Jeux de Pages

by Marly Youmans

Jeux de Pages depicts medieval page boys—their absurdly helmeted leader in spiky armor on a comically caparisoned horse—trying to look warlike. That was how he saw war, Picasso told a group of friends in March 1959: medieval children playing nasty medieval games. —John Richardson

The pages thunder in the armory,
Storming the dust to air, clashing old greaves,
Loosing breast-plate, hounskull, frog-mouth, codpiece,
Spaulder, every ancient piece of armor,
And when the Fool comes asking what is meant,
They crown his head with a vast kettle hat
And shout, Barbarians are at the gate!
Their look is not like us, they worship gods
In stone and moon and say that we are wrong
When they are wrong, as any fool can see—
No harm intended, Fool!
The Fool shrugs off
The kettle hat and lets it clang on slate.

Alone, the Fool arrays his battle gear:
A flower to shake pollen on his foes,
A bowl of agates to entrance their eyes,
A precious wentletrap to lift to ears
That never heard its song of endlessness.


Find out more about Marly Youmans at
SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend