The King of the Land of Slow Time

He keeps his hands in his sleeves and stares out the window during the long afternoons when the court drags on. His subjects bow and murmur before the throne and his eyes are clear and empty while he looks at them. When they finish speaking he breathes in and out, once, twice, three times, letting the moment turn gracefully in the sunlight. He sighs and recites,

In this moment I am here
The city surrounds me
The country surrounds the city
My hands open in giving from sunrise to sunset
My people thoughtful and patient
How few are their problems
How tranquil their lives
Sweet is this life
Sweet and gentle and placid.

The court applauds politely and files out through the elaborate double doors. In smaller rooms his counsellors will nod sagely and interpret his wishes for the worried citizens. The king, they will explain, is wise; wise and old and elliptical. His words are potent and elusive as shadowy fish sliding over the bottom of the lake, as beautiful and sad as summer remembered in winter. In smaller rooms they will speak smaller words, less beautiful, perhaps, but better suited to the smaller problems of his subjects.