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Periaktoi Writing Post

Volume 53
Issue 1

Single Visual Art Post

  • Poetry
Cantebury Tale
Paige Ryan

The Nuclear Medical Technician

Our next tale-teller was of great esteem

or at least to the audience he did seem.

Touted nobility (a learned medic) --

He uses poisons to heal the sick,

but he understands what is sacrifice,

and he has seen greed, virtue, and vice.

He is no stranger to death and unjust

sorrow; he was witness to money-lust

and resents those with eyes only for gold

especially when the good are out-sold.


The Poison Doctor's Tale

There was a boy of a chivalrous heart,

who wanted only a romance to start,

and thus he found a woman, nobly born,

and his courtship shouldn't have brought him scorn.

So, as he approached her to ask a dance,

he doubted not she would spare him a chance.

But she who knew well the tricks of such men

would not so quickly give herself to sin.

Thus she demanded from suitors

a fresh red rose, so they could prove to her

their dedication to such a fair wife

by giving more than a moment of life

to court such a woman -- and knew this he,

who wanted to prove all his chivalry.

So, when she asked him for such a flower,

he resolved to do all in his power.

A nightingale heard of this very exchange,

and her selflessness, to humans, is strange;

she asked every rose bush where she could fly

for what she might do in order to try.

Soon the roses told her of her new fate:

that she should die to bleed rose for the date.

Once again her selflessness foreign to men,

she for man's happiness bled crimson.

But even with his proof, his rose, his token,

the boy's heart was still doomed to be broken

because though the nightingale gave her life,

it was still not enough to make his wife;

she had already fallen -- jewels and gold

took her for more than nightingale's life sold.