Raimon de Roussillon
This trobador, this Guillem de Cabestany,
so loved his domna as to include in his vers
more detail than convention required. One could
without excessive cerebration guess
who the woman was, as Raimon, her husband, did.
The sweet love song in his ears was bitter, harsh,
in other words a trobar brau, to which
he wanted to respond in a brutal way
beyond mere versification. He killed
the presumptuous and also indiscreet
Guillem. But that was not yet a work of art.
He cut out the fucker's heart, brought it back to the castel,
and directed his cook to do whatever it took
to make it at least palatable or, better,
tasty. (The consequences of failure were dire.)
So a couple of onions, just under a pound of carrots,
and oranges, one squeezed for the juice and the other
cut into small sections. With butter and onions
in eight wedges, he browned in a cocotte
(which is, in one sense, a prostitute, but also
a small baking dish respectable women use)
the heart he'd been given. Then the carrots, white wine,
salt, pepper, the orange juice and the sections,
he cooked for a couple of hours over low heat,
and sprinkled them with chopped cilantro --- voilà
prête à servir.

                    It was Seremonda's dinner:
she ate it with pleasure, even gusto, and asked
what it was. He told her: Guillem's heart
that he had declared in his well-known poem was hers.
She killed herself that night --- not unexpected,
a part of the plan, in fact.
                                                   Poetic justice?
Doesn't require words, is better without them.
--- From Civil Wars
David R. Slavitt
©2013 Louisiana University Press
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