“The Jester”: A Poem for Transgender Day of Visibility

(NOTE: Refreshed English is used throughout this site. See Glossary for more on RE.)

Greetings from Justicea!

This month, I’m going to do something a little different. April is National Poetry Month in the United States, so, as I am a poet, I’ve decided to use this April to post some poems and monologues that I have written over the years. And as yesterday, March 31st, was Transgender Day of Visibility, and today, April 1st, is April Fool’s Day, I could think of no better poem of mine to start off with than “The Jester” subtitled “The Monarch of Mirth.”

Jesters, of course, were known as the wise fools of medieval courts. The Jester in this poem, however, represents me as a gender-variant person attempting to navigate life in a society that expects a person to be either femele or male.

I wrote “The Jester” in 2014 and performed it in-person for the first time as a guest presenter at a platform of the Philadelphia Ethical Society in August 2017. Thanks again to Betsy Lightbourn of PES for inviting me to share my transgender spectrum poetry with Philly’s great Ethical Culturists!

Below, I’ve provided an audio link to a voice recording of the poem along with the poem, itself.



To find myself among them should be enough! —
The Ladies, gold and glittering, twirl
in a ring of highborn worth and mirth.
The Lords link together practiced arms and whirl,
each wearing a chain of rank and girth.

In reeling circles, they rule the floor;
to the rhythm of drum, themselves conform.
Guided by the music and the status quo,
into dual straight lines they form by form
and to tables on either side of the Great Hall go!

Each Lady and Lord takes an assigned proper place
as His Grace, the Bishop, recites the feasting prayer.
Their Graces end Grace with a gracious “Amen,”
and each settles back into a cushioned chair
as the Banquet of the World is laid before them.

And I, the Commoner Most Uncommon,
command the unclaimed space between their realms.
Sitting neither at one table nor at the other. —
A third between is never mentioned nor laid.

My charge — My purpose! — unsettlingly clear:
To amusingly challenge these Peerful Peers!

So I pass my days in impermeable motley. Between
blue and red diamonds of primary rank, my milk-meek lavender
mocks and mimics royal purple’s commanding hue.
For the Monarch of Mirth is neither Queen nor King,
but the Pear-Shaped Eunuch — the Breast-Bound Knave! —
Spouting trivialities profound with a smile on kes face,
with a tilt of kes head, cap bells jingling, making merry
in solo capers of jumps and japes that defy both gravity and explanation, raising an eyebrow here and ire there.

My Well-Defined Betters frown or laugh and think me “Gay,”
yet that is the price that I must pay — so far —
for having a place among them.—

A place in the Hall, yes…but never at a table!

© Justy DeForest 2014, 2021

If you enjoyed this poem, please share this post with your friends, and feel free to Leave a Reply below–I’d love to hear from you! Don’t want to miss any future posts? Subscribe to the Greetings from Justicea blog to receive email notices of new posts by placing your email in the block on the right and pressing the FOLLOW button.

Peace and Siblinghood,

Justy DeForest, GFJ Blogger

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