Art And Layout By Ann Alvarez
Art And Layout By Ann Alvarez.

The Fool’s Court

Sentence first. Verdict after.

By Belle McDonnell, and Lori Dumaligan | Thursday, 23 September 2021

Alight in the inestimable beauty of damask and stained glass;

atop austere stone and speckle veined halls,

the royal council hearkens piteously unto the plight of the people. 

To rejoice the King's weary spirits, burgundy Bordeaux is poured. 


Soon, they retire for a rest; thus twin jesters leap to quip:

Juggling’s but a merry game ’til loyal hounds snap the leash; what of squires 

treading dreary roads or of fair maidens like Daceriah? Clowns kill lions for less, 

but a King may bail a knight’s blade lodged in a mother’s wrinkled neck?


Beyond impregnable walls, throats bleed dry as the sewers weep crimson. 

Yet rather than trading weighing scales with pitchforks for blinded eyes, 

common folks allot their rations; calling to take what one has a need for.

So long as the King maintains a pantry of bread and circuses, we kneel.


“Who is most desperate of all but a good person serving a worthless King?

Storms wreak havoc at our ports while reports brim of our seas filled with ships.

Instead, he confers fame upon Thausog, our first invader’s killer,

while fisherfolks tiptoe a fine line between rage and hunger.


While the way of a fool is right in their own throne,

the Queen of far isles knows to take counsel: closed borders

at wisdom’s warning and cleared the plague in one command.

We need one more adept as the King drowns our nation in debt.


Is it a flush from the wine, or amassed whispers from the grapevine?

In hindsight, red hues become apparent as jesters fashion them into wreaths:

courtly countenances like living mirrors, much to the chagrin of dungeon duty maids.

Which Fool with a crown atop its head among the three merited a deep curtsy?


This article is also published in The Benildean Volume 7 Issue No. 2: Restored.