Tsars Ivan, the son of the grey wolf
Viktor Vasnetsov 1889
Beware of the Wolf
Unknown to her, he was deadly, like nightshade
A crow or raven would have taken flight;
even a dog or a deer would have caught his scent but
she, gentle, like a bird, was shaky and only ever looked upward to the stars.
She thrived on romance, didn’t notice the morass that she was nearing
nor the embers burning beneath it.
She knew only how to give, to hold and not break faith,
there was no finite quantity to her love.
Not fond of measuring, she couldn’t see they did not fit,
but he had sized her up and his lure, though tempting, was deeply insincere.
His ways were knaveish, wolfish,
more than a match for the naive or the squeamish.
His actions were shameless, slippery, dead to all honour.
A dealer in the shabby, paltry, cunning and oblique,
he borrowed from her with a bribe and
in an extortionant, dishonest manner,
like a loanshark, he stole away her innocence.