Cassandra’s Tears

Tears of joy, tears of pain, we are reflected in the salt-water pools we create. So let us build a fleet of paper boats and sail them on our ocean of indecision, laughing at the wind-whipped white-crested waves that would wash over us, drowning us in our own despair, yet somehow never vanquishing us in the end.

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Location: Lennoxville, Quebec, Canada

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ophelia speaks

Woman in White by Pablo Picasso (1923)

I am Ophelia. I watch and I wait. I love and I yearn. Yet I fear that I am not loved in return. O Hamlet, can you not see that I would comfort you, that I would fill that place inside you where there is darkest night, a black hole that sucks the joy and the light from everything you touch? I would fill it with joy, with love overflowing. You grieve, yes, and rightly so, but I, Ophelia, I love you, my lord, lord of my heart, to whom I would swear obeisance and pledge my troth with the last of my breath.

Even as I watch, even as I maintain my outward appearance of calm and unconcern, I writhe inside, for I am not allowed, nay! am prevented from expressing myself. My foolish father would constrict me, would cloister me away, forever spewing forth his platitudes, those empty words of common sense, until I wish to be deafened by thunderclaps and ocean swells. My brother, dear Laertes, loves me I know, but cares more for my virtue than my happiness.

Oh Hamlet, I would come to you in your chambers, my hair unbound, clad only in the thinnest of silks. I would that you possess me, make me yours. I am burning with passion, yearning for your touch, for the heat of your lips, your answering lust. Alas, I am destined to watch, worse, to be banished. You cast me forth with such cruel words, words that sting, that flense me like the thorns of the brambles were I to enter their thicket naked, my hair my only protection.

Can you not see that I am in anguish? Nay, you cannot, for I am a lady, I am expressionless, I am carved from marble and alabaster, my face as devoid of anger as of love. Perhaps, just perhaps, if I stand so still, so quiet and do not breathe, perhaps if the air ceases to circulate in my lungs, the blood in my veins, my heart ceases its endless pumping, then maybe the gods will pity me and I will truly become marble or alabaster, Pygmalion reversed, the living, breathing girl become the cool, unfeeling statue.

I can stand it no longer. You have rejected me, o Hamlet, I who would have lavished such love on you, who would have bathed your feet with my tears and dried them with my hair. If I must love, it must be fluid as the oceans, as the tidal rivers where our waters mingle, the salt and the sweet. I will leave, I will enter the river and let it take me to its mouth where I will kiss the tide, for I am denied yours.


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