Ophelia’s Flowers

Monday, January 10, 2011

After the opera Hamlet by Ambroise Thomas

Something’s very wrong
when a girl begins to sing—

loudly, lowly—
hauntingly dispersing posies

to unseen passersby, announcing
the end of love, drowning

her sorrows in a stream.
This mad scene

yields potent news,
a warning: “Listen, doux époux.

Your disdain hurts,
my mind is burning.”

Crazed, she wields a rapier.
Like Edna Pontellier

who—awakened, fervid, rebuffed—
plunges into the Louisiana Gulf,

a garden of jessamine,
yellow chamomile, sweet pinks.

And scorned Dido’s droop-
winged cupids scatter roses on her tomb

(Aeneas having lent the blade)
when she is laid

in earth.  Thus we and they—

with strewments:

rosemary, fennel, tulips,
white columbine, and rue.

Saturday, January 1, 2011