Hamlet: Act III, Scene I. A Room in the Castle.
And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
That suck'd the honey of his music vows,
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;
That unmatch'd form and feature of blown youth
Blasted with ecstasy: O, woe is me,
To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!
Odilon Redon (1840-1916). Ophelia
This sonnet was inspired by Shakespeare of course.
It was also inspired by an eerie scene from the
1997 movie blockbuster, "Titanic", where we find
ourselves face to face with a drowned maiden
in a white chiffon ballgown.
Adrift amid the bindweed, through the reeds,
Watching the sky with deep unblinking eyes,
She passes where the turquoise mayfly feeds,
Oblivious of all that swims or flies.
Red flowered chiffon billows to her hands
Open like water lilies in the sun,
Her skin's the colour of tropical sands,
Her russet hair shines bright as copper spun.
Fabulous jewels languish on her breast,
Rich spoils of love rendered useless in death,
Her parted lips make unspoken behest;
The rosy portal of her final breath.
Now all is cold where roiling passion flamed,
As jealous earth mourns what the river claimed.
© by Sara L. Russell, March, 2002
The Coming of Age
The raddled shadow of the hand of age
Is reaching through the catacombs of time,
To curl the corners of each vellum page
To bathe the dancing ego in quicklime.
The looming hooded figure by the door
Stands fast, to watch with dark twin cavern eyes,
To reach out with its sharply-pointing claw
And strip all that is superficial guise.
This is the hand that takes it all away,
Etching dark faces like the bark of trees,
This is the palette daubed with shades of grey
Which paints us all into pale travesties.
Turn now, to face the horror of the new,
The old face in the looking glass is you.
© by Sara Russell, August, 2001
A Sense of Loss
I searched within the timbre of your voice
And deep within your earnest blue-grey eyes,
Within each subtle shift that time employs,
In words, which may be wise or otherwise.
I thought I found it in a time unplanned,
Along a (too rare) peaceful walk with you,
When you had stopped to gently take my hand
And smile into my eyes, as if you knew.
Ah, then I thought our wild time had returned,
When our blood knew the heat of passion's bliss,
When all sensible thought was overturned
And nothing seemed more pressing than a kiss.
You yawned as I caressed your greying hair;
I saw that we were tired and full of care.
© Sara L. Russell 2nd July 2001
He plays with tender notes in minor scale
So perfectly in pianissimo
Each note becomes the whisper of a veil
Soft-sliding through the air, sedate and slow.
Long fingers fly to alabaster keys
To touch each one with measured gentleness;
Lost love and passion, pastel memories,
Twist through the air like smoke with each caress.
Now he evokes a distant, deep lagoon,
Now sunset skies, now snow falling at night,
Now a dark ocean, mirror to the moon:
In Ultramarine streaked with pearly white.
He plays a language words can seldom show,
In slow, entrancing pianissimo.
© by Sara Russell, April 2001
A Husband's Love
A husband's love is all of subtlety:
Unspoken feelings given in a glance
And deep behind the eyes, a treasury
Of passion might find voice, given the chance.
His dear, familiar body warms the night,
My privilege, such closeness in his space;
We live soft-focused in each other's sight
And walk in rhythm with each other's pace.
His subtle love, his breath against my ear,
Sweet words poured out in love, for me alone,
In conversations no-one else may hear
In touch, a language he has made his own.
Dear smooth façade that hides such mystery!
A husband's love is all of subtlety.
© by Sara Russell, May, 2001