The Jester's Mask

A Ekphrastic poem is one that is specifically inspired by another piece of art - whether painted, sung, blown in glass or carved from chocolate, one artist's work directly gets expressed in another. Of course, everyone always mentions Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn" at this point in the discussion, and that's cool, it is a very well-written poem.
I have always loved this painting. The hard life of a court jester.

Inspired by a painting by Stanczyk.

Silk and brocade wrap a bursting heart.
The language of truth both a weapon
and a curse. The one soul at court
allowed to speak his mind,
he lives on the knife edge of
regard and the head-man’s axe.

Immune to courtly games or manner
his voice cut through threads of feint,
a plunging eagle through cobwebs.
Yet malice shines in every eye
and honeyed poison is on every tongue,
each step more treacherous than the last.

Wisdom and folly walk hand in hand
through the gardens of policy.
More genius is to be found
in a cracked vessel, rather than whole,
so capering and glib fa├žade
are the masks of foresight and honesty.

#1 for NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month)

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