Wednesday, June 04, 2014

A Song for Shakespeare

Blue Ophelia

Ophelia (Artist:John Everett Millais 1852).


To be, he asks, or not to?
Less a question than a mask behind which
few are free to choose
(as fey philosophisers do)
between life’s loss and immortal muse –
all turn, all toss.

More likely, tears come gently –
unbidden, sudden, sheer – when we’re
intently concentrating on the weave
the loom’s creating, heart on sleeve,
without waiting
for reprieve.
            
Cold as a stone of frozen ardour,
leaden, lovely, martyr to the cause
(of what she knows not); once
she flowered, branched, her bloom’s
now soured; brackish waters drown
her hair, she swallows blue salt
with her prayers.

To not be, or to be?
the vacillating soliloquy turned on
its head makes no more sense than what
he claimed in self defence, the whore
he named, her great offence –
it shocked, it shamed.

Her sin was it, or did he
orchestrate how she might fit
the old queen’s shoe that pinched her soul?
She bit her lip, she played the role,
she wasn’t hip, she couldn’t hold –
only slip.

Cold as a stone of marbled lava         
granite-veined cadaver, washed
in wind-tossed rain, by sun stained,
reprimanded, bleached, by light
abandoned … she’s yet not
impervious to further
slow
erosion.

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