, and winds of coriander.
You like a rhizome of turmeric sought the fruitful earth,
A king not a consort, my learned Augustus in tartan,
Forever held in the black border of my writing paper,
Into which words will fade and disappear.
My black crepe and silk reflects your sterbezimmer,
While I weep to wear vermilion paste, a sari dyed in indigo,
Riding the woven winds with you in hunting coat red,
Ever by me, everby.