THE RADIANT ELISABETH
Poem by Eugene Tssui, November 17, 2019
(For Elisabeth Paulette Montgomery’s 65 th birthday)
How shall I begin this anthem, this requiem, to the radiant Elisabeth?
This alluring personage with no beginning and no end.
This flaxen luminary of disarming charm.
In my puerile years I gazed upon her with youthful wonder
The absence of decorum, a nameless mystery to explore
The adventurous and lively brilliance of form and motion
That unceasing motion, a sail, pushed and delivered by the wind,
Who, upon the day’s surcease, when silence envelops the night
Shall call upon the faint memories, the memories of that breeze-laden form.
In the years passing, passing, over the way-worn waves of serendipitous lore
I reflect upon the marvel of that brilliant star
That notable luminary of quiet and explosive glory
That harbinger of passion in anger and love
Luminous eyes of blue crystal fit for daggers and sighs alike
A face beaming, etched and sculpted, as the soft stars of a galactic swirl
A body gleaming, curving; heaving, as the crest of an ocean wave
An embodiment of glowing, unsurpassed, radiance
Of sudden fierce, pugilistic, tempestuous, rage
Born of the truculent dominion of West Virginia
Rage and generosity, a two-headed magical dragon, is she.
This golden maned maiden of beguiling countenance
Who tapped on my heart, rapping, rapping on my soul’s ardor
Entreating entrance to my future’s dreams.
And carrying me with her through the diaphanous fabric
Of destiny’s fateful shores.
Have I told you of, she, the magician, who lays the first stone
Of dreams that follow, follow, from that stone, to enchant the world
She, the ruler of a diverse and courageous kingdom
Set on two continents, ancient and new-born,
Whose presence inflicts an earthy drama
To teach new generations the anticipation of the future.
Have I told you of, she, the conductor, who fashions dreams
That give birth to the upward rush of cloudless climbs
To mock the surly bonds of earth in visions of mirth?
I have followed this sunlit soul into the delirious depths and heights of life
Through the windswept sanctity of water, mountain, and starry space.
Over half a century have I followed this dreamer
Whose wild abandon and thoughtful kindness speak to all generations.
She, whose eternal restlessness, embodies a tenderness and moral fiber
Which cannot be broken or compromised.
She, a hero for all ages and places.
Often have I cast my eyes on this bright and provoking figure
This lofty czarina who never tires of reaching for the unknown
Who covets the friendship of a gentle duck, and the love of a clever turtle
From twelve to sixty-five years I have known this peeress
This noblewoman of the ages.
As young, vexing, girl I met her, with that golden halo,
and decades hither, did we meet again
She, a siren more powerful than Ulysses of Ithaca,
In a constellation of star-crossed lovers spanning the twinkling cosmos
From lover, to mother, to doctor, to school master to thousands
This whirlwind of ineffable vision and charm who defies the ages
And knows too well the infirm pulses of the human heart
How then shall I oblige this phantom of mystery?
This revenant untouched by time and place?
Elisabeth, whose noble name, kings and queens did honor
And hooligans pause to mock.
Such is her indelible force that has touched me over reeling heights
Over the silent uplifting paths of sea and cloud
And now have I trodden, with her, the unsurpassed sanctity of life.