Connoisseurs of the smart move,
appraising the prices of commodities
and men, they stepped up against
their instincts, their futures anchored
in marriageable daughters,
the grit and astuteness of sons.
Their acquisitive eyes had once
been lit by the weight in tapestries
from Bruges or Ghent, the patience
entwined in filigree work or lace.
Their solid tables sustained them.
Stripped here to a stark decency,
they are each wearing a halter
as they shuffle beyond
the starved confines of town.
upright;; another cowers behind him.
Without recourse, all are abject –
bound in the fellowship of those
reaching beyond their fear.