Augustus Young       light verse, poetry and prose
a webzine of new and unpublished work

Old Troubadour: Eight Songs
After Guillem de Cabestany (1209)
I’m the songster slave to my lady who’s free 
as a bird to chirp back as she likes. It suits me.
The love-chains that bind us were forged in my fire.
I live for what’s not mine with proxy desire.
But I would His Lordship wasn’t so complaisant.
I was honoured when my cooing had me chastened,
and sent to the mountains to cool off minding sheep.
Now he trusts me too much. And I’m earning my keep
composing courtly love poems on his behalf,
chanting them as my own. I can still hear her laugh,
and His Lordship joins in, ‘Faith, a dashing young blade
couldn’t have made that sing. I’d give it to your maid’.
The Inept Troubadour
I presented her a rose.
And she put it to her nose
and sniffed at it, while tearing
the petals off - not caring
to look at me - one by one,
until the flower had become
a tuft of seed on a stem.
I’m stripped to the bone.
she threw it at me, my grab
fell upon thorns with a stab
that drew blood and her laughter,
‘Now you’ve got the stigmata’.
And before I could bless her
she was off to, I guess, her
Lordship whose back from a ride.
While I lick my wounded pride.  
Ode to A Generous Woman
My lover is dining with her next.
And it is her husband that is vexed
for he has become quite used to me
and wants to keep it in the family.
I’m faithful in my fashion to him
And he regards me as kith and kin,
a poor relation who needs a home.
I’ve made the servant’s attic my own.
‘You keep the home fires burning’, he said.
And sleeps soundly in the master-bed,
dreaming of marital bliss by proxy,
for he’s still in love with the doxy.  
Not least because she’s a free spirit,
who needs two slaves? And we go with it.
Serving her is our life in toto.
Half household goddess, half ex-voto.
But alas she wants to take flight now
on wings not clipped by the marriage vow.
And I’m the chavalier servante
who has been unhorsed. It’s pure Dante.
The circle I share with her husband
is a cold place. But we won’t be unmanned.
Our plan is not to fall on our knees
before her, but to tempt the new squeeze
with residential rights, his own plate,
a pension when past his sell-by date,
Still will a string quartet be enough
to satisfy her demand for love?
Or a brass-band or a male voice choir?
There is no limit to the desire 
of our capricious Maestra.
We’ll have to house a full orchestra.
Gender bender
Most men’s egos are fragile.
Women have to use their guile
not to break them with a smile.
Female egos must be as tough
as old boots. Marrying love,
what they get is men’s stuff.
That said, there’s an overlap
between genders so the gap
claimed above could be claptrap. 
Me, I’ve a petite nature,
the French for being unsure
of whether you are secure
enough to stand on the ground
that’s moving under you. La ronde
can be the other way around. 
Women are not all the same,
nor men, despite what they claim
when apportioning blame
in lost love’s trough of despond.
Troubadour Poisoned by Cupid’s dart
What’s l’amour, a passing passion,
wearing badly as last year’s fashion.
All’s left is what children pass on.
And, if they’re none, what memories gas on.
It’s said, hate’s faithful to the end.
Also remaining a good friend.
Complicity’s bows are made to bend
not break. Arrows in the air suspend.
Their friendly fire misses the heart
to make it grow fonder. That’s a start. 
A coup de foudre with Cupid’s dart
is dogged by thunder’s belated alert.
The golden point that pricks desire
by alchemy, loses its fire.
The melt-down reversal is dire:
it turns to lead and, alas, ire. 
So all that glitters loses shine.
While made-matches improve with time,
and can console when you’re dying,
love’s more likely to end in crime. 
Old Troubadour’s Return
Send back designer-clothes,
the latest best-seller,
or sports stars-sponsored shoes.
Most gifts get up my nose.
Aftershave! I yell, your
saying my beard stinks. Choose
weapons! Nobody knows
what will please a fellow
human being, I suppose.
Give me what you tell me
is not a gift, but what goes
without saying, a rose
for my buttonhole does
nicely. A gift from my muse.
Old Troubadour’s Muse
‘The fencing is overgrown
with bougainvillea and vines
And they block out the sun’.
So goes my off-putting groan.
My patient muse leaps up, climbs
to clip the tops. A job done.
Now I grouse ‘the sun me blinds.’
My inspiration will have none.
‘Get on with your bloody poem’.
And so, I close my eyes. Rhymes
leap to mind and smoothly run,
top and tail the verses home.