Poetry at the Post: It’s a Coronation!

A Crown of Autumn Leaves

Holding past summer’s hold,
Open and strong,
One of the leaves in the crown is gold…

"Buda Castles-Matthias Church". Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons
“Buda Castles-Matthias Church”. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

A cool front moving through the West Texas desert makes me think of autumn.

Yet, it is summer. And, it was in the summer of 1867 when Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife, Empress Elisabeth, were crowned King and Queen of Hungary at St. Matthias Church in Budapest.

This was quite the event. The Coronation was one of the most spectacular pageants on the Continent and covered extensively in the papers of Paris and London.

The royal carriage covered
with gems and gold & drawn
by eight white horses, 182
aristocrats elegantly dressed,
a grand procession, maidens
in white with flowers..
St Stephen’s Crown
on a velvet cushion,
five days of banquets…

Even a special Coronation Mass was composed by famous Hungarian Franz Liszt. Here is a selection:

Liszt’s “Benedictus, the invocation for divine help and guidance, is rhythmic and trance-like, similar to a chant.

Annie Finch’s poem, “A Crown of Autumn Leaves” is from her book Calendars, a book of poems organized around ritual chants and the seasons.

This poem is so lovely with the repetition of the vowel sounds. The “o” summons the circling of the crown of fallen leaves.

Here is my crown
Of winding vine,
Of leaves that dropped,
That fingers twined,
another crown
to yield and shine

The crown of leaves shines…but like the King and Queen of Hungary, so soon it is nevermore.

Poetry at the Post-Vienna: It’s All in the Red

Red Ghazal

I’ve noticed after a few sips of tea, the tip of her tongue, thin and red/
with heat, quickens when she describes her cuts and bruises—deep violets and red.

Yesterday afternoon I took a visit to the Museum of Art History in Vienna.

The building is palatial and so is the collection. The museum was commissioned in the last quarter of the 19th century by the Emperor, Franz-Joseph I, who ruled for 68 years until his death in 1916.

Tragedy was not a stranger to the imperial family.

Franz-Joseph’s son died in a suicide pact with his mistress; his younger brother Maximilian was executed in Mexico; and his wife Elisabeth Amalia was stabbed to death by an assassin.


Franz-Joseph’s marriage was not the best as his love was not reciprocated by his mysterious and somewhat odd wife. Obsessed with her weight, Empress Elisabeth never allowed it to hover above 110 lbs by subscribing to a strict fasting and exercise regime.

He was so charming—pointed out planets, ghost galaxies, an ellipsis
of ants on the wall. And when he kissed me goodnight, my neck reddened.

Through this ghazal-I absolutely adore this form!—I discovered the poetry/of AIMEE NEZHUKUMATATHI. I find her work quite exciting and look forward to reading more.