At Roxana’s Wedding

Cyrano de Bergerac made a very big impression on me, and has been an influence ever since I first read it.  This poem shows that influence most directly.

I

I seek a sound that’s fragrance lanced,
And word not one is out of place.
But they are said by else’s face —
That part of me has been replaced,
And I may just compose.
Instead the voice is deep and strong —
A worthy one to sing the song.
His shoulders wide and features long,
Except his normal nose.

She seeks a man of poet’s mind,
But also strength she wishes find,
To hear her beauty said in line,
And handsome man to write the rhyme.
Yet I can but compose.
And so I sat in sad remorse
With words to say but lacking force,
For line is wasted when its source
Is ’neath a giant nose.

And so my wit is lent away
To he who all the sports can play,
Whose mind has not a thought to say.
Without a single kiss repay,
There I will but compose.
Yes, he is handsome, fit and trim,
And women will again, again,
They one by one will go to him,
And from this horrid nose.

Perhaps we two together might,
With words to make her heart delight
And body of unquestioned might,
Perhaps we’d be the man she’d like.
And so I did compose.
But one, not two, may there succeed —
The one Roxana looks and sees,
The mouth that speaks the lines she needs,
And not the hidden nose.

II

The two form one is two once more,
The man created now is torn,
But in his death a husband born —
The voice not needed as before.
And I need not compose.
So there they stand before the Priest,
The focus of a wedding feast.
And I in back — the ugly beast
With far too large a nose.

They say the vows, repeating fast
How there forever love will last.
Oh, how I pray this feeling pass
From me then to my voice and mask
For whom this love composed.
Perhaps, in future I will find
That marriage may not always bind.
But what could happen in this time?
For only God this knows.

’Tis foolish, yes, those hopeful thoughts,
As though I even really fought.
He’s not the man Roxana sought.
Those words he said were those I taught
In all that I composed.
Those lines she read and then did hear
Were from my mouth and to his ear,
And then I seemed to disappear,
And with me left this nose.

In hidden shadows, with my tongue,
With words as true as church bells rung,
’Twas there and then romance begun.
And ne’er before had he so sung
As with my lines composed.
Before my eyes they met and kissed,
And in that touch were both in bliss.
But not a word of mine was missed,
And nor my cursèd nose.

III

So I am left with only words,
But never more will they be heard.
This man ’out I seems so absurd,
But where I stopped is growing blurred.
I can no more compose.
The half of man that I once made
Is left there speaking in the shade.
Oh, but the words, they slowly fade,
Left hidden by a nose.

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