Rundale Palace, Southern Latvia


The servants in the walls are stoking fires.
They scuttle back and forth laden with logs
and gossip filtered through papered plaster,
unseen, unheard, below-stairs spies
cunningly concealed from prying eyes
by tall ceramic stoves, tiled indoor monoliths.
While bustling scullions race to heat the rooms
the minuet of empires intertwines.


The Throne Room, decked in curlicues,
segues to the Hall, where plasterers,
jeaned Michelangelos, rock to the beat
of ghetto blasters, while the stoves
in the corners stare unfed. But at the back
the garden's a battlefield, the rear facade
is pitted as a rock-star's raddled face.
But the palace, an ageing courtesan,
turns the lines, and the rhythm, to their former
state, and the grand rooms of the palace yet
flirt with the grace of the minuet.

Lyn Moir
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