The wronged spirit brought the child
a basket of riches:
two parents, justice and mercy;
a beauty both stunning and organic;
fame beyond the wide walls of the castle;
and intelligence, lying like an asp
at the bottom of the basket.
With this last gift she could discern
the flaw in nature
and all of nature’s fruits.

Thus she came to her
majority already skilled,
having pressed bright flowers
to a film, having memorized

the verses of the day.
For months, she did nor eat,
she did not traffic with the agencies
of change: she had cast her will entirely

against decay. Even when
the wild tangle emerged
from the careful lawns, and ebony birds
came down from the woods
to roost in the chiseled turrets
and foul the court, she would not stir
nor in any way disturb
the triumph that would greet the shallow prince:
a soul unencumbered
in a neutral body.

—Ellen Bryant Voigt