Monday, February 16, 2009

Othello and Lear

Scene: A barren room, lit by torchlight. There are no doors or windows. Two men stand, empty-handed, in the flickering shadows, their heads bowed. The one is dark-skinned, with the stance of a soldier, and hands that hang, idly menacing, at his sides; the other is wild-haired, and dressed in rags, and bony, and weather-worn and aged.


Prologue: "Oh, for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention!"
Thus pined the Bard.
And so must I!
Humility must be my watchword.
Small hope have I toward sweet-sounding eloquence, nor deftly-worded puns, nor the conveyance of dimly-glimpsed truths.
Nonetheless, these that you see before you are not unknown to me.
I have heard their tales, and beheld their various spectacles.
I have come to understand some small part of them.
I beg your pardon for presumption, and humbly make offer: 'Twas love, betrayed them.

Exit narrator.


Othello: "Love," sayeth he. I pause to consider......

Is Aphrodite such a cruel mistress, then?
Was it she set the green-eyed monster upon me?

A soldier, bereft of mother, was I,
And deadly, when she struck;

That such a warrior,
Whose life had oft been held as ransom to the quickness of his eye and wit,
Should become blind to peril in the form of tender flesh, soft sighs, and gentle ministrations;

Ah, me!

But, as I am now, I dare not deny it;
'Twas love led me through the dark garden of self-doubt
Where malicious whispers invited me to believe that which I feared:
That I was not equal to those around me.

Ever did she nurse my suspicions,
A caring mother, indeed,
'Til they were fully-weaned and stood upon themselves,
And, like wayward children returned home,
Bearing a message for Othello, their father:
Thou art unloveable!

How then, can I deny?
Nay! I state it, flatly:
'Twas love betrayed me!

He bows his head.

King Lear

Lear: Little then, doth brave Othello know of love;

I stand before you now, humbled king;
These rags, upon a time were sabled robes,
This ring of thorns, worts, and brambles
An envied crown;

But 'twas not love that brought me to my condition;
Indeed, 'twas she presided over my coronation
In the filthy hovel where murderer sought my life;

There it was that she revealed herself to me, completely;
'Twas there, in the gaze of my beloved Cordelia,
That I beheld her,
And held myself king again for having seen her;

Nay! Heed not the Moor!
He spoke of blindness, and blind he was;
Blind not to see that the phantom which tormented him
Was no emissary of Aphrodite;
Rather, a monstrous demon,
Bred in the pits of Hell we name "Ambition," and "Pride;"

This demon I have known as well,
In forms corporeal that would rend the soul of any father;
And for a time, I was held in the demon's spell;
But unlike the unfortunate Moor,
Love dispelled the demon, at the end;

Alas, for Othello, who smothered love's last gasp,
As she reached for his stranded soul;
My own fate, immeasurably better!

But none may live in perfect peace,
Whilst another is without;
And so, we creep along,
At the Scotsman's petty pace;
But my own hope is that each tomorrow might bring us closer;

Love did not betray me;
'Twas she that saved me;
May she save us all!

1 comment:

Dan Binmore said...

That's remarkably good, and generally I am unmoved by your poetry.