"Madame Mayor, it's now your turn
A tale," the bartender said. "You must know well
ways of politics and power.
There's plenty there to while away an
Though I would rather that you take less time
enough the gambling's end will chime."
"I'll speak of love and
marriage," the mayor said,
"But from a woman's point of view. You've
Us to believe that women are to blame
For putting out too soon
love's lambent flame.
But men are far more faithless, there's no
As in this next sad tale you'll find out!"
Candace was still virgin at
Innocent by choice, and not too keen
On being just a notch
on some boy's pride,
Not loved sufficiently to be a
Although she burned with natural desire,
She knew how to
mitigate that fire
By letting it burn awhile, for time would
How much a suitor loved her, and how well.
She had learned
this lesson from a bird,
And lest you think this statement sounds
Recall with what good sense a parrot speaks,
make tools of wires with their beaks.
Aesop's crow put stones into
To bring the level of the water up
To where he could put down
his beak and drink.
Now who says that an animal can't think?
recently was proven, when a crow
Did this in a lab, as all well
Birds marry, cheat, divorce, and mourn their dead
we do, as is often said,
And feel the pangs of passion and
The joys of parenthood, the inner fire
That welds two into
one, so that we see
Never one, but two, where e'er they be.
they can speak, albeit in songs and cries,
Which translate into truths
and also lies --
Yes, birds lie as we do, for the same
utility and shame.
But enough of this -- all know it all too
Back to Candace -- I have a tale to tell!
One day as she
was walking through a park,
A place one wouldn't frequent after
With thickets that could hide all sorts of crimes,
deep moans, so pitiful at times
That she was moved to search for who
Crying out in pain so piteously.
She searched in places
dangerous to go,
Driven by anxiety to know
Whether she might
alleviate the pain
That would such grievous wailing sustain.
a little while she found a hawk
In such distress that she could barely
A female falcon bleeding from her breast,
Perched on a branch
far from any nest.
As she cried she plucked hard at her heart
though she meant to tear her breast apart.
"Dear falcon,? Candace
said. "Please, what might be
The sorrow that you suffer in that
Pray come down and perch upon my shoulder,
And tell me of your
pain. Though you are older,
Perhaps you will find comfort just in
Your story with a listener who is caring."
the good of counting down this sorrow?"
The bird replied. "I won't be
With any luck. My heart cannot long bear
But my tale I would share
In hope that you might well avoid my
If for saving you it's not too late.
"You look so kind and
innocent, I must
Warn you of what men you shouldn't trust.
only someone had warned me!
But to the tale, as you shall shortly
"I was young once, and innocent as you,
All hot with
desire, but very mindful, too,
Of all the snares that men put in our
To have their fun, then leave before we lay
Our eggs. But we
can't hatch them on our own,
For we must eat, and they will die
"It takes two to raise our little chicks,
And long, hard
work, so schemers use their tricks
To make us think they love us, all
Lying through their beaks! Oh, how they smile
us! To make us think we were
The very pitch of grace! Such words would
A stone to longing! And they seem so true,
Coming from a male
point of view,
A mirror in which we ourselves can see
we always dreamed we'd be!
"I must admit, I lusted after
Who courted me with poetry, not prose,
Who trembled with
desire for my love
And played so well the music that would move
heart, while I danced tipsy to their tune,
Drowning in the liquor of
"Of course in time I fell in love with one
seemed so handsome, strong, and full of fun,
So much in love with me,
so quick and sure,
He seemed he could be nothing less than
"I gave myself to him, and thought no boy
bring me to such perfect joy.
And so we were a pair, I thought for
And went to build our nest as man and wife.
"But just as
he was so in love with me,
My lover was enamored serially,
truly passionate about
Each present love in turn, wholly without
need for artifice, though well he knew
He would move on as soon as he
"We had not hatched our first ill-fated brood
he turned nasty, in an ugly mood,
Irritable with having to
Our chicks with food, asking himself why
He'd gotten so
entangled in my snare,
As though I were the one who put him
Oh, God! It was so painful just to hear him
That soon I
couldn't suffer being near him!
