‘…a cruelty of a thousand diamonds…’

‘The garments of king’s daughter are of wrought gold.

First, armour heavy, her cloak of yellow plaques;

Each have diff’rent  gravure; chelydri, chimaerae,

Sphinxes joined in battle, lycanthropes in love;

The eyes are jewels, red or green, scales of nacre,

Claws platinum inlaid. It is fringed with sapphires.

Within her dress is one piece crushing her breasts to

Mountains marble with wand’ring veins like blue ore.

It is harsh with a cruelty of a thousand

Diamonds sewn in cusps and volutes and arabesques

Harsher the intimate garments against her skin

Woven in fine gold wire. ( Her skin is like orchid.)

More penitential than the horse-hair shirt. As she

Moves  each point of gold chafes or pierces her white flesh…’

from  ‘The King’s daughter’ by Sherard Vines


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