The Rose of Death

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The watchmen sleep, but time is wakeful
A handful of hours, a stone's throw away
Is always the reach, the mouth of the baleful
Salivates as it waits, come it night or day
It no longer matters when the sword is dull
Hangs it limp in the hand of the king
Whose cup is from his own made full
That blood from the erratic guillotine
"Let them hold still," he almost said
But as the cards fall around him now
Not one of his enemies is actually dead
And they stand 'round, to just allow
The women to mourn, he in ecstasies
A dream before death, a final sign:
His friends forsake, each one of them flees
But his mother, who steps across the line
And sings him a song of death and life
Of honor and truth, of hope and love;
Or is she here instead his wife --
What the oracles had warned him of
She bears him not daughter or son
But he himself; as his people must end
Though he a foreigner, as kings come
Their natural royalty to rightly lend
Or is she another person at all
In dreamclothes worn but by the mind
He must to himself, then make the call
For he is become true androgyne;
He is all these things, for he no longer sees
The Rose of Death! that graces those
The Just who now will die; the glorious frieze
Decorates our people's last repose.

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