Lady Nyo’s Torment, from “The Nightingale’s Song”, Part 6
“I stay here waiting for him
In the autumn wind, my sash untied,
Wondering, is he coming now,
Is he coming now?
And the moon is low in the sky.
The only company I have tonight,
Now near dawn, is the paling Milky Way,
And Oh, my husband!
There are not stars enough in the heavens
To equal my sorrowful tears.”
Hana Nyo threw back the quilted robe from her head.
It was just a dream, just a dream.
Then why does my heart pound so?
Two nights before
Lady Nyo and her nurse
Spent the hours til dawn
Watching the flame rise and fall
Through the shoji of Lord Nyo’s room,
Watched the candle
Consume the poems he was writing–
But to whom?
“Ah, he has another woman!”
Her nurse was loyal but leaned
On the privilege of time.
Lady Nyo’s heart took flight.
Fear and shame dueled
In her blood, pushing reason
From her head.
Did he know?
Did he know?
Did he know about the poems?
Did he know of the vanished lover?
For two days it rained.
November rains poured like
Waterfalls off the eaves,
Broke the stems of the chrysanthemums,
Scattered the flower heads,
Blew great gusts of wet wind into her room,
Blanketing an already sorrowful mind
With a seasonal fury.
Lord Nyo had ridden out
The dawn after
The Night of Burning Poems,
Dressed for hunting,
His falcon on his glove,
Not a word of farewell,
Not a baleful glance in her direction.
She watched him mount his horse,
And gallop away.
She watched from the slits between bamboo blinds,
Like a thief or a beggar,
She didn’t know what,
Only felt the sharp sting of shame,
A particular loss of something she probably
Lady Nyo spent the day journal writing,
Her misery reflected in an unpainted face,
Shunning food as a sacrifice:
The pain of her torment
Was not lessened.
“Once I did believe
That no love could still linger
Within my heart
Yet, a love springs from somewhere
And forces itself on me.”
“My eyes have seen you
But I’ve yet to hold you close
You’re like a laurel
That is growing on the moon
And I don’t know what to do.”
Yes, and I don’t know what to do.
Copyrighted, 2011, 2013
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