By way of “Beauty’s Anadems” by John Barlas
1. A dagger-hilt crusted with flaming gems:
2. A queen's rich girdle clasped with tiger's claws;
3. A lady's glove or a cat's velvet paws;
4. The whisper of a judge when he condemns;
5. Fierce night-shade berries purple on their stems
6. Among the rose's healthsome scarlet haws;
7. A rainbow-sheathed snake with jagged jaws:
8. Such are queen Beauty's sovran anadems.
For she caresses with a poisoned hand,
And venom hangs about her moistened lips,
And plots of murder lurk with her eyes
She loves lewd girls dancing a saraband
The murderer stabbing till all his body drips,
And thee, my gentle lady, and thy soft sighs.
What do any of these things do?
The tiger-claw girdle: a girdle that grants the wearer some or all of a Rakshasa’s abilities and vulnerabilities?
The whisper of a judge: a bottle that, when opened, releases a whispered voice that can curse or banish anyone within earshot (5’)?
The rose’s healthsome scarlet haws: that one’s easy; they’re small red berries that cure wounds.
Queen Beauty’s sovereign anadem: a crown that grants a bonus to Charisma? Or something more sinister, like the last six lines of the poem…
|Gustave Moreau, "Salome Dancing Before Herod," 1876|