Criseyde

by The Cowl Editor


Poetry


by Mariela Flores ’23

painting of criseyde
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This poem gives voice to Criseyde from Chaucer’s work, Troilus and Criseyde.  

 

There is no honor in loving you, Troilus.  

There is only shame that roots itself in between my bones 

until my movements grow stiff and my choices none.  

There is no beneficence in loving you, Troilus. 

There is only greed. You take from the gardens in my soul 

and you leave me with no petals to weigh your worth upon. 

There is no indulgence in loving you, Troilus. 

There is only need––your need fills my lungs.  

I drown in the waters of your misguided affections until I am only breathing you.  

There is no honor in loving you, Troilus. 

  

I am a woman who had earned her sovereignty. 

Loved and lost a lifetime to a man,  

I adorned the black clothing; I closed my mouth shut.  

I pressed delicately into broken ground and sprouted an army of one.  

 

But you came along, and you chose this life for me.  

Ensnared by my long noble strides,  

trapped by the hair between my eyes,  

struck by the arrow of a cruel god––one who never thought of me. 

 

The god of love only sought to punish you. 

You critiqued his work on our earth, you dared to laugh at the love of others 

and now you and I must bear a love that is not ours.  

 

There is no honor in loving you, Troilus.  

But there is no choice in loving you either. 


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