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Raimon De Roussillon By David R. Slavitt



This trobador, this Guillem de Cabestany

so loved his domna as to include in his vers

more detail than convention required.  One could

without excessive cerebration guess

who the woman was, as Raimon, her husband, did. 

The sweet love song in his ears was bitter, harsh,

in other words, a trobar brau, to which

he wanted to respond in a brutal way

beyond mere versification.  Never mind

the pen; the sword has its uses too.  He killed

the presumptuous and also indiscreet

Guillem.  But that was not yet a work of art.

He cut out the fucker’s heart, brought it back to the castel

and directed his cook to do whatever it took

to make it at least palatable or, better,

tasty. (The consequences of failure were dire.)  

So a couple of onions, just under a pound of carrots,

and oranges, one squeezed for the juice and the other

cut into small sections. With butter and onions

in eight wedges, he browned in a cocotte

(which is, in one sense, a prostitute, but also

a small baking dish that respectable women use)

the heart he’d been given. Then the carrots, white wine,

salt, pepper, the orange juice and the sections,

he cooked for a couple of hours over low heat,

and sprinkled them with chopped cilantro--voilà,

prête à servir.


                            It was Seremonda’s dinner:

she ate it with pleasure, even gusto, and asked

what it was.  He told her: Guillem’s heart

that he had declared in his well-known poem was hers.

She killed herself that night--not unexpected,

a part of the plan, in fact. 


                                                       Poetic justice?

Doesn’t require words, is better without them.