The Fool’s Lament by J.S. Watts

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I am somewhat given to melancholy, Lord,

Said the Fool,

And though I would give you the mirth that you crave,

All that I work is coloured by sadness,

Whatever I will.


My mother cried when I was born

And there was no star to dance

By way of salvation

And I was coloured by that,

Whatever I will.


And whatever I will my colour is black:

The colour of warmth, the colour of comfort,

The peace of the night,

The sanctuary of womb,

The safety of death.

White is cold and harsh

And unforgiving:

The colour of charity, the colour of pity,

The colour of love.

And you want a unicorn to dance on a rainbow!


Yet I have tried for such.

I have stared at condensation

On a pane of glass

As it glitters its colours

In the light of a candle.

I have sought revelations

In the black clarity of centre

But my reward has been

My own face staring back

With a scream on its whitened lips.


I would give you laughter if I could,

Said the Fool,

But from birth your brightness laid constraints upon me

And I am coloured by that

Whatever I will.


I thank you for that, said the lord,

For your efforts at joy, whatever you would,

But rainbow and beast still seem to be lacking.

Entertainment I want and entertainment I’ll have,

For Death waits outside at my will.


BIO: J.S.Watts’ poetry, stories and reviews appear in publications in Britain, Canada, Australia and the States including: Ascent Aspirations, Acumen, Absent Willow Review and Silver Blade and have been broadcast on BBC Radio. She is Poetry Editor for Ethereal Tales. Her poetry collection, “Cats and Other Myths”, is published by Lapwing Publications. See