The lead shadows cleared again,
and something that was not a bird
moved slowly through the restless tones:
a long white line that rolled around the tree-forms on the plate,
and rose and broke the surface.
The waves straightened themselves out in the water and kept still.
The King sighed. He spoke of veritas –,
and wooed the stone falsely,
and exhumed his vulgar money from the earth.
‘Are we then to suppose
that silver is dead, the crow is a warning;
the white one means death?’
Four days later,
the flowers on the patterned paper walls
(of Madam’s room) changed colour;
violet in the night where there had been a rotting moon.

Laurence Figgis