Caprice for the King
King Rudolph chortled at my painted jest–
his radish rabbit teeth, his pea-green pods
for eyelids, his vegetation-muscled chest.
I dubbed him Vertummus, the Roman god
of metamorphoses and growing things.
Curiosities and alchemy
drew Rudolph more than statecraft, and the king
collected things with odd vitality.
Turning up in turnip, artichoke,
cabbage, apples, leeks, and spikes of grain,
he sees he is grotesque–in part a joke,
but too, a novel god. The king’s domain
in Europe has grown to growing crops? I know
that painters profit when regal egos grow.
Barbara Lydecker Crane
Barbara Lydecker Crane, a finalist for the 2017 and the 2019 Rattle Poetry Prize, has won awards from the Maria Faust Sonnet Contest, the Helen Schaible Sonnet Contest, and others. She has published three chapbooks: Zero Gravitas (White Violet Press, 2012), Alphabetricks (Daffydowndilly Press, 2013), and BackWords Logic (Local Gems Press, 2017). Her poems have appeared in Ekphrastic Review, First Things, Light, Lighten-Up-Online, Measure, Rattle, Think, Writer’s Almanac, and several anthologies. She is also an artist.
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