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This poem belongs to the series Fiorenza the Wisewoman. You might remember Fiorenza from "A Knot of Thyme." You can read other poems in this series through my Serial Poetry page. "Fair Maiden Meets Fierce Villain" is an example of a terza rima, presented here for this week's theme of unusual formats. Another terza rima in this series is "Three Brothers and a Bull."

Fair Maiden Meets Fierce Villain
-- a terza rima

When Fiorenza went to Fermo Fair
She climbed the hill to view the countryside
And all the vendors situated there.

The market lanes were dusty, smooth and wide
With booths spread out as far as eye could see
And herbs from distant lands brought on the tide.

She chatted with the captains of the sea
And traded sprigs of rosemary and thyme
For peppercorns and cinnamon and tea.

The clock upon the hill began to chime
And Fiorenza clapped her slim brown hands
To find a Spanish trader in this clime.

She loved the herbs of all the different lands --
See here, a lavender of Spain, remote
And delicate in green and purple strands.

Too pale by half, the Spaniard eyed her throat
And bargained badly as the sun grew hot.
The herbalist looked closer, and took note.

Some maidens might be innocent but not
A young wise-woman traveling afield
Who'd handled worse already than this lot.

So Fiorenza thought what she might wield
Discreetly in the bustle of the fair
And force the fearsome villain yet to yield.

"I have a pizza pie that I can spare,
If I may take that lavender you hold,"
Said Fiorenza, tossing her black hair.

He grabbed for her. The garlic knocked him cold.
The herbalist just laughed, and danced away.
"You're not much of a villain, truth be told!"

Her lavender was safe in potted clay,
Her spices in their basket neatly laid,
As Fiorenza went about her way.

So let that be a lesson to the trade,
Who should not underestimate a maid.


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February 2017


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