"But we took turns at guarding well
While the other hunted without rest.
It's hard, hard work
to raise a hungry brood,
To supply ourselves and them with
While those romantic males, good for love,
Poor husbands and
providers often prove,
For all they would pursue is their own
And their own happiness is all they treasure,
the ecstasy is done,
Then looking, looking for another one.
my far-roving husband did, and when
He found another willing, virgin
He disappeared, leaving me alone
With eight young chicks to
manage on my own!
"Ah, my dear one! Listen to my tale,
to recognize those who will fail
To do what's right once love becomes for life,
And what was once a wench becomes a wife.
who will excite the hottest lust
Are those who vanish quickly when they
Do their share of drudgery, while they
Who might not women's
hearts so quickly sway,
Are likely to make husbands good and
Their bonds of glory ever to renew!
"But you cannot
imagine my despair
Since you are not a bird. Just see me
Waiting by my nest for his return,
Waiting, waiting, waiting,
just to learn
From a passing friend what he had done,
somewhere with another one!
"What was I to do? My chicks cried
With hunger! And as for now I was without
A mate to watch the nest
as I found food,
I had to leave my chicks for their own
Circling back and forth so I could see
Whether they were safe.
I spied a tasty squirrel on the ground
And dove for
him. I could not look around,
But took him in my talons in the
And turned to see my chicks no longer there!
screamed. "Oh, no! Please no!" and dropped
The squirrel to the ground.
Time just stopped,
As though the clock were shattered at that
And so would read forever. I flew to scour
The area around my
nest and found
Some tell-tale feathers scattered on the
Evidence of massacre, but none
Of my poor babes survived --
not even one!
"Then how the hatred filled me like a fire,
flew out to find that wretched liar
Who talked of love undying for his
While all he cared about was joy and leisure!
flew until I found him near
Another female hawk, his latest
The two about to breed another brood
For him to abandon! I
could not help intrude!
"'Stop!' I cried, 'or it will be too
To save your chicks from my poor chicks' sad fate!
abandoned me, as I am sure
He's done to many an innocent and
Virgin, who believes his loving lies,
And gives herself to
still his plaintive cries.
"'He loves himself alone, and females
But mirrors to his solitary star,
Proof of prowess, proof that
Something he's not sure of without lists
since his soul is so alone.
Save yourself! His heart is made of
"Off the female flew, and so he turned,
Oblivious to the
hatred he had earned.
'Sorry!' he said. 'I see your jealousy
turned your vicious temper against me.
What have I done? Would you have
With you when love is gone? Why, I pray?
You want me to
pretend my love for you,
To murmur lovely words that aren't
"'I pledge myself to an authentic life,
A value even
higher than a wife,
And would for both our sakes' be honest, so
we see will be what we will know.
You should be grateful for my
So you might also live authentically.'
"'Our chicks are
dead!' I cried. 'So much for your
Excuses! Now between us there is
And so we fought until I broke his neck,
And he fell bleeding
from the skies, a wreck
That did not touch my sorrow, not at
For I felt nothing as I saw him fall.
My grief so swallowed up
That vengeance held no bit of joy for me."
flew back upon her branch and cried
As though all torn to pieces deep
"Please go!" she said to Candace. "Leave me now!
But if you
care for me, remember how
I suffered, and avoid my tragic
"And to your fellow females please relate
This tale of
perfidy and fatal woe,
That they might in time this harsh truth
That men whom women lust for love them not.
So do not listen
to romantic rot
But look for men who mean the things they say,
who, though they seem dull, at least will stay.
Now go, and do not seek
me out tomorrow!
Only death will mitigate my sorrow."
blew the bird a kiss and turned
To leave, taking to heart what she had
Remaining virgin till she was mature
Enough to judge the
lure within allure,
And when she married virgin, married well.
is all. I have no more to