Peter Clarke (1929 - )
The King of China’s Daughter


mixed media
50 x 35cm

The king of China's daughter,
she never would love me,
though I hung my cap & bells upon
her nutmeg-tree. etc.
            - Edith Sitwell

What with that tinkling laughter of hers, with her exquisite jewelled hair-ornaments, richly-
brocaded costumes & tiny, tiny embroidered slippers, she was a fragile precious, perfumed
presence.
In his royal palace her father, the King of China, had a huge number of courtiers, officials
serving in various administrative posts in many servants in attendance. For many years
my role in this assemblage was that of court jester, a duty I enjoyed because it allowed
me the right of easy access to high ranking people with whom I, a commoner, would other-
wise not have associated. With time a fondness, even great affection, developed between
me & the princess. But I knew my place, prefering that my head with all its funny &
somewhat ridiculous musings remain firmly on my shoulders.
Of course, occasionally I imagined myself running off with the King of China's
daughter. But when you are pursued by the mighty army of the most powerful man in
the world, just how far can one get with beautiful princess whose feet are bound?


© 2005 Michael Stevenson. All rights reserved.