A Preliminary Portrait of Raymond El Longstride
Raymond El Longstride
stood on the kitchen floor, stone hard,
stiff, straight, like a sentry, on guard,
waited for the kettle to boil,
the water to make black coffee,
his tongue and innards to warm and oil.
He wore black ballistic trousers,
high, black boots with silver spurs,
a tall, white plumed silver helmet,
a long coat, rough with black bear hairs.
Satisfied, his life well marshalled, drilled,
his steady betrothed, Brunhilda Battlemaiden,
he thought on, in amorous arts, most skilled.
Her breasts blossomed, enlarged before his eyes,
her passion enough to melt a waste of ice,
out shine the spectacles of northern skies.
Whose side he was on, what war he fought in,
he never considered,
those he knew, too polite to ask,
his white plumed silver helmet,
he wore not for protection,
nor was it a mask.
To him even the boiling of an egg
was a well precisioned, military task.
Everyone he knew thought he was a foreigner,
who came from somewhere else,
certainly not from their land.
Often he was referred to in company
as that foreign chap,
from some obscure dukedom,
no longer on the map.
Of his solitary uniqueness,
Raymond seemed unaware.
Of his background and parentage,
he was not one to share.
Seldom spoke of his sister,
Maeve Minerva Strom,
a sculptress, he informed,
who made stone owls and toads,
and protested that the government
did naught for bicycles on roads.
What singled him out most
was when others heard him speak.
No one could place his accent.
It lay outside philology,
perhaps he was a freak.
The only person like him
was Brunhilda, his betrothed,
who seemed to come from the same land.
Some strands of her hair, raven black,
others, white sand blond.
She would not hear a word, she said,
against her gallant friend, Raymond.
And that was enough to silence them,
with her none would debate,
as they eyed her motor up in her black jeep
from some other where beyond.
At last, the kettle whistled,
the water had now boiled.
Raymond poured just enough to fill his cup,
to make black coffee,
sweetened by four sugar lumps.
The warm liquid he drank, divinely,
knew the pleasure that nothing ever stumps.