Another old Shakespeare-inspired piece, though this is a piece of prose about the magical island of The Tempest.
The beach shimmers like a mirage, with a gentle golden haze about the sand and the softened sharpness of pine leaves. The seawater creeps along the shore, depositing shells when it recedes, coming in and out like air into the lungs and just as naturally. White foam bubbles up on the rocks, reaching longingly for the trees that pepper the beach. Castles of clumped sand are built by the sea, with human hands never touching them. There are no footprints on this shore.
Sunshine blistering hot and bright, and something whispers among the trees. Ghosts of the woods or ghosts of the mind? The sand soon fades into luscious green, and sometimes Miranda stands in it, alone, the blades tickling her ankles and her toes sinking into gravel. The scent of salt reeks in the air. No-one here notices it anymore. There are so very few people here and there has been no-one new in an eternity.
Sometimes it flickers, like a dream about to be forgotten in waking, and for a moment there is nothing but darkness and the chaos of nature; but then it subsides and the tranquillity returns. The sun always burns like the devil’s eyeball, and there is escape from it in the dank holes in the rock. The great lake offers no relief, it only stinks more in the blazing heat. There is little fruit to be found, and it is sour. It was not always like this; the leaves in the breeze whisper a wistful tale of life before magic warped the world. Once in a while, one leaf drops; it slides on the gusts of wind down to the sea and bobs along on the crested waves until it escapes this land once and for all.
There is a flickering amongst the waves, bright green and red and silver. It is the fishes who come to spectate, an audience to Prospero’s golden world.
I’m not a fan of The Taming of the Shrew, despite being a massive Shakespeare buff. This was a second year assignment, so it’s a little old. I had a lot of fun with it! I decided to write an internal monologue for Katherina, intended to be read alongside the original speech that she gave in Act 5, Scene 2 of the play. Based on the reading of Katherina not being truly sincere in her final words of wisdom about being an obedient wife, I aimed to not only write about what could possibly have been her true feelings, but also attempted to mirror, parody and offer alternate readings of the original text in order to relate back to it and help present it as a partner to the original, rather than just a rewriting of it.
It may be that I am imprisoned now
And shall never break the truth to another.
Lord, king, governor, you need not fear a wound
For I reserve the blow for my gaoler.
He moves me to more painful labours
But I shall lie and take them without a sound.
No! I’ll not stir when his hands break my peace
And take his desires till I start to hurt.
He is free within the confinement of our bedroom
And I am free between the four walls of my skull.
He cares not for me, for gold in his eyes
Is the most wanted prize; his heart will not race
At the sight of me. Thy husband is thy death,
Thy damnation, thy only enemy;
If I offered war I would be struck.
A body soft and weak and smooth
Is a defence of a worthy, strengthened mind.
No power in my arms but plenty in my thoughts
I need not strike with my hand to break his spirit.
Place down your lances, they are useless here
A smirk, a glance, a word will do damage enough.
Be not a lowly knight, but a divine queen
Who takes life with a smile, not a sword.
Keep thy mouths closed, my prison-mates,
Thy words waste not on strong, empty heads.
I am jealous and insecure
And I cry too much.
I feel too intensely
And I can’t hold it back.
I am too awkward
And too shy
And I am an irritation
Fly in the ointment
Someone who doesn’t fit.
I am a disappointment
Someone who looks good
On the surface
And then they trap you
Like a carnivorous plant
That won’t release.
You’ll think I’m a sweet thing
For a few weeks
And then I’ll catch you
When I open up
And pull you in deeper
Then close my doors on you.
You’ll regret whatever you felt
Be it a friendship
Or a crush
You won’t feel it any more
But you won’t get out
Because you can’t get out
Because you are trapped
In my fucked up life with me.
I thought you were perfect
And I cried out my love into a puddle.
I wished I could be sunshine
But I was a grey cloud
That wouldn’t stop drizzling.
I wanted to be bright for you
But I could only rain harder.
I screamed my apologies
In claps of thunder
As you stood there, drenched
And insisted that you didn’t mind.
But you belong in the light.
You belong somewhere warm and dry
Without me to soak your clothes.
At first the rain was welcome
But now I flood everything
And I can’t stop myself.
I don’t know how to shine.
I don’t know how to make rays of white
I don’t know how to warm your skin
Or be the light that you need.
But I also know that it’s you
That it’s you who makes me rain
And even though I want you so badly
I also want to be sunshine
And I don’t want to be a grey cloud.
I love you but you make me rain
So I will have to let you go.
I have made the decision to let you go. I don’t think you’ll even notice. I think you stopped caring on the day I stopped hiding. You tried to tell yourself otherwise and so did I. But it wasn’t a façade we could keep up, especially you. I pushed for it, tried my best, but it wasn’t enough. You gave up before I did, I think, and now I know that I should let you go. I couldn’t, before, because of all the pretty things you’d said to me – I couldn’t let go of them and I couldn’t believe that you would let them go – but now I know. What was gold to me was spare change to you, and I’ll bury that treasure in the garden with all the other things I long to forget. Gold is hard, and cold, and it means nothing. I cannot do anything with it, and nobody will take it from me. You don’t want it back. People don’t usually ask the poor to give them back their change, and neither will you. Even if I pooled all my riches together you wouldn’t take them, you wouldn’t want even one piece of my treasure, because it means nothing to you. I am sad and wasteful and too generous, and this scares you. I can only stare at cold gold coins until I bury them in the backyard, and maybe one day you’ll want them back, but I doubt it. They’ll always be there, though. What was made cannot be unmade, what was said cannot be unsaid, and what was done cannot be undone. But God, I wish I could.
When you can’t let go of someone
And it is driving you insane
Sometimes the best thing for you to do is to
Cut off the hand that is holding onto pain
Your mind wanders to him when you are doing the washing-up, and you cannot open your mouth for fear of the words falling out. You are in love, you have never been this much in love, and your heart is so swelled with it that it stoppers up your throat and turns your hands sweaty. You wonder what he would say, that sweet boy who makes you shiver, and you know that the moment you confess, your sky will crack open and your world will burn. He has taken hold of you without even noticing, his fingers clenched around that sorry organ in your chest that struggles to beat against his palm, and he can let it go or crush it to pieces. You hope, you hope to God, that he will let it go, so that the pain might end and you can finally breathe again.